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How to make napkin rings out of paper towel rolls, twine & glue

I love a beautifully set table, and nothing brings a table together like gorgeous napkin rings!  These napkin rings look like they were store bought, yet I made them out of items I had at home at very little cost.

Several months ago I had a light bulb moment and realized toilet paper and paper towel rolls were the same width as napkin rings.  So naturally I’ve been brainstorming clever ways to use them for making napkin rings.  I prefer using paper towel rolls but you can certainly use toilet paper rolls to make these rings…but you’ll need several.  I decided to use a paper towel roll because it fits more and feels less germy.

How to make napkin rings out of paper towel rolls, twine & glue

I used basic cooking twine, the ones I use to tie up my chicken, to make these napkin rings.  Cooking twine has a smooth texture which for this project I really liked.  You can also use jute twine or yarn and experiment with the different textures.  When it comes to the glue, the cheaper the better!  I used cheap basic washable glue from the Dollar Tree.

So just to prepare you, it takes a few days to make these (mostly because of dry time), but don’t let that put you off.  It’s a satisfying project and well worth it.  Below I’ll show you supplies needed and break down the steps to show you how easy it is to make these beautiful napkin rings!

DIY budget napkin rings

How to make napkin rings out of paper towel rolls, twine & glue


Paper towel or toilet paper rolls

Twine or thin yarn


Plastic wrap

Cheap, basic glue





Newspaper or drop cloth


DIY budget napkin rings


How to make napkin rings out of paper towel rolls, twine & glue

1.  Wrap an empty paper towel roller with plastic wrap.

2.  Measure out the amount of twine you need.  I did this by wrapping the twine around the roller until I achieved the look I was going for.  Then I unwrapped and used this as a guide to cut the rest of the twine to length.  I used roughly 228 inches for each ring, you can use more or less.

3.  With the twine, go around the roller one time and tie a knot.

4.  Continue wrapping the twine in a single layer until you create the width of a typical napkin ring.  This first layer will act as a guide.

How to make napkin rings out of paper towel rolls, twine & glue

5.  Continue to wrap the twine around in a random pattern on top of the first layer and leave a small tail.

6.  Take the tail of the twine and loop it under another piece of twine.

7.  Then pull it tight to create a knot.  It’s best to make your new knot on the same side as the original knot.  Both knots will be the back of the napkin ring and hidden.

8.  Trim the knot ends shorter and tuck the little string edges under, pushing on the roller if necessary.

How to make napkin rings out of paper towel rolls, twine & glue

9.  Continue each step until you reach the desired number of napkin rings needed.  I was easily able to slide and adjust my wrapped twine bundles along the roller.  I was able to comfortably fit 6 rings per roller.

10.  Gather your supplies to make the glue mixture.  Grab a bowl, then mix 1/4 cup glue, 1/4 cup cornstarch, and 2 tablespoons water.

11.  Whisk together until smooth, then rinse the measuring utensils and the whisk.  You can use a disposable bowl, but don’t worry I had no problem washing the glue mixture out of my bowl.  I left it in the bowl 3 days (covered with plastic wrap) and it cleaned up just fine.

NOTE: My glue mixture was enough to make 8 napkin rings.  If you are making more than 8 you’ll need to double the mixture. 

12.  Over newspaper or a drop cloth scoop small amounts of the glue mixture with your fingers.  Then rub and press the glue mixture into each napkin ring.  You’ll also want to scrunch the edges of the napkin ring with your fingers to ensure the twine is even and feels tight.  Do this a few times letting the mixture penetrate the twine layers until it feels thoroughly wet, think of this as paper mache but with twine.  Repeat the step for each napkin ring.  You can wear a disposable glove but I just used my bare hands, that’s how I roll.  Cover the remaining glue in the bowl with plastic wrap, you’ll need it later!

How to make napkin rings out of paper towel rolls, twine & glue

13.  Place the roller upright to dry so it doesn’t stick to anything.

14.  After 2-3 hours check the rings and apply another light layer of the glue mixture to the rings.  Cover and save the remaining mixture.  Let the rings dry 12-24 hours until they have completely hardened.  Once completely dry remove the rings by twisting and sliding them off the roller.  You can even crush or cut the roller if necessary, but I didn’t need to.  If you see any jagged glue residue along the ring edges simply scrape it off with a pair of scissors.

15.  Now it’s time to glue the inside of the ring.  It looks firm and stable but the friction of a napkin sliding in and out will eventually pull out the string.  Dip a finger in the remaining glue mixture and rub it along the inside of the napkin ring.

16.  BE WARNED: if you don’t have enough glue on your finger it can drag and pull the inside of the twine loose.  I only had this happen on one ring, if this happens just get extra glue and pat the string down.  The trick is to keep a lot of glue on your finger, it your finger feels dry then stop and get more glue.  You could also trying using a small craft brush to apply the glue.  Once the inside of the napkin ring is coated in glue let it dry completely.  Once dry, the napkin rings should feel firm and sturdy.

How to make napkin rings our of toliet paper rolls

Now it’s time to paint!  I used gold spray paint because it’s what I had on hand, but you can use any color or type of paint you have.  I must say I certainly love the gold though!  I think in the future I’d love to make bronze and silver napkin rings as well.  Let the paint dry, and now you have gorgeous napkin rings!

Also, I chose to paint my napkin rings because I wanted them to be fancy!  However you can leave yours natural for a rustic look as well.  Definitely experiment and have fun!

Toliet paper napkin rings

I’m pretty picky about homemade gifts but I think these napkin rings would make a great gift, don’t you agree?

How to make napkin rings out of a toilet paper rolls, twine & glue

Time to set the table!  If you’re drooling over these plates you can find them HERE.  Leopard addiction is a real thing and I definitely have it!

How to make napkin rings out of a toilet paper rolls, twine & glue

I absolutely love these napkin rings, each one has it’s own unique look.  It was so much fun and you can bet I’ll be doing more DIY napkin rings as ideas come to me.

Think of all the beautiful color combinations you can come up with.  I want to see all your amazing creations!  If you make these tag me on Instagram or leave a photo under my Pinterest pin.  Go create my friends, it’s good for the soul!