Whether you're celebrating a special occasion or having a casual Sunday night supper, a beautifully set table helps create a warm and inviting ambiance. Cloth napkins are not just practical, they're also a nice decorative accent and a great way to add a pop of color and pattern, or enhance a theme. When it comes to folding them, there are countless creative ways; some are best suited for relaxed meals while others work well for more formal dining events.
Here are four different ways to fold cloth napkins so you can make your next table setting extra special.
The Diagonal Pocket Fold
This classic napkin fold makes for an elegant touch and provides a spot for you to insert silverware, a sprig of fresh herbs or a flower stem.
Fold in Half
Place the napkin on a flat surface face side down. Grab the top two corners and bring them over to the bottom two corners, folding the napkin in half. You should now have a horizontal rectangle.
Fold in Half and Pull Corner Down
Fold it over in half again so you now have a square. Take the corner of the top napkin layer (from the corner that has the four open napkin corners) and bring it over to the corner diagonally opposite it.
Flip, Fold, and Flip
Flip it over, fold it in half from left to right, then flip it over again. What you'll end up with is a diagonal pocket on the bottom half of the napkin that you can use to hold various practical or decorative accents.
The Casual Napkin Ring Fold
If you want to add an extra decorative layer to your napkin, add a napkin ring. They come in various colors, finishes and textures, and you can attach a name tag or insert a flower spring for a festive touch. This is an incredibly quick and easy fold that works for both a relaxed and a slightly dressier table, and looks especially nice when linen napkins are used.
Pinch and Lift the Napkin
Take your cloth napkin and place it on a flat surface face side up. Pinch the center of the napkin gently and hold it up.
Slide Through the Ring and Fluff
Still holding onto it, feed it through the napkin ring, so that the ring is about halfway down the napkin. Fluff both ends of the napkin so they look nice and full before placing it on or next to a plate.
The Fan Fold
For a more formal table, consider folding your cloth napkins into a fan. Napkins from a stiffer material that are nicely pressed will work best with this method as they'll hold the fan shape better.
Fold in Half
Take your napkin and place it face side down on a flat surface. Grab the top two corners and bring them down to the bottom two corners, folding the napkin in half. You will have a horizontal rectangle shape.
Do an Accordion Fold
Next, starting at one of the shorter ends, begin to do an accordion fold, about an inch to two inches wide. Continue folding the napkin until you are about two folds' worth away from the other short end.
Fold in Half
Grab the folded napkin, holding the accordion side with your left hand and the non-folded side with your right. Fold the entire napkin in half over your left hand, then lay it down on a flat surface positioning the accordion portion on top.
Fold Corner Up
Grab the bottom left corner of the napkin (that's the unfolded corners) and fold it up diagonally, tucking it inside the folded accordion corner. Press it down so you have a nice, neat fold. You should end up with a triangle shaped overhang.
Turn Over and Unfold
Turn the napkin over so the triangle shape is on the bottom and the folded accordion ends are at the top, then unfold the fan and spread out the folds so they are even.
Roll a napkin into a cylinder shape and add a napkin ring or tie it with some twine or ribbon, depending on how formal or casual the meal you are serving is.
Place the napkin face side down on a flat surface. Take the top and bottom right corners and bring them over to the top and bottom left corners, so you end up with a vertical rectangle.
Roll and Add a Ring
Starting on the side with the fold, gently and loosely begin to roll the napkin jelly roll style to make a cylinder shape. Feed it through a napkin ring (in which case you will want to adjust it once the ring is on) or tie it with a piece of ribbon so that it stays rolled.