Sunday, 11 November 2012

Servietten Technique

  I ADORE Servietten Technique!

     I was introduced to this craft many years ago by Gil who as you know, if you have read my other posts, is my lovely mother-in-law.....She had been staying with friends in Germany and they had introduced her to this craft and of course she bought back several pots of glue and a stack of serviettes. After giving me the glue and serviettes and a vague description of how it was done, she left me to learn this lovely craft ;o)

      It is so simple really and gets beautiful results - and anyone can do it - Honestly! Even if you think you can't do crafts, you can do this! I taught my daughter to do this when she was only two....Well, I didn't allow her anywhere near the sharp scissors but she went crazy over the glue and sticking part

      First some photos of the things you can make - You can do Servietten Technique on nearly everything.

 You can do Servietten Technique on -

 Candles - The candles burn down leaving the serviette intact and the glow is gorgeous
 Paper and card - Create lovely craft embelishments with serviettes
 Glass -  Old jam jars are great (looks stunning with tealights lit in a garden on a summers evening)
 Material - I use mainly cotton canvas bags
 China -  Plain white/ivory china is ideal for this technique. Or you can use white ceramic paint as a primer first
 Wood -  I use white acrylic paint as primer first, it really makes the image bright. Decorate door hangers, picture frames, furniture
 Tiles - Makes great trivets and coasters
 Acrylic paint boards - Create beautiful art work
 Terracotta and Tin - Unique plant pots

    You can even do nail art with serviettes...And use clear nail varnish....PVA glue won't work too well on nails ;o)

The great thing about this technique is that it is such a cheap craft to do. Serviettes are available in so many lovely designs and cost only a pound or two for a huge pack. Usually there are several copies of the design on each napkin - a pack will last for ages. You can even find unusual single serviettes/napkins on Ebay for good prices.

Here are just a few of the many serviettes I have

 The other equipment you need is something to decorate and a pair of scissors and a paint brush.....Oh, and the glue - There are many decoupage glues available in craft shops that work great with this craft, and I own some of these and they work very well......

.........however, I prefer a cheaper glue - especially as I do this craft so much. So I mix PVA glue with water 3 parts glue to 1 part water and this makes a very good serviette glue. The one glue you can't substitute is the Textil Potch. This is designed for fabrics. You use exactly the same technique shown below, but the material needs to be ironed. After ironing, the image becomes permanent and can be machine washed.


  1. Select the item you want to decorate and the serviette you want to use. Cut the serviette to size...If wrapping the serviette around an item I would leave it slightly longer than you need as it can be trimmed afterwards

Serviettes are layered and the amount of layers can vary. I usually find 3 but have found as many as 5. The tricky part of this is that the layers can be difficult to separate, and you only use the top patterned layer. Sometimes the layers can be so difficult to separate. 

Apply a thin layer of the glue in a line down the item just to attach the serviette. When I first did this craft I would apply glue all over it and try to wrap the serviette around - and getting into a huge mess in the process. 

Obviously the serviette is very delicate and once wet will rip easily. I found the most effective way to begin was just to anchor it to the item first.
Then apply a thin layer of glue over the candle and attach the rest of the serviette. I prefer to do this in sections as handling a candle covered in glue can be tricky. Be careful not to touch the serviette after it is stuck down as the serviettes will stick to your fingers and come away. Small candles like this are the easiest to hold.

    You can see the edge is not stuck down...It is easier to trim this after the glue has dried as the serviette will tear very easily when wet and it is harder to cut neatly. 

Don't worry about wrinkles and creases. It is impossible to apply the serviette and not have some creasing, however careful you are. These add to the charm of the item. Many will straighten out once the candle is dry....if there is large creases, please don't try to make them smooth out......

.........or this will happen! And the only thing you can do then is to remove it all and start again. One very good thing about servietten technique is that most items can be washed and used again if things go wrong.

Once the candle has dried you can always smooth away some wrinkles and creases with your fingers. Trim any excess serviette and apply a very thin layer of glue all over the candle. 
It is best to use a brush that has firm bristles rather than a 'fluffy' brush. You need to apply a little pressure to ensure the glue goes on thinly and I find the fluffier brushes leave streaks of glue. You should have a clear glossy coating rather than streaks of wet PVA glue. Try to apply only once and not go over and over....or the serviette will become too wet and constant wiping with the brush will tear the image away.

Leave to dry and you have a servietten technique candle! These are wonderful things to make as gifts. You really can create something so unique and special for the people you love!

The main things to remember when using this technique is - 

  • If the item is going to get wet - by washing up or being outside in the garden, then coat with varnish before use. The best varnish to use is a polyurethane varnish (matt or gloss is your choice) and apply 2-3 coats allowing each coat to dry completely.
  • Serviettes obviously need to be applied to light coloured items so that they show up - But I have applied it to dark wood with very good results by applying white acrylic paint first to the area that the serviette is going to be on.
  • And for material items please use the material glue - otherwise it won't survive a wash!
  • Warning  - I know I probably don't need to explain the danger of candles, but I should just say that servietten candles can be lit and they shouldn't be left unattended. I have used many over the years and, as you can see from the photos, the candle burns down and leaves the servietten coating intact. Sometimes the wick does not burn straight and the serviette can catch light. 

           Thank you so much for reading this. If you have never done servietten technique before, I hope you will give it a go and let me know what you think - It would be lovely to see your comments! x



  1. Oh get Annie! Great stuff, a career in the making :-)

    As you know I love the results of the technique, so much gain for such a simple process. Annie is right, anyone can do it.....

  2. Hi Anya! Congratulations on your video - you explained everything very clearly (much better than lots of people who make instructional videos!)
    More please!
    Andrea x

  3. Great post, lovely photo tutorial, and a brilliant demo!
    Ally x

  4. You daughter is absolutely darling!!! She did such a great job on the video-a real natural!

    1. She will be so pleased to hear you liked this space as she plans to do more! xxx

  5. Thank you so much Laura/Anya for directing me here and teaching me what to do with my new serviettes. Projects will now abound!! You are both stars. Hugs, Jenny x

  6. Well I definitely think you should have a tutorial heading on your blog and post this video- Annie is so very cute and a natural in front of the camera. Obviously she is going to take after you (and grand ma ma and auntie) and be so crafty. Thank you so much Laura for sharing this with me - Outstanding for sure!!


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