DIYdiy projects

diy project: all-in-one summer picnic kits

by Kate Pruitt

Of all the recreational activities associated with summer, picnicking is far and away my favorite. It offers an irresistible mix of food, nature, nomadism, and efficient packaging. I should have predicted this love from the hours I spent playing Oregon Trail as child: I focused entirely on monitoring my list of  sundries and supplies and packing up my wagon, and would never try to shoot the rabbits or make any trades. Unsurprisingly, I wasn’t very good at that game.

My love of packing up supplies and heading out to parks and beaches remains to this day, so I decided to create a set of pretty picnic kits that provide your napkin, plate, and utensils all in one. I found these beautiful earth toned linens at my local fabric store, and decided to pair them with a couple fun prints, large wooden buttons, and geometric pockets. If you are planning a camping trip or have any summer gifts to give, these picnic kits are fun and easy to make, and would please any proper picnicker. Enjoy! —Kate

Read the full how-to after the jump . . .


  • 1/2 yard each of 4 medium-weight natural fabrics (linens and cottons are best..if your plate is larger than 10″ you may need more than 1/2 yard)
  • 9″ cardboard square template (or larger depending on your plate size — mine is 8.75″)
  • 6″ cardboard equilateral triangle template
  • pencil
  • four wood buttons
  • sewing machine
  • scissors
  • pins
  • 4 sets bamboo or wood utensils
  • 4 enamel or tin camping plates


1. Cut 18″ squares out of each fabric, making sure your edges are very straight and that they run along the weave of the fabric as closely as possible.

2. Start pulling threads off the edges of each square. You can usually scrape them out and then pull them with your fingers, but if they are hard to grab, you can also use a pin. Continue pulling out thread on all four sides to create fringe. Stop when your fringe is about 1/4″.

3. Place your cardboard square template inside your napkin, centered and rotated to a 45 degree angle. Pull over the four corners to overlap in the center, and use your pencil to make a small dot at the center of where all four edges overlap, 1″ in from the edges.

4. Take the bottom flap and sew a wood button over the dot you made.

5. Place the button corner on the bottom, then refold each corner flap over the button one at a time. Use your fingers to feel where the button hits the napkin, and place pins one either side to mark where your button holes will go. Repeat with the other two flaps (three total).

6. Sew your button holes on the sewing machine. When you’re done, button up the napkin to make sure the holes fit and the shape is roughly a square when buttoned up.

7. Trace your triangle template onto the remaining section of each of the four fabrics and cut out two layers of fabric, making sure to leave 1/4″ edge around the shape.

8. Sew the triangles together with the good side of the fabric facing in. Sew around the entire triangle, leaving only 1″ to 2″ on the last edge. Turn the fabric inside out, tuck the hem inside and pin. Sew the triangles shut.

9. Iron the triangles to make them flat.

10. Place the triangles onto the center of the square napkins (on the same side as the button) and pin in place. You can position the triangle in any way, but you will be leaving one side of the triangle open to act as a pocket. Sew the two edges on the sewing machine, leaving the third one open. Iron the whole napkin once more.

Done! Another option for these kits is to place the triangle pocket on the other side of the napkin, so that both the utensils and the plate go inside the pocket. I think functionally this would be better, so that the utensils don’t fall out. But I really wanted to see them on the outside, so I made the less functional choice :) You could also make an extra set of triangles and place the shapes on both sides— it’s entirely up to you! Happy picnicking!


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