3 Simple Ways to Fold Napkins

A woman folding a napkin

The Spruce

You don’t have to drain your bank account or spend an entire weekend working on floral arrangements to dress up your tablescape. There’s a much simpler way of beautifying your guests’ place settings: napkin folding. Rather than investing in multiple sets of dishes or tons of table accessories, napkin folds can help make things look fresh every time you set the table. It's a really simple way to inspire awe in your dinner guests.

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3 Fancy Napkin Folds That Are Easy to Learn!

While some of these napkin folds look really tricky, the truth is, it's not that hard. After a few tries (and a little bit of spray starch) you’ll have it down pat. From personal experience, our team found it’s actually helpful to make some mistakes—these mistakes can help you memorize and master the correct folds.

How to Fold a Rose

This pretty flower fold is perfect for baby showers, bridal showers, and spring brunches. We love the idea of using a variety of differently colored napkins to personalize the table setting for each attendee.

Napkin folded into a rose on plate
The Spruce
  1. Fold Your Napkin Into a Triangle

    Take your napkin and fold one corner diagonally to another to form a triangle.

  2. Roll Up

    The corner of the triangle where both corners meet should be at the top. The bottom of the triangle should be closest to you. Begin rolling the bottom of the napkin towards the top. Keep your rolling fairly tight and flatten out the napkin with your fingers after every roll. Stop about two inches from the top.

  3. Turn and Roll

    Take the right side of your napkin roll and rotate it counterclockwise so it is now at the top and the point of the triangle is pointing towards the left. Then, starting from the bottom, begin rolling it up—it will look a bit like a wheel.

  4. Flip and Tuck the End

    Once you've rolled to the top, flip the napkin roll on its side so the spiral is facing you. Tuck the last little bit of the napkin into the bottom of the napkin roll.

  5. Pull Out the Petals

    Place the napkin spiral side down. There should be two sections of the napkin sprouting out from the center of your roll. Pull those up and out until they look like petals or leaves.

  6. Flip and Style

    Flip your napkin over so the spiral is at the top and the "petals" are at the bottom. Place a napkin rose at each place setting.

How to Fold an Elf Boot

Any winter holiday celebration could use these adorable folded napkins. The shape of the elf boot is nostalgic and playful, not to mention it looks intricate and will delight and impress your guests (big and small!).

Elf boot napkin
The Spruce
  1. Fold Your Napkin in Quarters

    Take the top two corners of the napkin and fold it in half towards yourself. Then take the top of your napkin, and fold it in half once more.

  2. Fold Sides in and Down

    Place one finger on the center of your napkin, then with your other hand grab one side of the napkin and fold it in and down towards you. It should make a triangular/trapezoidal shape. Repeat this on the other side and you should have a napkin with five sides that looks like a house.

  3. Fold Sides in Again

    This will feel a lot like making a paper airplane. Fold each side in; the napkin will be in the shape of a triangle or an evergreen tree.

  4. Fold the Right Side Into the Left Side

    Take the right side of your napkin and fold it into the left. You are basically folding the triangle in half once more. Within your narrower triangle, you will note a distinct line that forms a triangle within a triangle (this will become the tow of your elf boot).

  5. Flip the Napkin Triangle Over and Lift Corner

    Flip the napkin over so that the two open sides are at the base and right of your triangle, while the diagonal along the top has no opening. Now grab the bottom right corner of the top bottom right flap (leave the bottom flap beneath right where it is for now) towards the upper left . (This is a tricky step so refer to minute 1:35 in the video above for exact instructions!)

  6. Fold and Tuck

    Grab the newly exposed bottom flap from the right corner and fold it across towards the left so you can tuck the fabric into the middle "toe" slot. (Another tricky step—refer to minute 1:40 of the video above for exact instructions!)

  7. Stand the Boot up and Create Your Ankle Flap

    Stand the boot upright. Then take the fabric sticking straight up and invert it so that it encircles the ankle area of your bootie. Now place your elf boot napkin atop a plate on your beautiful holiday tablescape!

How to Fold a Christmas Tree

To sprinkle in some holiday cheer, dress your table up with these fun tree napkins. The folds are simple, but produce a pretty effect reminiscent of the evergreen boughs we love to decorate during the holidays.

Tip

To get crisp edges and to ensure your napkin stands on its own, we recommend ironing each napkin and spraying liberally with starch before you begin folding.

Christmas tree napkin
The Spruce
  1. Fold the Napkin in Two Quarters

    Take two corners of the napkin, fold it towards you, and match it up with the other two corners. Then take the left side of the napkin and fold it in half over towards the right. You should now have a square shape, with open ends on the bottom and right-hand side of the napkin.

  2. Pull the Open End Up

    Rotate the napkin clockwise so the bottom right corner is now closest to you, resembling a diamond shape. The open ends of the napkin are on the either side of the bottom point of the diamond. Take the top napkin flap, and pull up on the first layer and fold it back towards the top point of the napkin.

  3. Repeat With the Other Layers

    Take each layer of the napkin and repeat step two. Pull up on the flap and fold it back towards the top of the napkin.

  4. Flip the Napkin Over

    Turn the entire napkin over so the flaps you've just folded are facing down on your surface. This side of your napkin should be smooth and have no folds in it. Rotate the napkin so that the center point of napkin is facing you.

  5. Fold the Sides In

    With the flaps still facing your work surface, take one side of the napkin and fold it towards the center. Repeat with the other side, overlaping your previous fold. This should turn the napkin into a diamond shape.

  6. Flip and Fold

    Flip the napkin back over to where all the flaps are; they should all be pointing down towards you. Starting at the top, take each flap and fold it up and away from you. Then tuck each flap into the piece above it.

  7. Stand and Style

    Stand your tree upright and place a napkin at each of your guests' seats!