How to Fold a Napkin 8 Easy Ways

Add a special touch to your dinner table with these napkin folding ideas. You don't need anything fancy to get started—just a few napkins and these easy step-by-step instructions.

Looking to add that perfect finishing touch to a table setting? Break out a few fancy (but simple) napkin folds. In just a few minutes, you can add an extra flourish that will wow your guests—and only you have to know how simple this napkin origami can be. Now, grab your favorite fabric napkins (they look great and are eco-friendly) and get practicing! The holidays will be here before you know it!

Fan Fold | Napkin Bouquet | Place Card Holder | Cutlery Wraps | Letter Fold

Napkin Ring Fold | Flower Fold | Diagonal Fold

How to Fold a Napkin: Fan Fold

This fan fold looks elegant on any table, and while it looks a little complicated, rest assured that once you get the hang of it, you can do it in your sleep.

Step 1

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Fold a large square napkin in half to create a rectangle.

Starting at the short end, fold the napkin into one-inch accordion pleats, stopping about four inches from the opposite end. Make sure the fold of the last pleat is at the bottom edge and all the pleats are underneath.

Step 2

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Fold the napkin in half lengthwise so half of the pleats are now on top.

Step 3

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Fold the upper left corner down and tuck it behind the center pleat, forming a triangle.

Step 4

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Release and let the pleats fan out. Adjust the folds and back triangle as needed so the fan stands upright.

If you want to fold these fans in advance for your next party, Just keep them folded up (not fanned out) and stack them in a basket or container. When you’re ready, pop them onto your place setting and watch them fan out perfectly.

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How to Fold a Napkin: Napkin Bouquet

Bring some personality to your table by using two different color napkins to make a napkin bouquet. Beyond color, you can play with napkin size and fabric as well as the vessel to find the combo that suits your gathering.

Step 1

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Layer one napkin on top of the other so that each corner is offset a bit.

Step 2

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Grab the napkin in the center and pull up.

Step 3

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With the edges pointing up, place napkins in a glass and fluff.


How to Fold a Napkin: Place Card Holder Fold

This fold is not only functional, but it also adds an elegant touch to your holiday table.

Step 1

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Fold a square napkin into quarters to make a square.

Step 2

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Place on a flat surface with the open corners facing you. Fold up each open corner one at a time, placing each corner about one inch from the previous one. This is very similar to a Christmas tree napkin fold.

Step 3

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Fold up the bottom edge about an inch to make a fold to hold the place card.

Step 4

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Turn the napkin over and fold into thirds, tucking one corner under the other to hold.

Step 5

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Turn the napkin over and put the place card inside the bottom fold. You can also use this spot to tuck in a menu or note.


How to Fold a Napkin: Cutlery Wraps

If you’re hosting a buffet-style party, having flatware bundled together for easy grabbing is a great idea. Plus, with ribbons and twine, you can really customize the look of this napkin fold.

Step 1

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Place a set of cutlery diagonally on the napkin, leaving about a third of the napkin showing at the bottom. Fold the bottom corner over the cutlery.

Step 2

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Fold the left side of the napkin over the cutlery. Then fold the other side over and tuck the edge under.

Step 3

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Securely tie the bundle about halfway down with ribbon or twine.


How to Fold a Napkin: Letter Fold

This napkin fold makes an adorable fabric envelope. Tuck a menu, special message, party favor or dinner mint inside the pocket.

Step 1

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Start with a square napkin. Fold in half to form a large triangle.

Step 2

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Fold the bottom two corners together, having the points overlap slightly in the center.

Step 3

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Fold in the edges again having the folds meet in the center. You can see the envelope starting to come together.

Step 4

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Fold up the bottom edge of the napkin to form a pocket. Fill this pocket with a note or party favori.

Step 5

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Fold the envelope flap over and “seal.”


How to Fold a Napkin: Napkin Ring

If you have some pretty napkin rings, let them shine! This simple fold lets your favorite table accessories stand out (but this fold is pretty chic too).

Step 1

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Place a square cloth napkin wrong side up on a flat surface. Fold in the two sides (effectively folding the napkin into thirds) to make a rectangle.

Step 2

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Fold the upper left corner down to the center of the rectangle’s lower edge.

Step 3

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Fold the triangle you just made over so that it forms a square.

Step 4

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Turn the napkin over; roll two sides into the center to make a tube. Turn the napkin over so the rolled edges are underneath.

Step 5

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Slip a napkin ring over the napkin. No napkin rings? Use some ribbon and tie around the center.


How to Fold a Napkin: Flower Fold

Grab your favorite napkin rings for this super-simple fold.

Step 1

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Open a napkin flat. Hold two adjacent corners and fold the napkin in half with the corners slightly askew.

Step 2

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Take the center of the fold and pull it through a napkin ring.

Step 3

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Fluff and add to your place settings.


How to Fold a Napkin: Diagonal Fold

Show off your folding skills with a striking geometric fold. It makes even simple napkins stand out.

Step 1

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Fold a napkin into quarters form a square with the open corners facing you.

Step 2

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Pick up the top open corner and make 1-1/2 inch folds until you reach the center of the napkin.

Step 3

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Take the next layer and repeat, stopping at the fold you just made.

Step 4

After making these folds, very carefully flip over the napkin and square it up to you on your worktop.

Step 5

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Then fold the napkin into thirds with the folds forming a diagonal on the front. You can leave the fold as is or slip cutlery into the folds.

While it might take a few minutes to master your first fold, it won’t take you but a few seconds to recreate them time and time again. Small touches like these really add an extra special touch to your dinner parties and get-togethers.

Lisa Kaminski
Lisa is an associate editor at Taste of Home where she gets to embrace her passion for baking. She pours this love of all things sweet (and sometimes savory) into Bakeable, Taste of Home's baking club. At home, you'll find her working on embroidery and other crafts.