Bleached Ombre Napkins

by Ashley Weeks Cart

The first year James and I hosted Thanksgiving dinner, we were living in Los Angeles and I was newly pregnant with Addison. Kimmy and two dear friends were our guests, and we put all of our wedding haul to work for the first time. Hurray for roasting pans, fancy china and pretty glassware! Kimmy and I purchased a stack of red cloth napkins for the occasion and they have been used many times in the following years. Unfortunately, they were looking a bit worn and discolored, so I decided to give them new life with this simple DIY: Bleached Ombre Napkins!

It was interesting to discover that of the eight napkins – three of them bleached to a golden yellow, and the remaining five, to white. Very odd indeed – so I won’t be using them for this Thanksgiving dinner with our table of eight – but can use them for smaller meals in the future.

Colored cloth napkins
Spray bottle
Optional: iron, washer/dryer


1. Iron the napkins flat. Sunny “helped” with her toy iron.

2. Lay each napkin flat on a bleach safe surface (I have old tables on our back porch – but I would recommend protecting anything that you don’t want to be discolored or destroyed by the bleach)

3. Using a spray bottle filled with bleach, spray from one corner up to the middle of the napkin – or in whatever pattern you’d like. I heavily saturated one corner and misted as I moved toward the center.

4. Allow each napkin to dry. Then launder, dry and iron again to set the table with your new, ombre napkins.