“Eat, Play, Love” Ombré Napkins

When adulting cloth napkins are often a necessity. And why not bust out these playful Ombré Napkins at your next dinner party? This is a DIY project for anyone with a sense of style and humor. We'll show you how to make this Ombré grease pencil magic happen. It's fun. We promise.

Elizabeth Gilbert’s book turned movie Eat, Pray, Love is an inspiring story. Spoiler alert: I want to travel the world and then fall in love with a Brazilian in Bali too! (#goals) So when coming up with words for these hand dyed ombré napkins a playful homage came to mind. We had fun making these in the studio. Watching the colors change as the napkins soak in the Rit dye is so so cool. Be sure to wear an old t-shirt and cover your work area with plenty of craft paper. Rit dye can stain, but don’t let that scare you off. This is a modern DIY gem.

Step 1: Write with your grease pencil directly onto your cotton napkin. Even though you can’t see it yet, the dye won’t stick to the penciled part, leaving it white. Kinda like invisible ink! Pro Tip: when you’re done writing, put the white napkins far, far away while you make your dye bath. Splish happens.

Step 2: Bring 4 cups water to boil, set aside. With Rit dye, the water has to be super hot!

Step 3: You’re going to make two separate dye baths, one dark, and one lighter and less concentrated. For the first, darker dye bath: dissolve 1 packet Rit dye powder in 2 cups HOT water. (You can also use 1/2 a bottle of liquid rit dye). For the second, lighter bath: transfer half the dark dye mixture into a separate bowl and add 2 more cups HOT water. You’ll end up with two bowls of dye, one with less liquid that is dark, and one with more liquid that is lighter/clearer.

Step 4: Carefully lower the bottom half of the napkin into the lighter bath. Pro Tip: lightly crease the napkin at the place you want the dye to go up to- it make it easy to get an even dip. Keep hold of it by the fold and make sure you continue to hold it this way throughout the dye-ing process, so you keep the top clean and white. You’ll start to see the grease pencil word peeking through- cool, right?!

Step 5: Carefully lower the bottom quarter of the napkin into the dark dye bath, to right above the grease pencil word. Remove and let the excess drip back into the bowl. Don’t squeeze it! You want the dye to stay in the fabric, so it will create that awesome ombré effect.

Step 6: Place the dyed napkin on a dry, disposable surface like craft paper or an old towel you don’t care about messing up. Lay it down slowly and be careful not to get any drops or splashes on your other clean white napkins.

Step 7: Let dry laying flat. This takes awhile. Like, a few hours at least. You may want to flip the napkins over after a couple hours, but do so carefully and making sure to keep the top area safe from the splash zone. It’s so worth the wait, we promise!



I can’t wait to use these the next time I’m adulting!

  • Cotton Napkins white works best with dye
  • White Grease Pencil
  • Rit Dye - powder you can find rit dye in packets at the grocery store. It also comes in liquid form
  • 2 Large Bowls for the dye, so, make sure it's not wood or something porous that will get messed up with dye