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How to Print on Paper Napkins

Crafters and home entertainers use coloured napkins in projects or for dinner parties. At times they would like to use their own designs on the napkins and professional printing is cost-prohibitive, especially for only a few items. However, it is quite possible to transfer a design onto a paper napkin by printing it on an inkjet printer. First, however, the napkin must be ironed on to a sheet of freezer paper. The freezer paper, when heated, adheres the napkin to itself and provides a firmer substrate so that the napkin can be put through the printer. This procedure takes about a half hour per napkin and is fairly easy to execute.

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  1. Choose a design on your computer that you would like to print onto the paper napkins. You can choose something ready-made or design your own pattern. If you draw your own pattern, you will have to scan it into a digital file to print it on the napkin.

  2. Cut a piece of freezer paper to a size that will fit in your printer and that will also accommodate the unfolded paper napkin. Place the napkin on the shiny side of the freezer paper. Make sure the side of the napkin on which you want your design is facing up.

  3. Iron the napkin onto the freezer paper on a medium setting. Preheat the iron and test a small area of the napkin before ironing the entire thing to make sure the napkin will adhere to the freezer paper.

  4. Place the napkin and freezer paper in your printer as you would regular printer paper. Make sure the napkin side is facing in the proper direction to receive the printed pattern. Print the design from your computer.

  5. Carefully peel the napkin away from the freezer paper. This step requires great patience and care in order not to tear the napkin. Discard the freezer paper and refold the napkin or use it however you like.

  6. Tip

    This technique will also work on tissue paper.


    Make sure the napkin is firmly adhered to the freezer paper before printing. If areas are loose, they can cause the printer to jam. Do not attempt this with a laser printer. Laser printers use high heat for printing and can cause napkins to catch fire.

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Things You'll Need

  • Digital design
  • Paper napkins
  • Freezer paper
  • Iron
  • Inkjet printer

About the Author

Karren Doll Tolliver holds a Bachelor of English from Mississippi University for Women and a CELTA teaching certificate from Akcent Language School in Prague. Also a photographer, she records adventures by camera, combining photos with journals in her blogs. Her latest book, "A Travel for Taste: Germany," was published in 2015.

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