Left Continue shopping
Your Order

You have no items in your cart


How to use the Water for Decoupage video. A white wooden coaster is decoupaged with a Christmas cat in a red hat.

How to Decoupage with Napkins: Mastering the Water Method

At DecoupageNapkins.com, we continually discover innovative decoupage tips, and we're thrilled to share them with our crafty community. Our latest find? The water method – a unique approach using plastic sheets and a spray bottle for seamlessly applying paper napkins to decoupage projects. Perfect for both novices and seasoned crafters, this method ensures impeccable results.

Our affiliate Donna from "Mason Creations etc." provides for you, an in-depth tutorial complete with a step-by-step video on her YouTube channel. We encourage you to watch it for a visual demonstration of this game-changing technique. If you enjoy what you see please open this link fully by clicking on the words "YouTube" at bottom right. Then please like, share and follow her channel.

Below is a step-by-step quick instruction list on this technique. 

The Steps of the Water Method:

  1. Preparation: Choose your base (wood shapes, glass jars, etc.) and ensure it's clean. If it's wooden, sand it lightly for a smooth surface. Wipe away any debris.
  2. Painting: Apply two coats of a light-colored paint (white is best) to your base. Let dry and then lightly sand for a final smooth touch.
  3. Select Napkin: Browse DecoupageNapkins.com or your personal collection and choose a  decorative napkin design. Ensure it's of high quality to prevent color bleeding.
  4. Separate Layers: Gently peel away the napkin layers before beginning. Use only the top layer of the napkin.
  5. Water Technique: Lay your napkin design face down on a flat plastic piece. Using a spritzer, wet the napkin evenly. Smooth out any wrinkles that appear.
  6. Glue Application: Coat your base with your preferred decoupage glue.
  7. Napkin Placement: With the plastic's help, position the damp napkin onto the glue-coated base, smoothing from the center outward. Gently lift off the plastic.
  8. Edge Treatment: Brush the napkin edges with glue to make sure they lay down property and let dry. After completely dry, sand off any overhanging parts for neatness.
  9. Sealing: Apply a clear, heat and spill-resistant varnish like to seal and protect your design.


Below are more in-depth, detailed instructions on decoupaging napkins using the water method.

The Base Matters

Your choice of base is an important part of creating your work of art. While we at DecoupageNapkins.com offer a wide selection of wood shapes, this technique can be applied to various surfaces. Be it curved surfaces like glass jars, wood, or MDF coasters, the key lies in ensuring a clean, debris-free foundation. And for those using wood, light sanding sets the stage for perfection. It helps to ensure a smooth surface and good adhesion of the paint.

Background: The Canvas of Your Craft

Picking the right background paint color is critical. For novices, white is your safest bet, ensuring your napkin's design truly shines. Since the top layer of a napkin is very thin, any paint that is underneath it will show through. White is a natural background that will help the images on the napkin stand out. As you grow in confidence, experimenting with shades can be fun. But remember darker shades might peek through, influencing your image's final appearance.

Dive into Napkin Designs

The good news for those browsing DecoupageNapkins.com is that we supply thousands of patterns and your perfect design awaits. From seasonal delights to whimsical designs, our European-quality napkins promise no ink bleed, ensuring your artwork remains pristine. A quality napkin is a must when you are working with decoupage. If you are tempted to use a discount brand napkin you may suffer from running ink and smudging when you apply your glue.

Layers: Less is More

Most of our napkins come in 3 ply. You only need the top layer that is adorned with the intricate design. Gently peel the layers at the edge to separate it from the white under-layers. Next, plot your design by deciding which section of the napkin best complements your base. Here's where your creative genius comes into play. You can use the full napkin or just a decorative portion. If you decide to only use a piece of a napkin, we recommend using a water pen to roughly outline the section you would like to use. After outlining the area, it is very easy to tear the napkin with out damaging the section. We find that torn edges are much easier to blend on the final product than cut edges when you decoupage with napkins. Cut edges can leave straight lines that do not look natural.

The Signature Water Technique

Here is the secret sauce for the water technique. Lay for your napkin design on a flat piece of plastic, like a cut zip lock bag or a piece of plastic wrap, face side down. Then using a spritzer bottle, gently mist water onto the napkin ensuring even wetness. The napkin will expand when it gets wet. Smooth out any wrinkles by gently touching the napkin and pushing the wrinkle out with your finger or fine brush. In this way you can make sure your napkins is wrinkle free. Taking the time to adjust things here makes for a smooth application later.

Applying with Precision

Apply a base coat of your preferred decoupage glue. After you apply your glue or varnish, it's time to place the napkin. Lay the napkin using the plastic and begin smoothening it from the center out. You can just use your finger to gently rub on the plastic. Once you are satisfied, simply peel away the plastic for a perfect placement. 

Perfecting the Edges

For the final touch, by using light pressure of your brush, press down the napkin's edges. If the napkin you chose hangs over an edge have no worries. After your project dries, lightly sand off the hanging paper. Don't forget to finish with your favorite sealer.

Parting Thoughts

Embracing the water method can elevate your decoupage projects, offering pristine, wrinkle-free results every time. Whether you're a beginner or a crafting veteran, this technique is set to inspire. Dive in and unleash your artistic potential. If you have any tips you would like to share with us, we would love to hear from you! User our store's Contact page. Help us teach those who would love to learn how to decoupage with napkins.