October 5, 2013

tutorial papernapkins

thanks for your interest in a tutorial on my napkins
, here's how I did it in 10 easy steps:

1) take a tissue (from a regular tissuebox is what I use) and split it into single layers;
2) cut it into half on the fold;
3) tape it to a sheet of ordinary printerpaper and make sure it's smooth enough;
4) feed it into your printer, upside down or whatever your printer requires;
5) have a file ready with photographed napkins or use mine (scale them first if necessary);
6) print!
7) spray the sheet with hairspray or a varnish (I prefer hairspray, since it doesn't make it yellow and makes it less stiff I think);
8) cut the napkins;
9) carefully peel of the napkins from the printingpaper;
10) fold the napkins and place them in your project of choice!

full explanation:
1)+2) I used one layer of a regular 3-layered tissue, a single layer of the ones we have here are thin enough for a convincing napkin. I removed the whole pack from the dispenserbox, to get a tissue that was as wrinkelfree as possible. I split the layers to singles and cut the tissuepaper in half on the fold, to have two more manageable pieces.
3) I then 'simply' (from staticity it sucks itself to the tape a bit to fast & easy in a way you don't want it to..) taped it onto a sheet of printingpaper, making sure it was as smooth as possible. What I did to make taping it a bit easier is to place the tapedispenser on the side I needed to tape, much better!
what I do if I taped all sides but it isn't smooth enough on one or more sides (most of the times) is to take a piece of tape and apply it with one (length)side of the tape on the side of the tissuepaper and gently pull it to the side while taping it down. Hope you understand what I mean.
Norma mentioned that she read people use spray-adhesive on one of the two (I would guess/suggest to choose the printingpaperside) to create a temporary bond, which makes sense as well.
But A) I'm no fan of spray-adhesive, B) I guess it makes it more delicate to remove since the tissuepaper is fragile enough as it is (but maybe is no problem at all) and C) I find my tapeway easy enough and gladly 'stick' with it (pun intended ;) ), but try if my method doesn't work for you. The downside of taping is that you loose space on the paper, but the tissuepaper has sides that are not usable anyway.

make sure you press the tape well, to prevent it from get into a fight with your printer (I can predict it won't be pretty and your printer wíll win, but not do anything for you ever again - or maybe only with a very handy husband/friend/costly repairman etc.. :p ).
4)+6) then feed through your printer, depending on how it's supposed to (mine takes them upside down) and start printing. I have an inkjetprinter and it appears to pick up the tissue paper here and there a bit, making small holes in the paper. You won't have this - I guess - with laserjetprinters, although I have no idea what the effect on the tissuepaper will be in regard to soaking the paper in ink maybe?
not all napkins will be printed fully (and with mine the top part came on the tape too, despite measuring and keeping that as margins), at least with my printer there's always some with a white line through them, maybe because it does that with regular paper sometimes too or maybe from creasing inside the printer or something (in that case you might want to try out the spray-adhesive). I decided to use those napkins anyway, since I could fold that side inside.
7) leave the page to dry a bit and then spray with hairspray to fixate the colours so they won't fade from the light (or at least less so).
8)+9) cut with scissors and fold. Because the tissuepaper is so thin, the ink will go through a bit, and you have a napkin that has a lighter, but sort of printed back, which makes it more convincing I think.

5) for images I photograped my own napkins and scaled them to 1:12 (1") size in GIMP, an image editing program, you can do that with your own image-editing program, but here are the pictures of my napkins for your - personal - use. They are in scale but I'm not sure what happens when you save them and want to use them in a sheet.. If you need to rescale, always try to adjust the dpi, not the pixels (and change the pixels to cm's or inches while doing that to check if it's getting the right size), that way you don't loose any quality.
If you use GIMP, this is what I mean (if any other program I don't know, but maybe/hopefully similar):

don't worry about the wrinkels, printing it doesn't pick up that kind of detailing (unfortunately that is, you also loose some detail of the beautiful print)
***using this turorial is at your own risk, I do not know what the effects might be (short- or longterm) on any printer and always be aware that if you don't press the tape well enough - or maybe even then - it might get stuck in your printer, which could cause it to end it's use.***

hope it's all clear, if not or you have any other question, please don't hesitate to ask!


  1. Dank U voor tutorial en printies, Monique! Goeie week end!
    Groetjes van

  2. Muchas gracias por el tutorial....tengo que probarlo. Besos


  3. Hi Monique, this is a handy tutorial. Your napkins look so fine, I hope to try your technique one day myself....thanks for sharing! It's good to have you back here on blogspot :-)

  4. Hi Monique! I think that you are so creative and thank you for sharing this tutorial! Your work is always a step ahead and the napkins are so ultra fine, just as they should be in miniature! Well done and Very Well presented!


  5. Thanks for this useful tutorial.
    Greetings, Faby

  6. Thanks for such a detailed tutorial! I'd never thought of regular household tissues before. I was thinking more of the tissue shops use to wrap delicate items, it comes in big sheets. It's more robust which would make it easier to work with but then it's the delicate nature of the tissue you have used that makes the finished tiny napkins so realistic. I'd better add a box of tissues to my shopping list and give it a go :)

  7. Thank you for sharing! I really miss having a printer right now ;) Hannah

  8. Muchísimas gracias. Es un tutorial perfecto. Lo intentaré.

  9. Hello Monique,
    Thank you for the great tutorial. Those napkins are great and will really bring a miniature scene to a higher level of realism.
    Big hug,

  10. Thanks for your always kind comments, always great to hear from you!