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how to print on paper napkins

Printed paper napkins

Tis’ the season for BBQ’s and outdoor gatherings. When serving outdoors I often use paper napkins, but ones that fit my style are sometimes hard to come by. So, of course, I make my own by printing on them with my inkjet printer. They are great to use for outdoor parties, and you can print any saying on them you’d like.

You can also print on wrapping paper!


Printed Paper Party Napkins

To make the printed paper napkins, start by creating a saying in any program on your computer. Then load your printed napkin into an inkjet printer. Note: you must leave the napkin folded once to have the correct thickness to run through the printer. Print and enjoy.

Photography done in collaboration with Jocelyn Noel Photography.

PS. You can also use your printer on tissue decal candles and easter eggs.


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  1. What napkins do you use? What is your printer? This seems a bit scary without details…I would hate to clog up my printer for napkins! I love this idea and would like the nerve to try…more info please?

  2. Doesn’t the ink smear? I would hate to have a guest wipe their mouth and end of with ink instead of food to be cleaned off.

  3. Elieen, I just use a very cheap injet for projects like these – the one shown I purchased for under $20. The napkins run right through with double thickness, but I wouldn’t suggest trying it on a very nice printer (just incase!). I love my cheap little one for all things crafty.

  4. Nan, Hi! The ink doesn’t smear when the napkin is dry. Perhaps, I would keep and extra stack of unprinted napkins on hand incase you have any major (very wet) spills. Hope that helps. xoxo

    • Nan, did you ever try this? Did the ink smear? I wanted to make them for my wedding, but would hate guests to have black marks all over their face and fingers after wiping them with the napkin.

  5. Fran, Hi! Honestly – there isn’t a science to that. I placed the words where I thought they would work and tried one, then moved the over a bit as needed. Anyone have a better way? I am sure there is a way to program it, but I found trial and error to work just as well.

    • Actually, you can measure the size of the napkin and then make a table in WORD that will be the same size as the napkin. If the napkin is smaller in width than A4, then just move the table to the side of the page. Since you are using HP, you probably have borderless printing, which means that in WORD you can remove all the margins and move the table all the way to one side. Then, you just put in the text and position it in the table wherever you want it to appear on your napkin. To make it more real, you can make 2 rows in the table where one row (with 1 cell only) will be as high as the napkin unfolded. Then, when you are ready to print, just make the table borders color white or remove the borders and print. This should be faster than trials and errors with some wasted napkins in the process. Didn’t tried it yet, though, but it should work because I did it on something else, not napkins.

  6. Julie, no! I will only work on an ink jet printer. The lazer printers are not able to handle paper thickness in the same way as I know. You can pick up a very cheap inkjet though for crafting (mine cost $14).

  7. What program did you use to plan the text on your computer? Microsoft Word? Did you configure the page to be the width/height of the napkin? Thanks!!

  8. I guess I’d have to get a second printer too. Mine feeds from the bottom and I’m almost positive it would jam.

  9. Since you said cheap printer ($20 HP) is that a craft store purchase or office supply purchase? Lovin’ the cuteness!

  10. What napkins do you use? The napkins I bought at the Dollar Tree are getting stuck in my ink jet printer and I think it may be because of the napkins.

  11. How did you get the party napkin to from your printer without having to tape the napkin to any other type of paper or cardstock?

    • Ours ran through it without any backing, but you could use a little double sided tape to hold the napkin onto a piece of card stock, just be careful it might be too thick with a backing.

    • Inkjet printer. The cheaper the better, because if something bad happens with it, you can easily buy a new one. HP, Canon all are good. And if you learn how to refill your cartridges (it’s really easy, check the videos online for the printer you purchase) you can print on napkins and what ever not very cheaply. Buying OEM cartridges will increase dramatically the price of anything you print. And don’t forget to print a test page at least once a week (tap 43 page is enough) or at least 2 times a week on separate days. This will keep your cartridges printhead clean and they will serve you for many years.

  12. i followed the instructions – the first napkin crumpled and I had to get it out . The second went in but I yet to see it come out. I was able to print a second regular piece of paper since so lets hope I can get that napkin out. lol I took a flashlight and crawled around on the floor and looking under the sofa wondering if somehow it zoomed by me faster than my eye could see but nope; it is still in there. AND that is my $800 dollar photo pro printer.

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