How to Make a DIY Napkin Holder

DIY Napkin Holder

In my garage, I have a big pile of scrap wood leftover from other projects. I didn’t want to throw it away so I decided to build a small DIY Napkin Holder with salt and pepper compartments. This is a simple DIY project for a beginner to try and doesn’t cost a lot of money to make it.

After staining the Napkin Holder, I used two different chalk paint to make a rustic look. I love how it turned out. It’s a great addition to our dining table.

DIY Napkin Holder

Time to Complete

2 hours

Total Cost


Skill Level


Napkin Holder PDF


This PDF download includes Cut Diagrams, a List of Supplies, and 3D illustrations with detailed steps to build the project. Measurements are in imperial and not metric. Does NOT include SketchUp/CAD files.

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Napkin Holder

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Material List

Note: Lumber dimensions are listed as nominal size.  See lumber sizes for actual dimensions vs nominal.

Disclosure: Some of the links on this page as well as links in “tools for this project” and “material list” sections are affiliate links.


DIY Napkin Holder dimensions

Step 1 – Cut Two Sides of a Napkin Holder

Take ½” plywood and with a table saw cut two 2 1/2″x11 1/2″ pieces with a 45 degree cut on the 2 1/2″ side.

DIY Napkin Holder
cut wood on the table saw

Step 2 – Drill a Hole Thru Both Sides

From the inside of the 45° cut, measure and mark 3 1/2″. Then from the top of the board measure and mark 1 1/4″. This will be the center of the hole. Using a 1 1/4″ hole saw bit drill a hole in the center of the mark. Then cut from top of the board to the hole opening with a jig saw. Do this for both boards.

cut round circle in side piece of an napkin holder
drill holes for napkin holder
DIY Napkin Holder
DIY Napkin Holder

Step 3 – Cut the Smaller Sides of the Napkin Holder

Similar to step one, take 1/2″ plywood and cut two boards to 2 1/2″ x 8″ with 45° cut on the 2 1/2″ side.

side pieces for napkin holder

Step 4 – Attach all Sides Together

Using the random orbital sander lightly sand the pieces to eliminate any rough edges. Then apply wood glue in the seams and attach the pieces together using Nail Gun with 1 ¼” brad nails. I only had one nail in the center of the board.

side pieces for DIY Napkin Holder
glue side together for DIY Napkin Holder

Step 5 – Cut 1/4″ Plywood for Bottom of DIY Napkin Holder

Now take ¼” plywood and cut a 13 1/2″ x 10″ piece. Then place the frame of the napkin holder on top of this 1/4″ plywood making sure it’s aligned in the center. Apply wood glue between plywood and frame and clamp it together. Let the glue dry.

bottom piece for DIY Napkin Holder
glue napkin holder pieces together

Step 6 – Make a Divider for Salt and Pepper

To make a divider for the salt and pepper, cut one 7″ x 2 1/2″ piece and one 3″ x 2 1/2″ piece. Glue both pieces together as shown in the picture. This will be inserted in the napkin holder after it’s stained.

divider for DIY Napkin Holder
clamp the dividers for napkin holder

Step 7 – Cut PVC Pipe for Napkin Holder

Take a 3/4″ PVC pipe and cut it to 10″ in length. Then slide both PVC end caps on both ends.

pvc pipe for DIY Napkin Holder
napkin holder from pvc pipe

Step 8 – Finish by Staining and Painting

Stain and paint all the pieces including the PVC pipe. Once everything is stained, insert the salt and pepper divider inside the napkin holder frame and nail it using a Nail Gun. Then attach the decor metal pieces on each corner. You’re done with this DIY napkin holder.

DIY Napkin Holder
apply pre stain on the DIY Napkin Holder
stain the DIY Napkin Holder
pain the DIY Napkin Holder
screw-in the decor piece for napkin holders
DIY Napkin Holder

6 thoughts on “How to Make a DIY Napkin Holder”

  1. Hi,

    Love this project. l will be making this with my students.

    One question, would you be able to provide the actual paints you used. I can see varathane wood conditioner and rust-oleum chalk, but the rest of the info is blurred. I scoured the site to see if I could find a better picture or exact list of paints used. I you could share that would be great!

    Thank you in advance.

    • Hi Tim, I added the links to the material list, But I used Briarsmoke Stain to stain everything, and then a combination of Chalked Country Gray and Chalky Finish Brown.


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