Ideas for fancy towel folding

Updated April 17, 2017

Towel folding, also known as towel origami, is a creative way to present everyday bath linen in guest rooms and bathrooms. A decorative element found in upscale hotels, resorts and cruise ships, fancy folded towels are created using standard towels and washcloths. There are many towel origami styles, from a simple dress shirt to an elaborate palm tree. Producing these designs sometimes requires more than just the towel, as pins and rubber bands can help secure some shapes.

Dress Shirt

The dress shirt towel is one of the easiest origami designs. It starts by folding the right side lengthwise, just past the half way mark. Repeat the process on the left side, making sure that it overlaps the right. Afterwards, fold the towel into thirds, onto itself, until it forms a folded Z shape. Fold down the top two corners of the towel, as this will mimic the collar on a dress shirt. Mints can be added down the centre to imitate buttons, and a note card containing a simple greeting can be placed where the shirt's tag would normally be.


The classic fan shape can help present a towel and a washcloth ensemble. To create this design, lay the towel flat and start pleating it in an accordion fashion, horizontally, from left to right. Fold the pleated towel in half, which will be the base of the fan, and secure it with a rubber band. Secure the top two edges, which should be touching each other, with a safety pin. Then, lay the towel flat to pull the outer corners downward to open up the fan. The same can be done for a coordinating washcloth. Once the two shapes are completed, lay the washcloth on top of the towel to finish the presentation.


The swan towel design requires one large bath towel. Place a finger in the centre of the towel, along the top vertical edge, to hold the towel in place. Fold down the top right-hand corner of the towel towards the centre, so that it makes a triangle, and repeat on the other side. Then start rolling in the outer edges of the triangle, until the two rolled sides are touching each other. Flip the towel over so that the rolls are face down, and bend back the pointed end, moulding the rolled towel to form an S shape. At this point the head of the swan is the point and the rest will be its body. There should be some fullness left at the back end of the towel, which can be rolled towards the neck of the swan to finish the swan's body.

Palm Tree

To create the palm tree design, one needs a full size towel and five washcloths. First, the large towel is rolled tightly horizontally. While holding the rolled towel, find the inner corner, which should be deep inside, and pull it out gently. This will help create the tapered trunk of the palm tree. The tree's leaves are created by turning a washcloth so that it is a diamond, not a square. Take the left corner and fold it inward just past the centre, then repeat on the right side so that the corners are overlapping. This narrow diamond shape is one leaf, which is repeated with the rest of the washcloths. Lay the trunk down and arrange the washcloths so that they appear to be coming out of the tree's top, finishing the palm tree design.

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About the Author

B. Maté has been reporting on creative industries since 2007—covering everything from Fashion Week to the latest artist to wow the Parisian art scene. Her experience stems from a marketing background, with more than 12 years of experience consulting fashion-forward entrepreneurs.