Design Soup | Impress Your Family with Napkin Folding 101

Last week you learned how to set the perfect Thanksgiving table.  This week it's all about the details and how to impress your Thanksgiving guests with creative napkin folding 101! You can create the wonderful folds shown here using paper napkins as well, but for today we will focus on how to fold a formal cloth napkin for your holiday dinner guests. First off let's start with a little history. . .luv-a my history!  Did you know that cloth napkins first made their appearance sometime around the Renaissance?  Back then the napkin was more like the size of a table cloth that everyone used at the table while dining.  Over time the communal cloth (yuk! and not a pleasant visual I might add) was replaced with individual sized cloths we use today.  Who knew!?

With the evolution of the napkin also came etiquette rules and protocols, some you should be familiar with.

  • After you have been seated. Wait for your host to pick up and unfold the napkin before you do the same with yours.
  • Remove the napkin from your place setting, gently unfold it, you are not flagging cars in at the Daytona, and place it across your lap to protect your lap from spills.
  • If the napkin is larger than your lap, fold it so it just covers your lap.
  • Use the napkin to dab (a gentle touch or stroke) your mouth.
  • DO NOT blow your nose with your napkin! Gross, gross, gross! Who does that?! Please excuse yourself from the table to take care of your runny nose in private!!!
  • If you need to leave the table during the meal, place the napkin loosely folded on the table to the left of your plate, never on the seat for the simple reason if the napkin were soiled it could damage someone's clothing or your host's seat covering.
  • When you are done dining. . .again, place the loosely folded napkin to the left of your plate, never on the plate.

Now for the fun stuff . . .Napkin folding 101 from basic to complex.  I found this great website for step-by-step instructions on how to fold formal cloth napkins.  Check out for more complete "how to" directions!

Basic Napkin Ring Stuffer by

Bishops Hat Fold by

If you are a little more ambitious, try one of our favorite napkin folds found at the Turkey Centerpiece!

Although this creation will involve 3 napkins, aluminum foil and some is an adorable display for any Thanksgiving table!

turkey napkin how to

We also enjoyed reading the post by showcasing some really fun napkin folds you can do in minutes. . .Check them out!

Next week we will be serving up "The Perfect Wine for Your Holiday Dinner".  Our friend Adam Japko of WineZag will be sharing with us his favorite Thanksgiving dinner wine selections! (more about Adam)

Send us your creative Thanksgiving napkin photos, we would love to see them.  Be sure to follow us on Pinterest for more fun and creative ideas!

Have a design dilemma?  Email us your questions, we would love to help...

Go fold something!

Corinne Gail

*We do not receive compensation for products or services mentioned in this article.