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How to Paint Flour Sack Napkins

Looking for ways to create custom napkins with flour sack towels? Here is an easy idea for painting Flour Sack Napkins using these inexpensive towels. It can be difficult to find napkin colors or styles to match your tablescape theme, and if you do find them, they can be pricey. I have an affordable solution, and you will love this easy flour sack towel DIY.

I often use plain flour sack towels for napkins because they are inexpensive, and I love the texture of the flour sack fabric.

When planning my Italian Tablescape for our Supper Club, I wanted a unique napkin to compliment the table setting. The ones I found were beautiful but had a hefty price to go with them.

Then I remembered seeing how to paint a dish towel by Leslie from My 100 Year Old Home and decided this might be an excellent solution to my Italian napkin dilemma. So here’s what I did.

Pour Chalk Paint onto wax paper

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What Are Flour Sack Towels?

Flour sack towels are lightweight, and made of 100% cotton. They are very thin and have a soft texture, making them a great weight for napkins.

They are also a very affordable option for DIY tea towels and napkin projects. The fabric is easily painted and dyed for various crafts.

What Paint Works Best For Painting on Flour Sack Towels?

Most acrylic craft paints will dry hard and cause your fabric to be stiff. However, textile medium is an additive that can be used with any paint to make it more pliable for fabrics. It’s a cost-effective alternative to purchasing fabric paints.

For today’s project, I’m using Annie Sloan Chalk paint, which is very pliable and works great on fabrics.

Supplies To Paint Flour Sack Napkins

First, the napkins I couldn’t afford had a beautiful tile pattern that I liked. So after doing some research, I found a Greek Art Paint Roller close to the tile pattern I liked.

I already had a bundle or two of 100% Cotton Flour Sack Towels, so that was easy.

Next, I purchased a sample size of Annie Sloan Napoleonic Blue. The amount would be perfect for the project, and Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is pliable on fabric. You don’t need to add fabric medium to create your design.

In addition to the decorative roller, I used a brayer roller to smooth the paint.

I had plenty of wax paper, my go-to for protecting my table from paint seeping through. I also used wax paper for my paint pallet.

You will also need an iron or heat press for preparing your fabric and setting your paint.

Flour Sack Towel Preparation Before Painting

You should begin by washing the towels to remove any starches or additives. This will ensure the paint adheres to the fabric fibers.

The fabric should then be as smooth as possible for this technique, so you will need to press any wrinkles or roll around the edges with a hot iron or heat press.

Finally, I taped several sheets of wax paper on the table to cover the size of the soon-to-be napkins (flour sack towels)!

Spread the flour sack towel onto a flat surface.  To prepare to make DIY handpainted napkins

Ready To Paint Napkins

You will also need a flat surface to spread your paint. I used wax paper on several layers for this.

Just to let you know, you may need several layers to prevent the paint from seeping through because you will roll over the paper several times.

In hindsight, I would attach the wax paper to some cardboard or a plastic cutting board.

Begin by adding paint to your flat surface or wax paper, and use the brayer roller to flatten the paint.

If you don’t have a roller, use a knife or spatula to flatten your paint. Be aware that if the paint isn’t flattened, it will adhere to areas of the decorative roller other than the desired pattern, resulting in an undesirable design.

Use a paint roller to flatten the paint.

Next, roll the decorative roller in the paint to cover the raised areas, ensuring that all raised areas are completely covered.

Use a decorative paint roller to pick up the chalk paint.

Begin at one edge of the flour sack towel and roll the paint without lifting the roller from one end to the other.

Roll the paint roller to make DIY hand painted flour sack napkins

In order to create a pleasing pattern, I alternated the direction I was rolling.

I started on the bottom and rolled up to the other end. The pattern became lighter as I reached the end. So after reloading the roller with paint, I started at the top of the napkin and rolled down to the bottom.

Paint the flour sack napkins until the entire surface is covered with the pattern.

I love the fabric’s faded vintage tile look. I’ve also included a video tutorial at the end of this post.

Flower Sack napkins with painted design for a Italian style tableware.

Heat Set Painted Napkins

Finally, spread your napkins out to allow the paint to dry. To ensure the paint is set to the fabric, heat press the pattern.

To heat set, use a barrier fabric between the paint and the iron or heat press. I used another flour sack towel as a barrier. However, a towel or any lightweight fabric will work.

Now, you can safely wash the napkins without fear of the paint pattern washing or fading away.

Use a heat press to set the paint to the napkins

Clean Supplies

Be sure to wash the rollers thoroughly to remove all paint from the pattern, and you can use them for many other projects. I’m already planning my next idea! LOL

Beautiful Painted Flour Sack Napkins

The blue vintage tile pattern looks great on the Italian table setting.

DIY flour sack napkins with blue tile painted design for an Italian Style Tablescape

Click to Shop

See tablescape supplies and ideas on my Amazon Storefront.

Yield: 6

How to Paint Flour Sack Napkins

How to Paint Flour Sack Napkins

Here is an easy idea for painting Flour Sack Napkins when you can't the find napkins that you need or that are affordable. Simple tutorial. Unique one of a kind napkins by painting on inexpensive flour sacks.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Active Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Difficulty Easy



  1. Wash, dry and press your flour sack towels
  2. Prepare a surface with wax paper or other protective barrier as large as the towel size.
  3. Lay the flour sack towel flat onto the prepared surface.
  4. Add Paint to a flat surface such as a plastic cutting board, etc.
  5. Use Brayer Roller to flatten paint
  6. Add your decorative roller to flattened paint and cover the entire roller with paint.
  7. Begin at one side and roll the paint print onto the flour sack from bottom to top without lifting the roller.
  8. Reload paint onto roller
  9. Make a second row by starting at the top and rolling downward allowing the pattern to touch.
  10. Continue alternating the rolling until the entire towel is covered with the pattern.
  11. Allow to dry by laying flat.
  12. Once dry, heat set the pattern to the fabric with a hot iron. Use a protective layer of fabric between the iron and the paint.


There are a variety of rollers to create different patterns and colors.

Did you make this project?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

I was able to paint and heat-set six napkins in approximately 20 minutes. This is an easy way to create unique and one-of-a-kind crafts or home decor.

Unique DIY hand painted napkins for Italian blue and white table setting.

See Video Tutorial Here

I’m so glad Leslie inspired me. It saved me from spending way too much money on napkins. I can’t wait to make more. The possibilities are endless.

I hope you enjoyed this simple tutorial on How to Paint Flour Sack Napkins.

Use flour sack napkins to make a bow tie napkin fole

See How to Fold a Napkin into a Bow Tie. And don’t miss How To Fold A Tulip Napkin.

How To Set A Creative Italian Dinner Table

Be sure to see the full Italian Dinner Table that inspired me to create these fun napkins.

Italian Table Setting with hand painted DIY flour sack towel napkins.

Flour Sack Towel Ideas

Another fun flour sack towel idea is this cute craft or garden apron DIY. It’s made using scrap-ticking fabric and a tea towel.

Here are a few other projects you may enjoy.

Thanks so much for stopping by today!

Pin It To Remember It

Did you find some great ideas you’d like to save for future reference? Hover over the images you’d like to save and pin to your favorite Pinterest Boards when you see the PIN button.

Flour Sack Towel Ideas for Handpainted Crafts.  Custom Napkin Ideas.
How to Paint Flour sack napkins for a farmhouse style Italian Dinner Table for Supper Club.

Cheryl Atkinson

Monday 13th of February 2023

Hi Rachel! Love the napkins. Love the whole table setting. So pretty.


Thursday 16th of February 2023

Cheryl, I really appreciate this.


Monday 6th of February 2023

I keep telling myself to do this because yours are especially cute. Maybe if I go ahead and order the roller, I'd actually do it?! Your table gets me extra excited about the upcoming season too. Everything looks so happy!


Wednesday 8th of February 2023

Cindy, I'm so glad you like this idea. Thanks for stopping by.

Mary from Life at Bella Terra

Sunday 27th of February 2022

Rachel, what a great tutorial. I’ve never done this and now I’m inspired to try! They really look fabulous.


Monday 28th of February 2022

Mary, I really appreciate your encouragement.

Bricks 'n Blooms Weekly 69 - Stacy Ling

Sunday 27th of February 2022

[…] good friend Rachel from the Ponds Farmhouse shared this super cool DIY for our dinner club this […]

Kim | Shiplap and Shells

Saturday 26th of February 2022

I am LOVING this idea Rachel. You always come up with the best DIYs. I can't wait to feature this on my weekly wrap-up on Sunday.


Saturday 26th of February 2022

Kim, You are so sweet. I really appreciate this.

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