Napkin Folding

Napkin Folding

Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner! Perhaps your family is already thinking about homemade decorations. How about taking up a new project — one that’s similar to origami, but a little more practical? Try napkin folding, suitable for children of a wide range of ages.

The beauty of napkin folding is that you don’t need anything fancy to get started. Whether you use cloth or paper napkins, there are a wide variety of designs that are sure to please the whole family. Some are available online — a good way to whet your appetite.

Napkin FoldingHowever, if napkin folding proves to be a favorite in your home, The Simple Art of Napkin Folding by Linda Hetzer may be a book to consider.

94 designs range from quick and easy to ornate and complex, sometimes even requiring two napkins to complete. There are also a number of fun shapes perfect for informal occasions, like airplanes and sailboats.

Equally interesting are the notes on the history of napkins scattered throughout the book. For example:

Linen for tablecloths and napkins is made from the flax plant, which, according to the earliest records in Europe, was first cultivated in Ireland. The most famous linen was made in Reims, France, until the Hundred Years’ War, which ended in 1443, totally destroyed its linen weaving industry. Flanders then became the center of the linen weaving trade.

The Simple Art of Napkin Folding by Linda Hetzer

Four different levels of complexity provide a design for everyone. The instructions are illustrated and easy to follow. Try the basic Bow Tie, for example.

  1. Fold the napkin in half diagonally to form a triangle.
  2. Place the folded edge at the top, then, starting at the bottom point, roll up the napkin.
  3. Tie a knot in the center of the completed roll.

Napkin FoldingQuick, simple, and attractive. What better way to decorate the table this holiday season? And when it’s time to sit down to Thanksgiving dinner, those busy little helpers will be glad they contributed.


Additional Resources

Napkin Folding
From the Butler’s Guild. Follow the menu on the left to see instructions for 13 other folds.

Napkin Folding Instructions
Photo instructions with video for 24 folds.