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How To Decoupage Wooden Bowls With Paper Napkins

Learn how to decoupage wooden bowls with paper napkins to create vibrant Marimekko-style bowls. This guide provides step-by-step instructions to enhance your home decor with these colourful, eye-catching pieces.

I bought 3 wooden bowls for £1 in my local charity(thrift) shop. I took them home and transformed them with a Marimekko napkin decoupage on wood. I’ve already talked about my extensive paper napkin collection and recently used them to make some ridiculously colourful Marimekko decorative tin can planters for the garden.

When I first spotted the wooden bowls, they reminded me of pub restaurants in the ’80s and ’90s, where you would be served a side salad in. In today’s trendy gastro pubs, chances are, you’ll get your food served in a flower pot—anything but a plate or bowl!

Some people will say I’m a bit obsessed with Marimekko especially their Unikko poppy print. They might be right! I have Marimekko wallpapered stairs, a Marimekko bench in the garden and a whacking great piece of upcycled Marimekko Christmas art on the wall.

I loved the Marimekko wall art so much I decided that it wasn’t just for Christmas and have kept it up all year. So why not add some Marimekko decoupaged wooden bowls to the collection?

Materials to Decoupage on Wood

  • Wooden bowls- These bowls are very common and still readily available.
Small woven wood salad bowls
  • Oil and vinegar to clean the bowls if bought secondhand.
  • Marimekko Unikko paper napkins – You will only need one for each bowl. The Unikko print comes in lots of different colourways. I chose those with a white background. Sometimes you can buy individual paper napkins on eBay for decoupage so it’s worth checking that out, saves having to buy a whole packet when you only need one paper napkin.
Marimekko Unikko Paper napkins

How To Decoupage Wood Bowls

Step 1: As I bought my bowls in a charity shop the first thing I did was give the outside a good clean with a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and olive oil. I just rubbed on the oil mixture with a clean cloth and then buffed it with a dry cloth removing an excess.

cleaning wooden bowls with oil and vinegar

Step 2: Paint the inside of the wood bowls with white chalk paint.

Step 3: Once the paint is dry, cut out a large poppy flower from the Marimekko paper napkin. As the napkins are printed on white and the inside of the bowls are white you don’t need to be too precise when cutting out the flowers.

Cutting out Marimekko flower for decoupage on wood

Step 4: The Marimekko paper napkins are printed on 3-ply. Separate the cut flower so that you are left with only the top printed ply. Cover the bowl with Mod Podge and then place the flower on top. Use a scrunged up piece of clingfilm/saran wrap to smooth out press down your napkin, this will stop it tearing.

Paper napkin decoupage

Step 5: Once the decoupage on wood has dried, seal it by adding another layer of Mod Podge or varnish.

Marimekko decoupage on wood three colours

I’ve got a few more Marimekko paper Unikko napkins in different colourways, so I’m going to get more of these bowls to have a collection. The bowls look great on a summer table.

Marimekko decoupage on wood Uniko flower
Marimekko decoupage on wood

Even though the Marimekko Unikko poppy print is over fifty years old, it still looks great today. They update the colourways every year, I certainly haven’t tired of it. If you are also a fan of Marimekko prints you may want to check out all of my Marimekko crafts and DIYs.

As well as paper napkin decoupage, I also craft with Marimekko wallpaper samples and have used them to make a cool Marimekko desk caddy.

Check out these  DIY clay bowls and other summer craft ideas.

Marimekko Unikko decoupage on wood bowl pin
Marimekko Unikko decoupage on wood bowl pin

Jennifer Perkins

Saturday 21st of July 2018

I love these so hard. I want to make a set now. With as much random stuff as I have lying around you can never have to many cute catchall bowls on hand.

Claire Armstrong

Saturday 21st of July 2018

Thank you, they are handy. I'm on the lookout for more bowls as I have more of the Marimekko napkins in different colourways.

Snickerdoodle Create Bake Make Party # 240 - Shoppe No 5

Saturday 14th of July 2018

[…] Easy Marimekko Decoupage On Wood Bowls […]


Thursday 12th of July 2018

Totally lovely. I have a packet of Marimekko paper serviettes that I bought after seeing you use them for so many great crafts, the packet is not opened yet,( they are too lovely) but I will open it and use them some time - promise!

Claire Armstrong

Thursday 12th of July 2018

Thank you, I have quite a collection I can’t resist buying a packet whenever I come across them. I do also use them as serviettes too!


Sunday 8th of July 2018

You are right, you do see these wooden bowls everywhere. Doing this technique really makes the bowls so lovely.

Claire Armstrong

Sunday 8th of July 2018

Thank you, I will grab some more next time I spot them and make more in different colourways.

Michelle Leslie

Sunday 8th of July 2018

Those are just the happiest, prettiest bowls ever. The Marimekko design are really pretty and I have to try your tip using cling film to stop the napkins tearing. That always seems to happen to me

Claire Armstrong

Sunday 8th of July 2018

Thank you, Michelle the napkin tip works well.