Different Table Napkin Folds

By Benna Crawford

Impress your guests with simple folded napkins that look a lot more elaborate and complicated than they really are. It's the thought that counts -- and those good cloth napkins you were saving for the right occasion.

Basic Candle

This fold is so simple you can have your kids do it. Fold a cloth napkin into a triangle. Start at one end and roll it up into a slender column, about the size and shape of a candle. Deposit it in a clean water glass and set a candle-in-glass to one side of each place setting.

Silverware Pocket

Open a pressed napkin and fold it exactly in half, then fold it in half one more time, so it becomes a square. Grasp the edge of the top layer and turn it down about 1/3 and turn the napkin over. Fold the sides toward the middle so they just meet, and you can tuck the edge of one side into the folded-down section of the other. Turn the napkin over again, set it on the charger, and slip the silverware into the pocket.

French Fold

Open a napkin flat and fold it corner-to-corner diagonally, so the fold is on your left. Fold the top corner toward you so this second point ends up a few inches to the right of the lowest point. Take the remaining right point and fold it down and toward you so the pivot-point or the place where all the folds originate is one point on the fold to your left. Lay a French-folded napkin on each plate with the three points toward the diner.

Easter Bunny

Be the queen of spring origami and spend the night before your Easter brunch making stand-up bunny ears.

  1. Fold an open napkin in half and in half again to make a skinny rectangle. 
  2. Put one finger dead center and fold the napkin in on each side to make a point at your finger. 
  3. Fold each of the long sides up toward the center to create a diamond. 
  4. Fold the side corners up from the bottom so they meet in the center to make an ice cream cone. 
  5. Turn the napkin over and fold the tip of the ice cream cone toward the middle -- the tip should be about 1 inch past the center of the napkin. 
  6. Turn the napkin over again. 
  7. Roll the left side over past the napkin center and do the same on the right side, tucking the edge of the right side into the pocket you created on the left side. 
  8. Now it's a bunny. Stand the napkin up, pouffing out the base so it balances.  
  9. Separate the ears and fluff them out a bit so the bunny's ears are open. 
  10. Done. Go color some hard-boiled eggs. 

Fleur-de-Lis Fold

Lay an open napkin face-down and fold it in half diagonally so the point is closest to you. Fold that point up so its tip extends about an inch past the folded side. Accordion-pleat the napkin carefully from left to right, keeping a firm grip on the base. Push the pleated base into a clear water goblet, and spread out the "flower petals" sideways to form the fleur-de-lys. Place a water goblet with the folded napkin at each place. Guests put the napkins in their laps, and the goblets are then used for water.

About the Author

Benna Crawford has been a journalist and New York-based writer since 1997. Her work has appeared in USA Today, the San Francisco Chronicle, The New York Times, and in professional journals and trade publications. Crawford has a degree in theater, is a certified Prana Yoga instructor, and writes about fitness, performing and decorative arts, culture, sports, business and education .