An important part of a restaurant success comes from paying special attention to the details. Those small finishing touches can make a big difference like for example: napkin folding. So why not start the year with a new style?

A perfectly set table is a small masterpiece. And a beautifully folded napkin adds an elegant finishing touch to a dining table. Napkin folding is also a perfect way to dress up your table without much extra cost!

Cloth napkins make your guests feel that the meal is an event filled with moments worth savouring. Intricately folded napkins on the empty dinner plates or in water goblets add beauty and a formal polish to the table.

There are a number of different napkin folding options, and here’s a pleasant surprise, they are actually a lot easier to fold than you may think. Here are 11 napkin folds and instructions on how to create them.


Opera House Fan

  1. Fold napkin in half.
  2. Fold the bottom edge of the halved napkin up about one inch and hold in place.
  3. Fold it back under the napkin in the opposite direction another inch. Continue this pattern until you are within four inches of the top of the napkin, finish with the last fold down away from you rather than up.
  4. Fold accordion pleats in half down the centre with folds facing the outside. A four-inch flat portion of the napkin now sticks out from the center of your folds.
  5. Fold accordion in half with folds on outside; four inch flat will protrude from the center.
  6. Fold the unfolded corners diagonally and tuck them under the accordion folds then open the fan and stand it up.


Bird of Paradise

  1. Fold the napkin in quarters with the four edges toward you.
  2. Fold the edges up to form a triangle.
  3. Fold the left and right points of the triangle to the center and then fold the extended points under.
  4. Lift the center and hold the base – pull the four napkin edges out of the center to create the bloom.



  1. Fold all four corners of a flat napkin into the center: then fold four points again to the center.
  2. Turn the napkin over and fold four points again to the center pressing all folds tightly.
  3. Turn napkin to form a diamond. Using one hand to hold two points at front center of the napkin and with the other hand reach under that point and pull up flap.
  4. Repeat at three other points.
  5. Holding center points, reach between petals and pull out additional flaps.


Cardinal Hat

  1. Fold the napkin in diagonally forming a triangle.
  2. Fold the left and right hand corners of the triangle to the top.
  3. Turn the napkin over so that no folds are visible.
  4. Fold up the bottom tip of the triangle and fold in half.
  5. Fold the right side over the left making a circle.
  6. Tuck one end of the triangle into the other.
  7. Place the Cardinal Hat in an upright position and flare out points slightly.


Goblet Fan

  1. Fold napkin in half with the edges at the bottom.
  2. Accordion pleat form right to left.
  3. Fold the bottom third up.
  4. Insert into goblet and spread pleat to form fan.


French Pleat

  1. Fold napkin in quarters.
  2. Roll the first layer of the napkin toward you to the center.
  3. Fold the second layer toward you and under the first – Do not Roll.
  4. Leave the same width of the napkin as the rolled edge.
  5. Fold the next layer of the napkin away from you and under the second leaving the same width as other two folds.
  6. Fold under the right and left side edges to center back.



  1. Fold tall four corners of a flat napkin to the center.
  2. Fold the bottom half under the top half.
  3. Fold the right half over the left half.
  4. Turn the napkin clockwise to create a diamond.
  5. Roll the top layer toward center forming a band.
  6. Turn the second layer under to form a second band.
  7. Fold the left and right hand edges under.


When it comes to the art of napkin folding, remember that each napkin fold will suit different themes and styles. For best results use square napkins when creating napkin folds. Well-starched napkins form the cleanest folds.

Whether it’s a formal sit-down dinner, an everyday family meal, or a festive party buffet, artfully folded napkins add stylish flair and enhance any occasion. No matter how simply or intricately done, elegant and creative napkin folds transform meals into celebrations.

Napkin folding is an art that is easy to master. These simple folds will enhance your table and delight your guests.


Marketing Director for Simply Elegant