DIY Project: Chain of Heart Napkins

D_S embroidered hearts.13
Class up some ordinary cloth dinner napkins with a charming chain of hearts for Valentine’s Day. Based on the chain stitch, this simple embroidery technique can be learned in a snap. Along with delicious food and a little candlelight, these eco-friendly reusable decorations are a sweet way to share some love. –Natalie

The full how-to is after the jump!

D_S embroidered hearts.1
-cloth napkins
-6 strand embroidery thread
-optional: vanishing fabric marker or chalk pencil


Select your embroidery thread; here I’ve chosen a range of corals and reds to complement the muted tomes of my napkins. Cut a piece about 2’ long, separate the 6 strands into two 3-strand lengths, and thread your needle with one of these. Tie a knot in the long tail.

D_S embroidered hearts.3

All of the stitches in your chain of hearts will fall on three parallel lines- two outer points for the peaks of the heart and a center axis of symmetry. You can draw these three lines onto the napkin with a vanishing fabric marker, with the outer lines about 1/4” apart. I’ve labeled them A, B, and C in the images below.

The chain of hearts stitch:

1. Insert your needle at the beginning of chain through line B, drawing the thread from the back of the napkin to the front. About 3/16” up the line, insert the needle into line B and bring it out at line A at a 45 degree angle. With the tail of the thread underneath the point of the needle, draw the needle through. You have made the left lobe of the heart.

D*S embroidered hearts.5

2. Reinsert the needle at the point on line A it just exited, with the thread wrapping over the peak of the heart’s left lobe to hold the arch in place. Come back through the napkin on line B where you began step 1, at the point of the heart.

D_S embroidered hearts.7

3. Repeat step 1 for the right lobe of the heart: About 3/16” up the line, insert the needle into line B and bring it out at line C at a 45 degree angle. With the tail of the thread underneath the point of the needle, draw the needle through.

D_S embroidered hearts.8

4. Reinsert the needle at the point on line C it just exited, with the thread wrapping over the peak of the heart’s right lobe. Come back through the napkin on line B between the peaks, at the start of the next heart in the chain.

D_S embroidered hearts.9
D_S embroidered hearts.10

To finish the chain, end on the back of the napkin at line C after completing a heart. Draw the needle under one of the stitches, make a knot around it, and cut the tail.

D_S embroidered hearts.11
D_S embroidered hearts.12

  1. Nicole says:

    Great idea, and so simple. I love those DIY’s.

  2. Dawn Thompson says:

    Oooh, thank you!

  3. regina says:

    I like to do it..thank you for your clear instructions

  4. Judith Gill says:

    Awesome. I love this

  5. Te says:

    Me gustó mucho esta labor , me encanta bordar y les felicito por compartirla.

  6. Clara Luz de Siliezar says:

    me encanta esta puntada esta preciosa para decorar manteles

  7. Lisa says:

    I love this design. Wonderful instructions. Thank you

  8. Thanks for sharing this sweet tutorial!

  9. Aimee Villamayor says:

    I love details …thank you for the simple instructions.

  10. Rose Granholm says:

    Thanks so much. Great idea.

  11. Aina Norris says:

    Thank you will try- looks great little hearts on the serviettes!!

  12. regina says:

    Beautiful idea, I like it much, thank you

  13. ombretta says:

    I really love your works! Thank you

  14. Karen says:

    Wonderful tutorial!! My mama taught me to do lazy daisies the same method, had them on the frayed hem of my jeans in the 70’s. Thank you for sharing!!!!

  15. sudha bhat says:

    thank u l learn this stitch

  16. Lula says:

    es precioso!!!! Gracias por el tutorial

  17. Marcia says:

    Muito delicado e lindo !!!

  18. Cheryl says:

    Fabulous thankuou for easy yo follow instructions :)

  19. Ruth says:

    I’m so happy to have found this – thank you so much. I have one old-lady tip: on your example, after the knot, run the thread through the hem a short distance before cutting it. That way there’s no loose end. When hand sewing anything, I always look for a way to end my stitching that way, by hiding it inside a hem, or under other stitches. Now I can’t wait to try this!

  20. Kim says:

    so simple, so sweet, yet I have never seen this before! Thank you

  21. Cindy A says:

    These are so cute, I can use as a decorative edge.

  22. Sarah Stauffer says:

    Love it! I think I’ll do all four corners differently for different seasons… Hearts, flowers, snow-covered pine trees, and maybe just a colorful design of wheat stitches or leaves for fall! Great inspiration!

  23. Donna Stigler says:

    This idea is just too cute! I’m making a quit for my best friend who loves hearts. Your sweet little hearts will be incorporated into the piecework. Thanks for your images and clear instructions.

  24. Janna Smit says:

    Grazie tanto! Just a few hearts on a napkin and the result is…….just great!

  25. Jerin says:

    Very good idea

  26. Becky says:

    How do these hearts come out after washing in machine?

  27. Mazie says:

    I might try this on pillowcases!

  28. Mémé M says:

    Simple et cependant très joli ! Merci.


Design*Sponge reserves the right to restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, contain profanity, personal attacks, hate speech or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business. Our goal is to create a safe space where everyone (commenters, subjects of posts and moderators) feels comfortable to speak. Please treat others the way you would like to be treated and be willing to take responsibility for the impact your words may have on others. Disagreement, differences of opinion and heated discussion are welcome, but comments that do not seek to have a mature and constructive dialogue will not be published. We moderate all comments with great care and do not delete any lightly. Please note that our team (writers, moderators and guests) deserve the same right to speak and respond as you do, and your comments may be responded to or disagreed with. These guidelines help us maintain a safe space and work toward our goal of connecting with and learning from each other.