It is often said that you eat with your eyes first and it is because of this, presentation matters. Napkins are the best way to create an appealing and elegant table. Napkin folding is an art form with a storied and fascinating history.
In their book, “The Beauty of the Fold,” authors Charlotte Birnbaum and Joann Salles, note that the change from “folded cloth to folded art” started in 16th century Italy. Appreciation for bigger and more lavish looks was the fashion focus at that time and it crossed over to linens.
Starched to perfection, they grew in size and became more ornate in their appearance. This trend spread throughout Europe and became a status symbol testament and a competition amongst the aristocrats.
Napkin Folding is Still an Art
Restaurants and party planners still use intricately folded napkins for upscale and specialty dining experiences. Here are examples of four napkin folding styles you may see at a top-level restaurant or catered event.
1. The Pyramid
The classic of the folded napkin techniques, the pyramid can be made easily making it an efficient choice for restaurant personnel and caterers.
- Fold the napkin in half diagonally
- Rotate the napkin so the open end faces away from you.
- Fold the right end up to meet the far corner
- Repeat the last step with the left side
- Turn the napkin over, keeping the open end facing away from you.
- Fold the napkin in half by bringing the farthest point of the diamond up and back to the nearest point.
- Turn the napkin over again, this time keeping the open end facing towards you.
- Fold the napkin along the center seam and you have a neat, sturdy pyramid.
2. The Arrow
This is also a simple, stylish, and easy design. The great thing about this style is that it works for any type of material. Also, you will not necessarily need starch. Here are the steps to creating the Arrow.
- Fold the napkin in half – napkin toward you.
- Fold the far-right corner over to the center of the side closest to you.
- Repeat the last step with the other side.
- Fold the right flap out diagonally so the outer edge runs even with the far edge of the napkin.
- Repeat the previous step on the other side.
- Slide the left and right sides together.
3. The Diamond
If your napkins seem rather limp, is the napkin fold for you and an elegant napkin choice as well. Here are the steps to making the Diamond napkin fold.
- Fold the napkin in a half-open end toward you.
- Fold the napkin into quarters.
- Now, fold the top-most layer of the napkin in half diagonally – up and to the left.
- Fold the next layer of napkin diagonally up and to the left, stopping slightly before the last fold.
- Repeat by folding up the next layer of the napkin to a point just before the last one.
- One last time with one last layer.
- Now fold both sides of the napkin under and in to create an even, staggered diamond effect on the napkin. Press it down as flat as possible and you’re ready for guests within 60 seconds!
4. The Crown
What a great opportunity to make your guests feel like royalty! This napkin design has all of the ornate elegance of old. Here are a few easy steps to create this fun fold design.
- Fold the napkin in half diagonally – open ends pointing away from you.
- Fold the right corner up so that the point rests on top of the middle corner.
- Repeat step four on the other side, creating a diamond shape.
- Fold the bottom of the napkin up about 2/4’s of the way and press this fold down.
- Fold the smaller triangle down so the point rests on the near edge of the napkin.
- Curl the left and right sides of the napkin up so they meet in the middle and tuck one into the other.
- Stand it up and tug at it where needed to even it up and round it out.