Die Cutting Napkins

by Dave Brethauer

The absorbent properties of napkins add delightful dimension to die cuts.


  • White paper napkin (thin, cheap napkins work best)
  • Dies (Memory Box 94306 Silverdale Branch die used here)
  • Cardstock
  • Die cutting machine
  • Watercolor paints (Kuretake Gansai Tambi watercolors and Starry Color metallic watercolor paints used here)
  • Watercolor brush (No.2 round brush used here)
  • Other supplies as needed to complete the project (used here: Memory Box CL5245 Tidings Wreath clear stamp set, white embossing powder, embossing heat tool)


  1. Step 1

    Begin by unfolding a napkin.

  2. Refold the napkin so that it will have eight layers when the die cuts through it.

  3. Step 2

    Cut a piece of plain white cardstock slightly larger than the die to be used.

  4. Place the folded napkin on top of the white cardstock.

  5. Step 3

    Place the cutting die on top of the napkin and onto your die cut machine. Cut according to your machine’s instructions.

  6. Step 4

    After cutting, remove the cut shape as you normally would and begin painting.

  7. Use plenty of liquid, so that the layers of the napkin soak up the liquid and puff up a bit.

  8. Step 5

    While the napkin die cut is still wet, brush over the surface lightly with metallic paint to provide a sparkly accent. Allow to dry before using on project.

  9. Step 6

    Use the die cut embellishment to complete a card or other project.


Your Turn

You've seen the tutorial, now you try it! We've got a section of the gallery set aside for Die Cutting Napkins. Try this technique, then upload your artwork to the gallery. Show us your creations!

***Please note - Internet Explorer/Edge is not a supported browser, and will not allow you to see the videos. Please use Chrome, Firefox or Safari to view our tutorial videos.

Questions and Comments

We'd love to get your feedback or questions. Leave your comment below.

Thank you so much for sharing this technique. Your card is absolutely beautiful!
amy  |  Wed Nov 6, 2019 at 4:51 AM
This is absolutely BRILLIANT!! Holy Moly...so beautiful! TFS I definitely am going to try this technique!
jmhoffmann  |  Wed Nov 6, 2019 at 5:01 AM
This is great! I'm going to do some experimenting. Thank you for this tutorial. I love new techniques.
JeanetteRobertson  |  Wed Nov 6, 2019 at 6:00 AM
This sounds like fun. Looking forward to trying this technique. Thanks for sharing.
prpldy  |  Wed Nov 6, 2019 at 6:11 AM
So looking forward to heading down to my craft space this afternoon to try this technique. Your examples are beautiful.
mapperlmutter  |  Wed Nov 6, 2019 at 6:48 AM
The flower pieces looks so pretty! Will the layers come apart? And could I spray the flowers with silver or gold
instead of painting? Thanks.
Cards by Kathy  |  Wed Nov 6, 2019 at 6:58 AM
This is brilliant!
I can’t wait to try it!
Thank you for this excellent tutorial.
RubberStampRosie  |  Wed Nov 6, 2019 at 8:15 AM
jheyer  |  Wed Nov 6, 2019 at 8:24 AM
at about 1;14 in the video, you added a silver plate of some sort to the die cutting sandwich. What was that?
Paper Owl Artists  |  Wed Nov 6, 2019 at 8:26 AM
Love this idea Dave. So going to give this a try right now. My mind is going all over to experiment with various dies I have & plenty of napkins! TYFS
tiffanyrose  |  Wed Nov 6, 2019 at 9:00 AM
This is fabulous, I love the textures smile
JBgreendawn  |  Wed Nov 6, 2019 at 9:00 AM
Absolutely gorgeous! Cannot wait to try this! I am wondering, though, what holds all the layers of napkin together? Will the layers separate over time? Thanks!
turnerl58  |  Wed Nov 6, 2019 at 9:39 AM
Wow. I’m speechless. How beautiful are these examples. And you don’t even have to buy stuff. Everything is in the house already. Thank you sooo much. My most favourite tutorial this year!!!
Nessie  |  Wed Nov 6, 2019 at 9:54 AM
Dave, these cards are gorgeous and thank you so much for this wonderful tutorial! I love the textured result response of the napkins to liquid. Love your dies too!
FranneB  |  Wed Nov 6, 2019 at 10:18 AM
WOW! this is fantastic and THANKS : )
aztk  |  Wed Nov 6, 2019 at 10:44 AM
I really like this idea and I love the texture! So many possibilities.Thank you for sharing!
craftnique  |  Wed Nov 6, 2019 at 1:05 PM
All I can say is, "WOW!" This technique is absolutely gorgeous! Thanks so much for sharing your discovery with all of us. I can hardly wait to try it myself. I don't happen to have any white napkins on hand, so I'm going to try paper towels.
Desert Stamper  |  Wed Nov 6, 2019 at 1:26 PM
The poinsettia is amazing! Truly genius!
The Monitor  |  Wed Nov 6, 2019 at 4:44 PM
I'd love to try this, got a ton of napkins in all colours to use up, thanks for making it look so easy!
synderella45  |  Wed Nov 6, 2019 at 5:04 PM
I am very curious as to how hard this is to glue down? Does the glue soak into the napkin and you need a lot of it? Also is it hard to lay in place?
Pampam  |  Wed Nov 6, 2019 at 5:10 PM

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