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Napkin Folding ~ tips and tricks

Any table can be transformed into a festive one with the delightful touch of folded napkins.  This can be one of the simplest and least expensive ways of decorating your table...and most folded napkins work equally well with paper or cloth.  And the good news is that this can be done well in advance of any event.

There are many ways to fold a napkin...most of which I have never learned.  There is one way, however...that I can pretty much do in my sleep. Weddings, banquets and dinners...I have folded hundreds of napkins this way. The finished napkin looks rather like a crown... the ones you see on this table.  Since I have people asking me from time to time how this is actually done...I will attempt to show you.

  1. Fold napkin in half to form a rectangle.
  2. Fold top right corner down to bottom edge.
  3. Fold bottom left corner up to top edge.
  4. Turn napkin over.
  5. Fold bottom edge up to top triangle will extend below bottom edge.
  6. Fold napkin along the top edge as you turn it over...a second triangle will fall free.
  7. Fold right quarter toward the centre, tucking the point under the long fold.  
  8. The napkin will look like illustrated in #8.
  9. Turn napkin over.  Fold right quarter toward the centre and tuck in the point.
At this point, you have a flat hat with twin peaks...which can be stored like this until ready to use. To place on table, open up from the bottom to complete your 'bishop's hat'.  If it all looks Greek to you...check out this tutorial that I found on-line...which explains it much better than I could.  Pull out a few napkins and follow'll soon be a pro.

* * * * *
Another fairly simple napkin fold is 'the fan'. These I learned to do very recently...after a lesson by the galley crew on a cruise we were on not long ago.

  1. Fold napkin in half.
  2. Starting bottom, accordion pleat 2/3 way up.
  3. Fold in half with pleating on the outside.
  4. Fold upper right corner diagonally down to folded base of pleats and turn under edge.
  5. Place on table and release pleats to form fan.
* * * * *
And last (but not least)...a simple one-pocket napkin.

This works great for a buffet service...with the cutlery already tucked into a napkin.

  1. Fold the napkin in half to form a rectangle.
  2. Place folded edge at the bottom.
  3. Bring top edge of the first layer to the bottom.
  4. Turn the napkin over...and bring left edge to centre. 
  5. Fold this section over on itself two more times in the same direction.
Tuck the cutlery (or I would say if I were American) into the pocket...and place on the buffet table.  This method works best with a large napkin...and one that is printed on both sides.

And that, my friends, is your napkin folding lesson for today.  Have a fun weekend!


  1. Thanks for the napkin folding tutorial, Judy. I really love that last plate, the one with the filigree carving. So beautiful. Where did you get it because I would buy it if I can.

    1. The plate in the last photo is from a set called Cream Lace by Skye discontinued but still available on-line.

    2. do you know any information on Skye Mcghie cream lace and where to find it?

  2. Perfect, Judy ! thank you !! my fav ... the triple pocket one

  3. I love folding napkins...gonna give these a whirl!

  4. Thanks for this fun tutorial Judy! I love folding napkins for the occasion and these are all so lovely. Mother's Day napkin - in a Tea Cup with Pearls? Happy Mom's Day to you!!!!

  5. wow this is great & interesting blog Thank you for the tips. This is fun :) personal chef in austin tx


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