Easy paper napkin folding instructions

Updated April 17, 2017

Much to the dismay of Miss Manners and environmentalists, paper napkins are used to a much greater extent in modern times than cloth napkins. The switch from cloth napkins to paper napkins originated with American politician John Dickensen, who used them at his company's annual dinner in 1887. Popular use of paper napkins really took hold in the 1950s, and are often used for everyday and for entertaining. Dress up a paper napkin with an easy, origami-style folding technique.

Place a square-folded, paper napkin diagonally on a flat surface with the open corners situated at the top.

Fold down the top layer only of the napkin 2.5 cm (1 inch) and flatten the fold. Continue with 2.5 cm (1 inch) folds until you reach the middle of the napkin.

Flip the napkin over and fold the left corner to the middle of the napkin. Flatten the fold.

Fold the right corner of the napkin to the middle, slightly overlapping the left fold. Flatten the fold.

Turn the napkin over. Place silverware in the pocket created by the folds.


Make the folded napkin more secure and mobile by placing a small, decorative sticker where the folds meet at the back of the napkin. A paper napkin supports plastic utensils more securely than traditional silverware.

Things You'll Need

  • Square paper napkin
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About the Author

Julie Klein has been writing web content since 1999. Her writing includes admissions copy for a major university and articles on technology, literature, education and crafts. Klein received a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Secondary English Education Certification in 2004 from the University of Findlay.