How to Make a Napkin Holder

By Natalie Lyda ; Updated September 15, 2017

Things Needed

  • 8 1/2-by-9 1/2-inch piece of 1/2-inch thick plywood
  • 2 wooden dowels, 4 1/2-by-1/4
  • Sand paper
  • Cordless drill
  • 1/4-inch drill bit
  • Table saw
  • Wood glue
  • Paint
Although paper napkins make for easy clean up, they can be difficult to store.

Picnics plagued by wind create a tricky situation for storing napkins. However, a homemade napkin holder can help keep paper napkins in place, both indoors and outdoors. Conveniently, creating your own napkin holder also presents an opportunity to decorate the holder with creative flare. The end result is a utilitarian craft that looks great while keeping napkins close at hand.

Cut a square piece of 1/2-inch thick plywood, or another 1/2-inch thick wood stock, that measures 8 1/2-by-9 1/2 inches to use as the base of the napkin holder. Cut two 1/4-inch wide strips of wood measuring 8 1/2 inches in length, and two additional 1/4-inch wide strips measuring 9 1/2 inches in length. These pieces will be utilized as a border for the napkin holder.

Miter the end of each border piece at a 45-degree angle. Secure the frame pieces around the border of the base piece using short wood staples from the backside of the base, or wood glue.

Mark the location of the dowels by measuring 1/2 inch in from the edge of the plywood base, halfway between the top and bottom of the base on each side. Drill a 1/4-inch hole at each location. Sand one end of each dowel to create a rounded look. Coat the un-sanded end of each dowel in a small amount of wood glue and slide one dowel into each pre-drilled hole.

Cut a piece of 1/4-inch thick wood stock that measures 2 1/2-by-9 inches to be used as the napkin "weight." Drill a 1/4-inch hole exactly 1/2 inch inward from the outer edge of the weight piece, centered on each side. Test the fit to ensure that the weight piece easily slips over the dowel posts.

Paint the finished product to your liking, or simply finish the wood with a coat of varnish. You may also choose to paint a picture, or monogram, on the weight piece for added decoration.

Insert paper napkins into the holder once the paint has dried. Remove the weight piece, place napkins on the base between the two dowel posts, and replace the weight piece to hold napkins in place. To remove napkins, simply lift the weight piece upwards and slide out the product.