3 Modern Napkin-Folding Techniques Everyone Should Know

3 Modern Napkin-Folding Techniques Everyone Should Know

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Erin Phraner
Feb 10, 2016
(Image credit: Erin Phraner)

I know — how can we possibly talk about napkin folding when you're still using paper napkins at the table? Disposable may cut it for everyday dining, but if you're setting out paper napkins when guests come over, cute design or not, it's time for an upgrade.

First you'll need to get yourself a set of 100 percent cotton napkins, or make them yourself. You don't even have to spend a lot! Most home stores have a least a few options on sale.

Then you'll need to learn how to use them. Stick with a basic rectangle if that's your absolute limit, or try one of these easy folding techniques for your most stylish setting yet!

Heart Napkin

Fold these heart-shaped napkins on Valentine's Day, or any day you want to say I love you — just because.

(Image credit: Erin Phraner)
  1. Fold a square napkin in half diagonally, bringing one corner to another, to create a triangle.
  2. Fold the right corner of the triangle up to meet the center point of the triangle.
  3. Repeat with the left corner of the triangle, creating a diamond shape.
  4. Fold down the top right corner of the diamond, top layer only, tucking it underneath.
  5. Repeat with the top-left corner of the diamond, creating a heart shape on the top layer with the bottom layer still as a diamond.
  6. Flip over the napkin with the heart on the bottom with its pointed bottom facing away from you. The diamond layer is now on top.
  7. Fold up the bottom point of the diamond to create a triangle.
  8. Flip over to reveal the heart.

Basket Napkin

This napkin shape is great for when you have something to tuck inside, like homemade pretzels!

(Image credit: Erin Phraner)
  1. Fold a square napkin in half diagonally, bringing one corner to another, to create a triangle.
  2. Fold up the base of the triangle 3 to 4 inches (this will be the height of your basket).
  3. Flip the whole napkin over with the tip of the top triangle pointing toward you.
  4. Fold the napkin (almost) in half so it looks like a small right-angle triangle with two pieces of overhang.
  5. Fold the overhang over the triangle in the opposite direction; tuck in the flap.
  6. Fold down the top of the napkin.
  7. Stand up and fill with rolls, soft pretzels, or anything else you'd like!

Double Diamond Napkin

If you're using a patterned napkin, play around with the first fold to reveal different parts of the pattern on the final product. I tried it here a few ways — different parts of the pattern will be visible depending on how you start!

(Image credit: Erin Phraner)
  1. Fold a square napkin in half diagonally, bringing one corner to another, to create a triangle.
  2. Fold the right corner of the triangle up to meet the center point of the triangle.
  3. Repeat with the left corner of the triangle, creating a diamond shape.
  4. Flip over the napkin.
  5. Fold up the bottom point of the diamond.
  6. Tuck the left corner of the diamond underneath the napkin.
  7. Repeat with the right corner of the diamond.
  8. Arrange at your place setting either with the diamonds pointing to the top or to the bottom of the plate.
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