My question for napkin rings has failed! Help!
November 10, 2011 10:33 AM   Subscribe

I want napkin rings! Multicolored, non-chokable, and washable.

Okay, so I got inspired by this question, and just today picked up two dozen plain white bleachable cotton napkins on sale. Yay! Found a basket (it's a bit meh, but it'll do). Now I need napkin rings and I have repeatedly struck out at every big box, homestore, craft store, and specialty place in town. Everything I found, which wasn't much, was either a choking hazard, all matching, impossible to clean, or HIDEOUSLY UGLY (and also a choking hazard, impossible to clean, etc.). Even my google-fu has failed. WTF. Please hope me.

What I want is fairly plain rings, in several colors (or styles) so we can tell whose napkin is whose. I would prefer at least six colors (12 would be ideal, I can make do with 4 if I must). They must be washable (dishwasher-safe is a bonus, but I don't mind hand-washing) because I have a toddler. They must also, therefore, not be choking hazards, and the most common kind I found while out were made of beads. Not okay.

The perfect thing would be twelve simple plastic (or silicon!) rings in a rainbow of colors that can go in the dishwasher.

I do actually already own a really pretty set of hand-blown glass napkin rings but they're a bit delicate for toddlers. But these "everyday" ones can be cartoonishly bright cheap plastic and that's okay; if I need to impress people with napkin rings, I've got that part covered. Just not the part where my children don't break them or choke to death on them for normal, non-impressive days.
posted by Eyebrows McGee to Home & Garden (23 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Argh! I meant my QUEST has failed, not my question. I am having that kind of day.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:37 AM on November 10, 2011

Best answer: Hmm, can't help much if you're dead-set on a napkin ring napkin ring, but if you'd be happy with plain silicone bands, how about some roasting bands? I have a set for chickens and whatnot. Pretty indestructible, come in assorted colors, and can be run through the dishwasher. I think they'd serve your purposes just fine. (Not sure where they land on the choking hazard front, though!) For what it's worth, I got mine cheaper at Target.
posted by phunniemee at 10:41 AM on November 10, 2011

Maybe go to a hardware store and look in their piping section, and ask for the little cast-offs and mis-cuts? You're bound to find a few colors beyond black. You can also check in the plumbing section for silicon o-rings, though they're probably less colorful.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:46 AM on November 10, 2011

Best answer: I've been planning the same kind of thing, but have done nothing about it. Yet. I'm eyeing this Etsy seller who makes napkin rings out of curled-up spoons. She sells them in sets of 4, but could surely find more than 4 non-matching patterns in her (apparently enormous) collection of silverplate. Not plain as requested, but dishwasher safe unless you're adament about maintaining the silver plate, look non-choking to my not-a-parent eye.
posted by aimedwander at 10:50 AM on November 10, 2011

Response by poster: I am indeed not set on napkin ring napkin rings and open to suggestions of other things that will do the job and last. I can also do things that are crafty, but not super-crafty unless it's fabric stuff.

Maybe I go to the wrong sort of hardware store, but I've never noticed cast-offs and mis-cuts?
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:50 AM on November 10, 2011

Best answer: I did a quick check of etsy and found this shop. Her sets of napkin rings are all one colour, but it looks like she does custom orders and as these are solid ceramic they could totally go in the dishwasher.

Also, what about just making simple tubes out of fabric? Or maybe strips of fabric with velcro fasteners? (Sort of along the lines of homemade sleeves for to go cups?) They could get thrown through the wash with the napkins.
posted by Sweetchrysanthemum at 10:52 AM on November 10, 2011

Best answer: You could always try the pet store and ask to see the parrot toy rings. Or maybe something like these? (Seriously. Acrylic bird rings might work.)
posted by MonkeyToes at 10:55 AM on November 10, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Crochet some! These would take about ten minutes each and if you know any knitters or crocheters, they'll probably give you enough tiny leftover yarn balls to make 6 or more. If you're afraid the button is too much of a choking hazard, just sew the ends together.
posted by cilantro at 10:56 AM on November 10, 2011

My mom is a fancy lady who has lots of fancy napkin rings for special occasions. Let it be known that I don't think she has ever washed them. Unless there's a spillage incident, they shouldn't get dirty. After dinner, gather them up in a ziploc bag and put them away. Just an idea if the "washable" thing is really hanging you up.

My first thought is wood rings with either a painted design or some wound embroidery thread. Look for "wrapped sticks" for inspiration. But those wouldn't necessarily be dishwasher safe.
posted by amanda at 11:01 AM on November 10, 2011

Best answer: Looks like these might match your 'druthers.
posted by dlugoczaj at 11:01 AM on November 10, 2011 [2 favorites]

Ooh, working off of filthy light thief's suggestion, you could saw a piece of plain white pvc pipe into inch-long pieces, then have your toddler doodle on each one with a sharpie (one color per ring) to customize them. Or similarly customize a single-color napkin ring set that otherwise meets your specifications.
posted by phunniemee at 11:05 AM on November 10, 2011

Best answer: Get your kids to help you decorate unfinished wood napkin rings with marking pens, or do it yourself if they're too young to be allowed to use suitable markers.
posted by Ery at 11:17 AM on November 10, 2011 [2 favorites]

(Finish by painting with a waterproof polyurethane varnish.)
posted by Ery at 11:18 AM on November 10, 2011

Best answer: How to make napkin rings from a cardboard tube
posted by mattbucher at 11:20 AM on November 10, 2011

Best answer: A bargain at $208. Or perhaps these at $13.99? Or this at Crate & Barrel?
posted by MonkeyToes at 11:40 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: "Let it be known that I don't think she has ever washed them. Unless there's a spillage incident, they shouldn't get dirty."

Yes, the point is, I have a toddler. On the rare occasions there are no spillage incidents, he is sticky anyway and stickifies everything he touches. They will also be left on the table between meals, not put away. I don't want napkin rings for special occasions; I want them for everyday use, and that means my kid can use his own napkin ring, not have to not touch it so he doesn't get it sticky because it won't wash.

There are some great options here, and you guys have revived my google skills by giving me some better keywords! I have found a few good options, I'm going to show them to my husband, but feel free to keep them coming! Now that I have options I want a PRETTY option!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 1:22 PM on November 10, 2011

Best answer: Hmm. Wine glass tags?
posted by MonkeyToes at 1:58 PM on November 10, 2011

Shower curtain rings can also work for this, and you can wrap them with yarn or colored tape or tiny fake flowers if you want even more colorful options
posted by Mchelly at 1:59 PM on November 10, 2011

Best answer: Also, Pier 1 always has a bunch of really lovely, really inexpensive napkin rings
posted by Mchelly at 2:00 PM on November 10, 2011

Best answer: I came in to suggest Pier 1, dagnabbit!

Here is a search for napkin rings on Etsy.

I really like the idea of getting the kids involved, provided they're old enough. Craft project!

I've now been looking at napkin rings on Etsy for hours (so fun!). I'm going to talk the mister into using cloth napkins. I did before I met him and while growing up. I'm not sure why I discontinued it.
posted by deborah at 8:30 PM on November 10, 2011

Best answer: Ebay is usually cheaper than Etsy, and there are tons of vintage napkin rings to choose from.
posted by jocelmeow at 9:55 AM on November 11, 2011

Best answer: Oooh, and you guys also came across vintage Bakelite napkin rings, right? Animals! Ducks! Dogs!
posted by MonkeyToes at 1:35 PM on November 11, 2011

Response by poster: You guys rock! I ended up going with a seller on etsy who was able to do a custom order for me, of 8 rings. (There are only four of us, so 8 should see us through breakage and extra children, I think.) I was just using lame words to try to narrow my searches, I think, and kept coming up with the same few types of rings.

Also now I believe I will have to actually go to Pier 1 this afternoon because I didn't find the perfect napkin rings there, but I might have found the perfect champagne flutes ...

So many awesome options to choose from, I am almost tempted to start collecting napkin rings but I have a serious tableware addiction and I must STOP! Thanks again!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:00 AM on November 12, 2011

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