Dinner napkins in a variety of textures and colors can accent your windows.

How to Make Kitchen Curtains Out of Dinner Napkins

by Kathryn Hatashita-Lee

Attractive dinner napkins will help you create a quick and artistic window treatment for your kitchen. Dinner napkins often measure 20 inches square and provide coverage for part of your window, while allowing natural light as you prepare meals. Visit your fabric or drapery supplier to shop for drapery hardware, such as a spring tension rod and matching ring clips, to make an easy-care, no-sew topper your visitors will admire. As an alternative, hand-sewing pairs of buttons can create pockets to encase the rod and create an elegant valance.

Ring Clips

Wash and press the dinner napkins with a preheated iron on your ironing board.

Attach ring clips along one side edge of each napkin. Attach one ring clip near each side corner and two clips evenly spaced in the middle, to avoid drooping.

Slide the curtain rod through the rings. Adjust the telescoping end of the rod to fit between the side jambs. Position the rod close to the top of the kitchen window for a valance effect.

View your curtains from inside and outside your home. Adjust the position of the ring clips to align the bottom edges of all the napkins at a consistent height from the window sill, if necessary. Your valance will show soft folds or a flat panel depending on the space between the rings.

Rod Pockets

Place one washed and pressed napkin on a large, flat surface. Place the curtain rod parallel to one edge of the napkin and then fold one napkin edge over the rod to form a rod pocket. As an alternative, place the rod over opposite corners, and fold over one corner to the opposite corner to create a triangle.

Thread a needle with all-purpose thread in a color to match the napkins and sew a pair of buttons, on opposites sides, to fasten the two layers to help secure the rod pocket. Knot and trim the thread ends with scissors. You will see decorative buttons on both the face and back. Work with a small ruler to help you center the buttons, or space more pairs of buttons consistently on the napkin.

Hang this one napkin on the window casement to view the effect inside and outside your home. The buttons will be visible from both sides.

Continue working with the remaining dinner napkins to create buttoned rod pockets that cover the length of the curtain rod. Change the number or placement of the buttons to achieve a different look, if desired.

Items you will need

  • Dinner napkins, approximately 4 to cover a 40-inch rod, gathered
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Ring clips
  • Spring tension rod
  • Buttons, at least 2 per napkin
  • Hand-sewing needle
  • Thread, color to match napkins
  • Ruler
  • Scissors


  • Work on this project when you have a block of time and your children are away.
  • Keep the supplies out of reach of children and pets.
  • Hang the curtains beyond the reach of children and pets to avoid a choking or strangulation hazard.
  • Iron-on fusible strips, which create a bond between fabric layers, can be used to join overlapping dinner napkins for a longer or wider panel.
  • To calculate the number of napkins for a flat, rectangular panel, first measure the rod length from left to right in inches. Divide this length by the length of one edge of a dinner napkin, and then round up to a whole number to calculate the number of napkins for your project. Any excess material can cover the rod's side brackets.
  • For the triangle-shaped curtains, overlap the napkins along the rod for a variation.


  • Never leave a plugged-in iron unattended.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images