Because life’s celebrations shouldn’t cost the Earth

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Napkin Decoupage Tutorial

DIY Stamping Technique

 'How far that little candle throws his beams'

It has been ages since I've been able to craft, but this week I managed to squeeze in the time to make some little upcycled tea light holders.  They were inspired by a damaged 1940s copy of 'The Complete Works of Shakespeare' which I bought from an Oxfam charity stall at the Festival of Thrift.  I actually hate the idea of destroying books but this one was in such battered condition, both inside and out, that I was instead providing it with a new lease of life.....

I therefore hoped William wouldn't mind too much my tearing up his (damaged) plays to paste onto a candle holder but, just in case, I only used images that paid due homage to his literary legacy!

I clearly took some liberties with historical accuracy though, as he obviously wouldn't have used a dip pen and ink.  However, given I also included typewriter images, it soon became a bit of an anachronistic free for all!

I employed the same gorgeous book page decoupage technique for the background as these upcycled Easter eggs.

Now whilst I absolutely love pasting images cut from napkins onto random objects there are some major disadvantages to using purchased paper serviettes, namely their price and being restricted to a limited choice of designs.

I obviously wanted Shakespeare themed napkins for this project but a quick internet search only threw up these and at £35 a pack they were waaay out of my price bracket!

Luckily there's some absolutely brilliant Shakespeare rubber stamps out there, including this wonderful 'Writers' set by Cherry Pie Art Stamps



Plain White Paper Napkins
Stazon Permanent Ink
'Book Page' Tea Light Holder (or any other random object)


Firstly completely cover your chosen item with strips of paper torn from damaged texts or old newspapers.  You could use modge podge decoupage medium for this but I thin down PVA glue (USA - Elmers) with 50% water and it works just as well but only costs pennies!  Use the full step by step book page tutorial I posted here.

Once the book page background is completely dry, you're ready to add some DIY stamped napkin images.  It really is as ridiculously easy as stamping your chosen design onto a plain paper serviette! 

Simply separate your napkin, so that you're left with a single ply.  Then, using a permanent ink such as Stazon, stamp your images straight onto it.  Note because you're going to be stamping onto a thin single ply there's a definite chance of marking the work surface underneath, don't ask how I know that!  (I recommend protecting your desk with a sheet of scrap paper 😀)

Trim your images as closely as possible to the stamped outline.  As William was a little too tall for my tea light holders I also chopped off his legs!

You've just created your own unique set of napkin images all ready to be decoupaged.  I guarantee you'll now be looking at your stash of stamps in a whole new light, liberating yourself from the stilted choice of purchased napkins!

"How far that little candle throws its beams! So shines a good deed in a naughty world"
William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice 

To see Shakespeare with his legs intact, check out my altered tin cans!

Finally, an outtake......


  1. Awesome. I love this. I have done a little decoupage at times and I am always amazed at how simple it is but yet good it turns out. Awesome job. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

  2. These look absolutely lovely, Josie. You made me laugh chopping off Shakespeare's legs. Good thing that he found them again in your tin cans. These are a lovely idea. Xx

  3. A great tutorial Josie!
    We had a lady showing us how to do decoupage at our handicraft group, but I’ve never actually done any ..... yet, as I couldn’t find suitable patterned paper!
    You’ve given some great ideas here, and maybe I’ll be able to have a go one day soon.
    Lovely to see your very naughty cat keeping an eye on things, so cute!
    Barbara x

  4. Josie, what a clever idea, they look great. I have a painted heart hanging which I have been dithering about not knowing how to finish it off. Will use some sewing inspired stamps to decorate it. Thank you for a great tutorial. Take care. Sharon x

  5. Poor Shakespeare, you chop off his legs, give him a typewriter, rip up his plays!!
    These are fab, what a lovely idea. I would never have thought to stamp onto the serviettes and would probably tried to stamp straight onto the candle holder and i can't actually see that working!
    I have done book decoupage before and I have all sorts of stamps. I can see a whole world of opportunities with this idea. Thanks so much for stopping by to share this with us at Handmade Monday