How to Fold Napkins into Shapes

Written by anne baley
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How to Fold Napkins into Shapes
Napkins (papel image by juanjo tugores from

Formal dinners are often solemn occasions that include generic decorations and events. Napkins folded into significant shapes can add a touch of levity or whimsy into what might otherwise be a serious event. Create identifiable objects from napkins on your next formal table to lighten up the mood and give a feeling of fun and enjoyment.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Square cloth napkins
  • Napkin rings

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    The Necktie

  1. 1

    Lay a napkin on the table in front of you. Orient the napkin so that the points are on the top and bottom, as well as to the right and to the left.

  2. 2

    Hold the top point in your left hand. Hold the right point in your right hand. Fold the right point two thirds of the way toward the left side and leave it there.

  3. 3

    Hold the top point with your right hand. Hold the left point with your left hand. Fold the left point over toward the right. The edge between the left point and the top point should align with the first fold that you made. You now have three layers of napkin folded into a pointed shape.

  4. 4

    Hold the top point with your left hand. Fold the right side over two thirds of the way toward the left side, just as you did before. Switch hands and fold the left side over the right layer until the left edge parallels the right edge. You now have a long shape that mimics the bottom portion of a necktie. Smooth the folds down with your hands.

  5. 5

    Grasp the left edge about a third of the way down from the top with your left hand. Grasp the top point with your right hand. Fold down the top point so that it is folded over onto the right side. You will have a long tie portion going up and down with a smaller pointed portion aiming toward the right.

  6. 6

    Hold the folds together and turn the entire structure over. You now have a pointed tie with a smaller point coming out from the bottom and pointing toward the left.

  7. 7

    Wrap the left-pointing tip around the top of the tie toward the right and tuck it underneath the body of the tie. You have now created the knot at the top of your necktie.

    The Fan

  1. 1

    Lay a napkin on the table with the edges at the top and bottom, as well as the right and left sides. Fold the bottom edge up 1 inch.

  2. 2

    Hold the first fold securely and fold this portion backward to create an accordion-type fold. Continue creating accordion pleats until you have folded the entire napkin.

  3. 3

    Grasp the pleated napkin at both ends and fold it in half. You will have a loop at the bottom and all the accordion pleats at the top.

  4. 4

    Push the folded loop through a napkin ring. Pull the folded loop through until it shows about 1 inch from the bottom of the napkin ring.

  5. 5

    Lay the napkin and ring on a plate with the napkin ring at the bottom. Flare out the two halves of the pleated napkin to create the fan shape. The napkin ring and looped end are the handle of the fan.

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