A well-folded napkin sets the tone for a memorable dinner. While there is a discussion about whether the formal dining table is a relic of the past, every hostess understands the importance of napkins. When your guests sit down at the table, they complete the motif in the place setting while also serving a functional purpose (tucking in utensils and displaying menu cards).
Napkins may be tailored to fit any occasion, at any time of year. One of the simplest ideas is to wrap a napkin into a stylish bow tie. Fold your napkin into an envelope and stuff it with anything you want: a place card, the menu, or a parting gift to keep when the event is done. Take into account seasonal holidays as well. Place a floppy-eared bunny amid the painted eggs and spring flowers for Easter breakfast. Recreate the feast's symbol: a turkey, by accordion-folding and fanning out one napkin into a stately-looking row of tail feathers. Fold a miniature Tannenbaum with a green linen napkin and a paper-punched star that spells out your guest's name on Christmas Eve. They may also be customized with embroidered calligraphy to create a legacy for future family reunions. It's a good idea to starch and iron your napkins before folding them; this will help them keep their form.
We've got step-by-step instructions on a dozen different methods to spruce up simple napkins to fold to help you with these and other ideas.
1. Napkin Bow Tie Fold
A beautiful bow adds a touch of whimsy to the table. To create it, lay a dinner napkin flat on the table. Fold the opposing edges in to meet in the middle. Fold the middle horizontally again to create a thin, ribbon-like shape. Fold the short ends in to meet in the middle. Glue in the back and cinch in the center with a ribbon in a coordinating color. Voila!
2. Angled Pocket Napkins
It's as simple as one, two, and three! To make an attractive angled pocket, start with a square dinner napkin and fold it three times. It's ideal for storing flatware, place cards, and printed menus.
3. Wrapped Napkin
You're done when you fold a napkin in thirds, wrap it around the dish, and tuck the ends under. Combine an unfussy ring with a floral accent, such as a fake or dried branch spray-painted gold.
4. Fold a four-leaf clover napkin
Green isn't only for leprechauns and shamrocks. Fold these four-leaf clover napkins for your lavish feast.
5. Easter Bunny Napkins
Some magicians conjure bunnies from the linen closet, while others extract them from hats. With a little sleight of hand (and our how-to), you can conjure up a beautiful Easter tablescape that will make your visitors feel extra special. Fold a napkin in thirds first. Then, to make a paper aircraft, fold the bottom corners up to meet in the middle. Turn the napkin over so the seam is facing the table. To meet in the middle, fold in the outside borders. Place an egg on the pointed tip, knot ribbon "ears" above it, and nestle the egg in place.
6. Carrot Napkins
Crepe-paper leaves grow from napkins folded to mimic purple carrots at Martha's Easter brunch table. Fold a square napkin in half, then in half again to make a smaller square to replicate the appearance. Make a thin cone out of the napkin and tuck the edges in. Cut out leaf forms from green crepe paper using our pattern. They should be rolled and tucked into the open end.
7. Turkey Napkins
From the minute your guests sit at the table, this triple-napkin bird with a fanning tail makes a strong statement for a Thanksgiving feast.
8. Napkins into a Christmas Tree
With a tabletop Tannenbaum, you can make your Christmas table festive. This one has upturned folds that look like evergreen boughs and a star "topper" that doubles as a place card.
9. Dinner Roll Napkins
Some Christmas gatherings need the use of every single serving dish you own—and then some. Use a big rectangular cloth napkin or dishtowel, ideally starched linen, to make a bread basket (the stiffer the fabric, the better it will hold its shape). Place the fabric on a table horizontally. Fold the longer side up to a little over halfway. Fold the upper half down in the same manner, leaving an inch of overlap between the two sides. Fold the shorter sides in to meet on the other side. Pin in place for further security. Place rolls or a split loaf into the opening after flipping it over.
10. Envelope Napkins
This design is simple but elegant, and it's ideal for sealing a printed menu, a party treat, or... who knows? It's all up to you. Your visitors will be delighted with a concealed surprise when they lift the flap sealed with a wax seal displaying the family initially. Fold a square napkin into a triangle, tuck in both pointed ends twice, then tuck in the top flap to make an envelope.