How to Fold a Chicken From a Napkin

Updated June 13, 2017

Folding paper or fabric into unique shapes is a hobby that has been around for centuries. Some projects are very intricate and take years of practice to master. However, there are many other folding projects that take just a few minutes, like this chicken. It can be a quick solution if you have dinner guests, especially children, who are becoming increasingly impatient for their entrée or dessert to arrive. This chicken is shaped like those whole fryers seen in the grocery store, a figure often made to "dance" in animated videos.

Spread out the napkin on a flat surface, removing all creases, wrinkles and folds.

Gently lift one side of the napkin and fold it in about one inch toward the centre. An exact measurement is not necessary. Continue to fold (or roll) loosely until you reach the centre of the napkin (between four and seven turns).

Repeat Step 2 on the other side of the napkin. The napkin will now have two long tube shapes.

Flip the napkin over so the tube shapes are on the bottom and the flat side connecting them is on top.

Fold the napkin in half, so the four "tube" ends are on one end and the fold is at the other end.

Gently reach into each of the four tubes, grasp the corner of the napkin and pull it out of the tube as far as possible. (That tube will now form a spiralling spike shape.) Repeat for the other three tubes. The napkin will have four spike shapes.

Grasp the corner (or tip) of one spike shape in one hand, along with the corner of adjacent spike from the other end. (That is, not the same side of the fold.) Do the same for the remaining two spikes with the other hand.

Pull your hands away from each other, stretching the tubes and forming the "chicken." The "wings" will be at one end, the "drumsticks" at the other. You may want to wrap the string around each "limb" and tie a knot to hold the limb's shape.


Don't roll the napkin too tightly, or it may be too difficult to reach inside to the corner. Don't wrap it too loosely or the limbs may not form properly. When your chicken is complete, you can adjust the limbs to make it "sit" or move them around to make it "dance."


You can make a chicken from a paper napkin, however it will tear much easier. Linen is best for beginners.

Things You'll Need

  • One square napkin (linen is preferred, especially for beginners)
  • 2-inch pieces of string (optional), 4
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About the Author

Laura Brestovansky is a Michigan-based writer with more than 25 years experience. Her work has appeared on countless websites as well as in local newspapers such as the Oakland Press, the LA View and The Michigan Catholic. She has an honors degree in journalism from Eastern Michigan University.