Paper napkin folding techniques

Folding pretty paper napkins may not be a form of art, but it can certainly make a party table more appealing. There are many occasions when you might choose to use paper napkins instead of cloth ones, but that doesn't mean you have to sacrifice your sense of style. These easy paper napkin folding techniques are attractive and easy to pull off.

Simple Pleated Fold

Choose two napkins in coordinating or contrasting colours. Coordinating colours have a more sophisticated look, while contrasting colours are more playful. Unfold both napkins completely and place one on top of the other so that their sides are lined up evenly but one is slightly higher than the other. Starting at one end, fold the napkins together one inch at a time, like you'd fold a fan, creasing each fold lightly with your finger as you go. Fold the pleated napkin in half, bringing the two sides up in a fan shape. Tie the napkins at the base with raffia or ribbon for a romantic look, or just pop the napkins into an empty glass for a casual look.

Classic Tuxedo Fold

Choose a white paper napkin and a paper napkin in another colour to get a true tuxedo look, or opt for coordinating or contrasting colours. Layer three unfolded napkins on top of each other, using the same colour on the top and the bottom and a second colour in between. Use your finger to lightly crease the folds---pressing too hard could tear the paper fabric. Turn the napkins to a 45-degree angle, so that they look like a diamond. Fold the napkins down one layer at a time, folding the first one to the centre and reducing the fold an inch each time to show off the layers of colour. Once you have at least three layers of colour, flip the napkin stack back to rectangle position. Fold the napkin into thirds lengthwise and position it on the plate to show the alternating stripes of colour. Try this technique using a single unfolded napkin for a monochromatic look.

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