Step by Step Napkin / Serviette Folding

"This is a simple but desceptively easy way to fold napkins or serviettes. The result looks dramatic and classy. It works well with both paper and cloth, but care is needed when pulling up the points in the final step if using paper ones so that you don't tear the paper. (after practice on one or two this won't be a problem). I have included step by step photographs to illustrate and suppliment my written directions. If using paper napkins that come already folded in half and then in half again, skip directly to step 3 to start. The instructions will look a little long but that's only becuase I have tried to describe things as clearly as possible. Try it. it's sooo easy !"
Step by Step Napkin / Serviette Folding created by kiwidutch
Ready In:


  • 2 paper, napkins (or serviettes)
  • 2 cloth, napkins (or serviettes)


  • Take your square napkin, lay it totally flat before you, then fold it in half horizontally.
  • Fold again, this time vertically so that you have before you a square a quarter the size of your origonal square.
  • Only one of the 4 corners will have 4 open or loose edges. Rotate the square before you so that it looks like a diamond with the four open edges pointing to the bottom.
  • We will call the points on your diamond shape East, West, North and the open egded bit, South.
  • Make a horizontal fold between the East/West points, bringing the open ended South point up to meet, and on top of, the North point.You will now have a little triangle.
  • Take the East point of the triangle and fold it in towards the middle. What was the sloping right hand edge of the triangle is now a vertical edge running down the center of the triangle and there is a little flap sticking out at the bottom.
  • Take the West point and fold it into the center the same as you did with the previous East edge, the two vertical lines should meet in the middle, and you will have a diamond shape that has two long sides at the top and two short sides (the two little flaps) at the bottom.
  • Pick up your diamond shape and fold the two little flap bits at the bottom completely under, so that they only show on the back of the triangle. The front will now look like a steep triangle with a vertical slit down the middle.
  • We will call the points of this triangle East, West and North. With the flaps still folded to the back of the tiangle, fold the East and West points backwards until they meet, and gently crease the two folds that form and meet at the North point.
  • The slit in the front will have opened and the 4 open points of the napkin will be hidden in layers inside. Pull very gently on them one by one and they will stand up like the sails of a boat. Some people I know call this napkin a boat, some a flower and some the Sydney Opera House.I don't know its' offical name but set onto a plate or into an empty wine glass, this a very elegant addition to a classy table setting.
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  1. The Romantic Chef
    Very easy, excellent instructions but I didn't need them because the photos are so clear and concise. My table looked great!
  2. peony8702
    fatastic directions and photos! I had worked in fine dining establisments in my younger days and had done a rolled version of this but this is much more elegant!
  3. Axe1678
    The directions were extremely well done. For my first try at napkin folding, I'd recommend this to anyone as an easy introduction. I think the only thing I would do next time would be to add starch to the napkins so they hold more firmly. Thanks for posting!
  4. Dreamer in Ontario
    I've just finished folding 15 napkins. I found it very easy and the results are beautiful.
  5. Tracie who Cooks
    Directions were very clear. I can't wait to use these at my next gathering.

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