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How to Make Napkin Rings: Step-by-Step Instructions

I grew up in a house where etiquette was part of the legacy—so I know a thing or two about napkin rings!


The Elegance of a Napkin Ring

Growing up in my house was like growing up with Emily Post or Miss Manners. You just knew etiquette—it was part of your legacy. It wasn’t a choice. So, with that, you can imagine that you had to give in to the multiple sets of beautiful expensive dishes, separate salt cellars, napkins, goblets, and, yes, the almighty napkin ring. Oh, how I hated the napkin ring—it always had to match!

Of course, now that I am an adult, my children get to experience the dreadful multiple dishes, salt cellars with their own silver spoons, goblets, napkins, and yes . . . the dreadful napkin ring trauma that I endured . . . isn't it wonderful?

Why Pay Full Price for Napkin Rings?

So, I have decided to share this little inexpensive napkin ring trick with you. You will never have to pay retail prices again when you see how easy, quick, and inexpensive it is to make napkin rings for a fraction of the price. Moreover, when you look in your drawer (if you are a napkin ring connoisseur), you will think—I can’t believe I have spent this much money on napkin rings when I could have been making them myself!

On the other hand, if you are not a napkin connoisseur, you will be soon!

Materials you'll need

Materials you'll need


The material list is for reference—you can basically use anything you desire. For this purpose, I will just go through the basics, and you can pick your own products and follow the steps.

  • Elastic cord
  • Nail/super glue (fingernail glue that brushes on works great)
  • Beads (your choice)—Use your imagination, and don't be afraid of color!
  • Scissor/clipper
  • Measuring tape
  • Napkins
Step-by-step visual guide

Step-by-step visual guide


  1. Gather materials. Cut a 10" piece of elastic for each napkin ring.
  2. String beads, rotating based on your pattern until you have strung 4 inches of beads—try to end so the pattern is intact when you bring the two sides together for tying the knots.
  3. Take the ends and tie a knot twice.
  4. Glue the knot.
  5. Trim excess elastic with clipper/scissor (leave a little for tucking).
  6. Tuck ends into bead.

Helpful Hints

  • Freeform the napkin for a great napkin ring fit.
  • Use a clipper instead of scissors—they are easier to handle.
  • Tie the knot near a bead with a larger hole and tuck the remaining elastic into the bead.
  • If using a focal bead, make the elastic stop at the underneath of the focal bead.
  • If using jingle bells, tuck the elastic in the bell opening to hide it.
  • Use red and green jingle bells for the holidays.

© 2011 bellartdesigns


Sandra M Urquhart from Fort Lauderdale on July 23, 2012:

I pinned it for my followers into crafting. Personally, I'm not that fussy about having napkins like this and napkin rings. Perhaps if I decide to throw a dinner party or something. You never know.

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Sharilee Swaity from Canada on July 15, 2012:

This hub reminded me of my Mother, who always made fancily wrapped napkins whenever we had company. She would have loved this idea!

I confess I'm doing well if we get everyone down to the table, myself, but I sometimes inwardly cringe to think of how I am not keeping up the formality that I was taught by my mother. We always had a proper dinner and it's something I still believe in, even it's not practiced as often as I would like!

Great hub with wonderful illustrations. A big congratulations to you for hub of the day!

RTalloni on July 15, 2012:

Congrats on your Hub of the Day award!

Lovely 7 on July 15, 2012:

Really interesting hub...

Nira Perkins on July 15, 2012:

I love making things and I love this idea. I'm glad you got Hub of the Day. Nice work!

JP Carlos from Quezon CIty, Phlippines on July 15, 2012:

For weddings and birthday plannings, this can be part of the reception details. It can also be part of the give away for the event.

Suzanne Ridgeway from Dublin, Ireland on July 15, 2012:

Interesting hub, as a jewellery maker I never actually thought of napkin rings but a great idea for presents, thanks for sharing and congrats on HOTD!

Comfort Babatola from Bonaire, GA, USA on July 15, 2012:

Love this tutorial, even though I hadly use napkin rings (I use a fold technique for my napkins). I might try them out though. Voted Useful, and congrats on the HOTD award!

Mary Hyatt from Florida on July 15, 2012:

Congrats on HOTD. I have to be honest...I've never used napkin rings. Maybe us Southerners just don't use them. I love to go to a fancy restaurant where they are used, though.

I voted this Hub UP, etc.

Maren Elizabeth Morgan from Pennsylvania on July 15, 2012:

Hi. I have always loved napkin rings, but never owned stretchy ones. I have a Q - what am I missing about the need for a ten inches of elastic cord for 4 inches of beads. I am not trying to be a smart-aleck, just puzzled. Thanks. Great hub.

Urmila from Rancho Cucamonga,CA, USA on July 15, 2012:

These seems really easy and fun to make it. You have selected a great topic illustrated well. Voted up and congrats on getting Hub of the day!

moonlake from America on July 15, 2012:

Congrats on hub of the day. I like using cloth napkins even for everyday use of course I just put them on the table not with anything on them. When company comes they need napkin rings.....Your instructions are great and simple to follow. Voted Up.

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on July 15, 2012:

Great topic for a hub! Your directions are simple and straight forward. Congrats on getting HOTD!

Brenda Kyle from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA on July 15, 2012:

Most are in a much less formal eating environment. I love napkin rings because they are so decorative. They grace my table on the two biggest holidays. Thank you for the simple directions and congrats on hub of the day!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on July 15, 2012:

Clever ideas on making one's own napkin rings for a fraction of the price of those purchased in stores. I'll admit, I don't often use them but do have some special ones for the holidays and a few other occasions. Voted up, useful and congratulations on receiving HOTD.

gabgirl12 on July 15, 2012:

Congrats on hub of the day today. :) I have never seen such intricate napkin rings. The ones I have seen are usually so plain. I wonder if they could also double as bracelets. Some of the rings on display I could see myself wearing.

Tonette Fornillos from The City of Generals on July 15, 2012:

Hello bellartsdesigns. This is very useful and creative. I haven't been using napkin rings, now they can be elegant. Thank you for this.

Phelcky on July 15, 2012:

These are so cute! great hub :)

Jill Spencer from United States on July 15, 2012:

Congrats on HOTD! Enjoyed your fun, upbeat style--and it's nice to meet someone else with multiple sets of family china, etc. Thanks for the napkin ring "recipe." Up & awesome.

Blurter of Indiscretions from Clinton CT on July 15, 2012:

Loved it! Although my house is the opposite of Emily Post's home, so I'm not sure what use I'd have for napkin rings...but nonetheless, it was a great hub!

Attikos from East Cackalacky on July 15, 2012:

I always wondered why people bothered with napkin rings. An ancient great-aunt at last explained it to me. Before people had washers and dryers, laundry was done on Mondays, and there were no disposable paper napkins. Everyone used his all week. The rings were markers, each one different so you could identify yours. That is the origin of the custom of putting your napkin back into its ring when dinner is done.

Now most of us wash the table linens after every use the ring's purpose has expired. There are some old ones in the sideboard, but I don't get them out for my own table. Those more interested in form than function still do, though.

Just History from England on July 15, 2012:

Wonderful- I tend to want to use them at Christmas and then won't pay the premium prices- but now I can make them myself! Thanks!

bellartdesigns (author) from Fredericksburg, Virginia on December 05, 2011:

RTalloni - thanks! These are the perfect gift~

RTalloni on December 03, 2011:

Love this idea. I would like to make a set of napkin rings that have our initial on them. Also, they would make neat gifts. Thanks!

Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on November 23, 2011:

These look so cute, and it'd be really fun to make these! Thanks for sharing the guide!

bellartdesigns (author) from Fredericksburg, Virginia on November 17, 2011:

That is too funny! My husband just laughed because I have a degree in English and was raised by a mother who has her PhD in English. Thanks for pointing out the mistake and for the "vote up".

Terrye Toombs from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map. on November 17, 2011:

I really enjoyed this hub, however I do have one critique. I'm sorry, it's just a pet peeve: "You just new etiquette..." should be "You just knew etiquette..." Voting up and etc. Great hub! :o)