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When my aunt used hair ties as napkin rings last Thanksgiving, I cried a little on the inside. Never again! Handmade napkin rings—to hug your newly-made handmade napkins, perhaps?—are a small and simple luxury, an easy way to up the ante on your holiday table.
Buttery leather flanked by a pretty red grosgrain ribbon or leather trim make these rings simple and also luxurious. Plus, they can be can be personalized! I like to think that guests can take them home and use them as bracelets (after all, it does resemble a pretty leather cuff, am I right?). Each time they wear it they'll be reminded of your beautiful meal.
Here's what you'll need:
- Leather tooling piece (I like this one, which makes two napkin rings)
- Japanese screw punch or leather punch (Martha Stewart's is great!)
- Red grosgrain ribbon or leather cording
- Mini alphabet stamp set, if you want to monogram them
- Black ink pad (or any color you wish!), for monogramming
Here's how to make them:
1. Cut your desired number of napkin rings from the leather pieces—these should be rectangles measuring 6 inches long by two inches wide.
2. Measure 1/4-inch in from the center of the short edge of the rectangle. Using leather punch or screw punch, punch one hole into the leather. (Tip: I use the largest setting to allow for plenty of room for your ribbon or cord to pass through.)
3. Repeat on the other end of the leather rectangle so that both ends now have a hole. Repeat on all strips of leather.
4. Using a pencil, mark a dot at the center of the leather, "good" side up (the "bad" side is rough and the good side is smooth and buttery).
5. Using mini alphabet stamps, begin monogramming the leather. I like to write all initials on a piece of paper to have for reference off to the side. Start with the middle initial, which you'll want to ink and stamp right over the pencil mark—this ensures your initials are centered. Stamp the first initial left of center, then the last name initial to the right. (Or, if you're ambitious, you could stamp out the full name of your guests!)
6. Repeat on all leather strips and let dry about one hour.
7. Trim two sets of 6-inch pieces of grosgrain or leather cord. Tie (I like to use a Lark's Head knot) to adhere ribbon/cord to the leather.
8. Tie around napkins, rest on dinner plate. Cheer!
What do you look for in a good cloth napkin? Tell us in the comments!