How to Fold Napkins Easy & Simple

Susie Robb Brinck
by Susie Robb Brinck
10 Minutes

Learn how to fold napkins easily with these simple tips.

Whether you are setting a formal or casual table, cloth napkins are a necessity at the dinner table. Plus, they add a beautiful touch to each guest’s place setting.

Technically, you place the napkin to the left of the forks when setting a table. However, you can place the napkin on the plate. I believe as long as you know the rules, you can break them! Therefore, here are a few simple ways to creatively display and fold napkins easily.

How to Fold Napkins Easy + Simple

Napkin Rings

Silver napkin rings originated in France in the early 1800’s and were engraved with either numbers or family members’ names. Consequently, this allowed each person to use the same napkin for days at a time before washing.

Today, napkin rings add more of a decorative touch to the table. For instance, they come in a variety of materials which can enhance the table styling.

In addition, you can easily make your own. For example, hot glue a faux flower to inexpensive rings or use pretty ribbon and sprigs of greenery. Lastly, think outside the box! Repurpose round sea shells, cookie cutters, or mini grapevine wreaths into napkin rings.

  1. Lay the napkin flat on the table. Pinch the center of the napkin.
  2. Pull through the center of the napkin ring and place on the plate.

Napkin in Glass

While technically not a fold, this is a simple way to present napkins on a casually styled table. It’s easy to pull out to place on the lap, as guests sit down at the table.

  1. Lay the napkin flat on the table. Then, pinch the center of the napkin and pull up.
  2. Place the folded center of the napkin into the glass and fan out the ends.

Simple Quarter-Fold or Tri-Fold

With this simple quarter fold, you can leave the napkin long to place between between serving dishes at each place setting. Or, fold in half and lay to the left of the dinner plate to display silverware. Similarly, a tri-fold is folded with each side 2/3rds of the way in. See how I did a tri-fold on this Summer bar tablescape or layered between dishes & a plate charger on this Fall tablescape.

  1. First, lay the napkin flat on the table.
  2. Fold both sides halfway toward the center of the napkin. (pic 2 and 3)
  3. Lastly, fold in half, again, lengthwise.
Lay flat.
Fold one half to center.
Fold other half to center.
Fold in half again.

Accordion Fold

The accordion fold works beautifully on a formal table setting. It resembles a palm leaf.

  1. Fold napkin into triangle by pulling opposite corners together. Repeat.
  2. Next, accordion fold one inch sections from each end of the triangle to the center. Pinch in the center to hold.
  3. Lastly, use an elastic style napkin ring to hold the pinched fold in place. Fan out the opposite end.
Fold into triangle.
Repeat triangle fold.
Accordion fold.
Secure end with elastic napkin ring. Fan out.

Double Roll

This double roll technique looks great with two toned napkins. For example, we are using our frayed edge linen napkins featured in our Summer Decor Box. Simply, place next to the forks or on the plate.

  1. First, lay the napkin flat. Then, pull four corners into the center of the napkin.
  2. Fold two opposing corners to the center.
  3. From the triangular top, tightly roll the napkin to the opposite end.
Pull corners to center.
Fold opposite corners.
Roll top down.

Envelope Fold

This is a unique fold that resembles an envelope. Depending on the occasion or holiday, you can add a fun detail, like a paper heart or flower to ‘seal’ it. In addition, you can leave the ‘envelope’ open to place a dinner menu, silverware or personalized place cards.

  1. First, fold the napkin in half diagonally.
  2. Near the base of the triangle, fold the opposite corners toward the center.
  3. Then, fold the same sides again to meet in center.
  4. Now, fold the bottom half upwards.
  5. Lastly, fold the top of the triangle down to look like an envelope.
Fold in half.
Pull corners in.
Fold corners in.
Fold up.
Fold down.

Simple Pocket Fold

There are many ways to make a pocket fold. However, this imitation pocket fold is the simplest to do. This works best with starched cloth napkins.

  1. Fold a napkin into a square by folding in half two times.
  2. Place silverware in the center of the folded napkin.
  3. Fold one side toward the center covering the silverware. Run palm of hand along folded seam to crease.
  4. Fold the other side over to form a cone shape. Crease fold to hold in place.

More Thanksgiving Table Decor Ideas

Explore additional DIY table decoration inspiration in our Thanksgiving table decor guide.

In conclusion, I hope you learned how to fold napkins easily and beautifully for your next gathering. But first, be sure to follow us on Pinterest and Instagram for more design and styling tips!


Susie Robb Brinck
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
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