Ideas for Folding Napkins

Written by d. laverne o'neal
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Ideas for Folding Napkins
The folded cloth napkin can add a touch of elegance to any setting. (Diner image by Daly from

The napkin seems an almost mundane item--a bland necessity to proper table manners. But the napkin can be so much more, with its colour and texture enhancing the look of the table for occasions formal and informal. When folded into simple or intricate designs, its visual appeal can mushroom. Full-size paper napkins can be folded into designs, but quality linen or cotton napkins add weight and elegance to the concept.


The pyramid design is a timeless classic--elegant and tasteful, with a hint of mystery. How exactly do the napkins manage to stand up? For one thing, even the sturdiest cloth napkins are typically infused with starch before the process of folding begins. To create this folded favourite, start by laying the napkin out flat. Fold one corner diagonally to meet the other. Turn the napkin "so the open end faces away from you," says the website NapkinFoldingGuide. The base of the resulting isosceles triangle should be close to you. Fold both tips of the triangle base up to match the vertical point. A diamond shape should result. Flip the napkin over. The open sides of the napkin should still be facing away from you. Fold the far tip of the diamond to meet the tip closest to you. Flip the napkin again, so that the open end is closest to you. Fold the napkin once more from the base to the tip of the broad triangle you have created, and set the napkin so it stands on the open ends.

Ideas for Folding Napkins
The pyramid design is a timeless classic. (restaurant image by Svetlana Kashkina from

Lily Goblet

This design can prove a source of delight to dinner or party guests. Once again, a starched, freshly pressed napkin is ideal. Fold a full-size cloth napkin into quarters. Form accordion pleating from one diagonal to the other. Be sure to keep the open ends on top, as you fold. Pinch the napkin at the centre and tuck it tidily into a tall, short or stemmed glass. Pull apart the open corner ends to create a petalled effect.

Rolled Design

A rolled napkin creates a lovely package for silverware and adds a touch of refinement to any casual occasion. Fold a large, starched cloth napkin in half diagonally, says NapkinFoldingGuide. Turn the napkin so that the longest side is nearest to you. Place your knife, fork, and spoon(s) close to the edge of the longest side. Fold both corners of the long side toward the centre to cover the silverware. Then roll the silverware into the napkin toward the point.

Ideas for Folding Napkins
Rolled napkins can prove festive, as well as convenient. (two silver napkin rings and napkins image by Warren Millar from

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