Napery, or the art of napkin folding, is actually quite similar to origami, the ancient Japanese paper-folding art. The main difference, of course, is that napery employs cloth dinner napkins instead of colored paper. Still, the basic principles are the same.
Artistically folded napkins add an elegant and decorative accent to any table. Although table napkin folding may appear difficult, many creative designs are really quite simple to execute.
Many traditional napkin folding designs have grown popular over the years, particularly for fancy restaurants, catered banquets, formal weddings, official dinners and special occasions. The most commonly used napkin folding designs include the arrow, the basic square silverware pouch, the basic triangle silverware pouch, the bird of paradise, the bishop's miter, the bunny, the candle, the cardinal's hat, the clown's hat, the crown, the diamond, the goblet fan, the ice cream cone, Lady Windermere's fan, the necktie, the peace lily, the pocket, the pyramid, the rose, the rosebud, the sail and the standing fan. Instructions for all of these may be found online and in hospitality resource publications.
Meanwhile, several original patterns are included here, along with simple step-by-step instructions. Gather your table linens and try these original fancy and festive napkin folding designs for your own dining table for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Passover, Easter, a birthday party, or any other special occasion dinner.
Napkin Folding Designs: The Double Spire
The double spire is a simple-but-striking design. Try the double spire for a dramatic dinner table setting that does not detract from a fancy centerpiece or block socialization across the dining table.
What to do:
The Eagle's Wing
This design is easy to pull off, while offering a lovely, understated accent for a festive or formal dining table.
What to do:
The Pirate Hat
The pirate hat offers a much more casual napkin folding design, which is ideal for a birthday celebration, bachelor party, retirement recognition dinner or another informal occasion. It is an adaptation of a traditional birthday party hat, usually constructed from recycled newspapers.
What to do:
The art of napkin folding is greatly simplified by the use of clean, crisply starched cloth dinner napkins. Be sure to wash and dry table linens thoroughly before ironing them. Trim off any loose or stray threads so that your cloth dinner napkins will appear fresh and new.
Don't worry, no one will laugh if you don't know which fork is the salad fork. In fact, you might not even need a salad fork. Proper table setting is easier than you think if you follow a few basic guidelines.
Set a vibrant table for your next dinner party by mixing and matching your table settings. Do what's pleasing to look at and what goes with the theme of the party for success. When you follow a few rules of thumb, you can come up with endless appealing place settings that will come together in a striking display of table art.