Ellen Invents a New Napkin Folding Idea

new napkin folding idea

Try this simple napkin folding technique for a put-together look at your Thanksgiving table.

I like to use cloth napkins whenever I set the table, but especially for the holidays. Whenever I see a print or fabric I like, I grab six napkins and stash them away. (You can also pick favorite fabrics and sew your own dinner napkins.) The best part of napkins (aside from the sustainable, zero waste aspect)? Napkin folding. There are so many new napkin folding ideas to dress up your table — and I’m not talking about the cheesy fan fold you used to see in “fancy” restaurants back in the late 1980s. (Although I will admit that as a kid, I thought that was just about the height of sophistication. Yikes.)

For my Thanksgiving table, I’m keeping everything very simple, with a mix of modern and rustic accents. I had some napkins from a previous project that were a great orange color, so I grabbed them and then did some research on napkin folding. Did you know there are entire websites for butlers? There are, and they are AWESOME. One site I found actually had a demo of a napkin fold that resulted in a cross between an origami swan and the cheesy 80s fold put together, which resulted in — you guessed it — a turkey napkin. Unfortunately, that fold required two napkins per table setting, so I had to nix that idea.

One of the napkin folds I sort of liked was the “ice cream cone.” I like how it makes a tidy little package of your silverware, so that you can either place it on each plate or have them pre-bundled on a buffet table. (Did you click the link? SEE? The BUTLER’S GUILD. How fantastic is that?) But I wasn’t 100% sold on the ice cream cone fold, so I followed the directions once, and then started playing with it. Here’s what I came up with for the table my family will see on Thanksgiving. It’s pretty similar but just a bit modified for a napkin fold that’s more rectangular than cone shaped.

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Step 1

 Open Gallerynew napkin folding ideaStart with a square cloth napkin.

Step 2

 Open Gallerynew napkin folding ideaFold in half once.

Step 3

 Open Gallerynew napkin folding ideaNow fold in half again, the opposite way, to create a square a quarter of the size of your original napkin.

Step 4

 Open Gallerynew napkin folding ideaFlip the napkin around so that folded edges are at the bottom, with the loose edges at the top. Fold down the top loose corner to the bottom folded corner.

Step 5

 Open Gallerynew napkin folding ideaFold down the next loose corner the same way, but stagger it an inch higher than the first one you just folded down.

Step 6

 Open Gallerynew napkin folding ideaAgain, fold down a loose corner, stagger it an inch higher.

Step 7

 Open Gallerynew napkin folding ideaNow carefully flip the whole thing over. Fold over the right corner towards the left corner. With my napkin size, I folded my corner just beyond the center mark. Press down gently to crease.

Step 8

 Open Gallerynew napkin folding ideaNow fold the left corner towards your right, pulling it as far towards or past the centerline as you did in Step 7. Again press gently to crease.

Step 9

 Open Gallerynew napkin folding ideaFlip back over and slide your silverware into the pouch made by the three folded layers. Tah-dah! Neat, pretty, with a quasi chevron pattern. I’m sure a butler somewhere has been doing this exact thing for years, but it’s new to me. By next Thanksgiving, I will have stockpiled enough napkins to conquer the folded napkin turkey, but for now, this will have to suffice.

About Ellen Foord 

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As the founder, designer, and one-woman workforce behind Minnow + Co, a tight budget has never stopped this DIY-girl-at-heart from creating a beautiful, modern, creative home and treating every ...

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2 Responses

  1. hehe I love this, My next dinner party i will be tucking my flatware into these little napkin treats :) p.s cloth napkins it MUST be

  2. Danielle says:

    love your humor…looking forward to seeing the turkey next year…good luck and keep up that great spirit ….its contagious you know….:)

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