How to Pocket-Fold a Dinner Napkin

Creating a quick napkin pocket-fold for your silverware is one of the simplest ways to dress up a dinner table. The technique is easy to learn and you will pick it up in no time. Guests will want to know your secret (which could even make napkin folding a great conversation starter during dinner).

The pocket fold method described below is one of the most popular and easy ways to add this bit of table-setting flair to your next gathering. It is considered a more casual napkin fold, so it will work best for informal lunches or dinners. It is designed to work with square (not rectangular) napkins. Follow these six simple steps to creating your own pocket-fold for your next gathering.


This folding technique works best with cotton or linen dinner napkins. For best results, spray your napkins with starch and iron well before folding.

What You'll Need


  • Cloth napkin
  • Set of silverware
  • Clothes iron or steamer
  • Spray starch (optional)


  1. Steam or Iron

    A first step that is often overlooked is ironing or steaming the napkins you intend to use with the table setting. If you're going through the trouble of using a special fold to present your napkins, make sure that the napkins themselves are wrinkle-free. A quick steam or warm iron will get the job done.

  2. Fold in Half Vertically

    The first step is to fold your napkin in a half from right to left. Initially lay the entire napkin on a flat surface and then proceed to fold in half vertically. Make sure the corners are aligned before moving to the next step.

  3. Fold Bottom Half Up

    Next, take hold of the very bottom of the napkin and bring it up to where the bottom edge lays a bit more than the midpoint of the napkin. Then, find the new bottom and fold it up so it reaches the same line. 

  4. Flip, Fold, and Tuck

    Now, flip the napkin over and smooth it out a touch. Fold over the napkin's left side to meet the new center of your napkin. This will create a small pouch on the lower half of the fold. Take the other side of your napkin, fold it back, and tuck it into that pouch. Smooth out your work and flip over for the next step.

  5. Insert Silverware

    Flip the folded napkin back open and give those utensils a place to call home. Arrange the knife, fork, and spoon in your pocket-fold pouch, then step back and enjoy your spruced-up table setting!

  6. Place Your Napkin/Silverware Combo

    Typically, forks go to the left of your dinner plates, while knives and spoons go to the right. Because you'll be putting all your silverware in your napkin pocket, you might want to simply place it in the center of the plate. This is also a great way to save space if you have a crowded table.


There's no reason to wait until your event to get your napkins ready. You can fold them in advance, store them neatly in drawer, and take them out when you're ready to set the table.

Smoothed out napkin ready for folding
The Spruce / Nicole Steriovski
Steam the napkin
The Spruce / Nicole Steriovski
Fold Napkin in Half
The Spruce / Nicole Steriovski
Fold Bottom Half Up
The Spruce / Nicole Steriovski
Flip and Fold
The Spruce / Nicole Steriovski
Create a Pouch in the napkin
The Spruce / Nicole Steriovski
A Simple Pocket-Fold
The Spruce / Nicole Steriovski

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