July 08, 2020

How to Transform a Piece of Wood With a Napkin!

I am taking you back to my crafting roots with one of my favorite techniques and projects! A wood piece can be totally transformed with a napkin and I am excited to share how with you

What You'll Need:

Here is what I used for this project:

  • A 12" oval wood piece (you can use any wood surface for this!)
  • Rice glue
  • Glue scrapers or spreaders
  • Napkins or tissue paper
  • Sandpaper

Separate the Napkin Layers!

Napkins are usually 2 or 3 ply. You'll want to pull the napkin apart so the design is on just one layer.

Rice Glue!

Ok. Hear me out. Mod podge is a great tool. But when it comes to napkins and tissue paper, rice glue has my heart.

While working on an idea I had for a home decor piece I was having issues with tons of wrinkles when I was using mod podge with tissue paper and went hunting for a glue that was meant to work on very fine paper. That's when I stumbled onto rice glue!

A few notes when working with rice glue:

  • A little goes a long way.
  • Add a few dabs of the glue to parts of the board. Use the glue scraper to fully cover the wood piece.
  • You'll have extra glue, You can scrape it with the spreader and put it back in the rice glue bottle!
  • You want a thin layer of the glue on the entire surface. Too thick and you run the risk of ripping the napkin in the next steps.

Add the Napkin!

The most important part of this step is to try and lay the napkin down in one shot. Readjusting the placement of it over and over will likely cause the napkin or tissue paper to rip. Once you have it in place, press down on the napkin with your fingers, trying to smooth out any wrinkles or imperfections. After a minute or two, you can then use a clean glue spreader over the top of the napkin to continue to smooth out the napkin.


Quick note - if there is white in your design, it may become clear showing the wood surface. I really like that effect but if you want a true to color napkin design, you can paint the wood surface before adding the glue and napkin!

Time to Sand the Edges!

Sand the can edges to remove the excess napkin. To ensure clean lines, sand only in one direction. I like to sand in an up to down direction each time.

Flowers and Greenery Make Everything Better!

I took a sprig from this mixed greenery bush and a few sola wood flowers to transform the newly designed wood piece into a floral piece of art!

Glue Everything Down and You Are Done!

I started by gluing down the mixed greenery sprig on the left, added the large poppy sola wood flower, and glued down some smaller pieces of greenery on the right side.

Bonus pic!

If flowers aren't your thing (and I haven't convinced you to love them...yet!), you can paint a word wood cutout in a contrasting color and glue it on your new patterned piece!

Want to see a video tutorial?!  We have that too!