How to Fan-Fold a Cloth Napkin

Elegantly fanned cloth napkins aren’t just for fine restaurants and wedding receptions. Using the fast, simple napkin folding technique demonstrated in this video, you can add the same stylish touch to your own dinner party.

What You Need

  • napkin
    flat surface
Follow These Six Easy Steps
  1. Lay napkin flat

    Place the open napkin face down on a flat surface.

  2. Fold in half lengthwise

    Fold the napkin once vertically, aligning the seams and smoothing it out.

  3. Create accordion folds

    Starting at the bottom of the napkin, make a series of long, narrow accordion-style folds, first folding the napkin under about two inches, then up two inches, then under, then up. Make sure that each new fold is even, so that the bottom and top align with the last one. Smooth after each fold and repeat until you are about four or five inches from the top, leaving that section unfolded.

  4. Flip over and fold in half lengthwise

    Carefully turn the napkin over so the folds are now underneath, and what faces you is a smooth rectangle, positioned horizontally. (The folds should still run horizontally across the bottom.) Smooth out the napkin to get rid of any wrinkles. Now grasp the right side, holding onto the accordion folds so they don’t come undone, and fold the napkin in half lengthwise, to the left. Give the napkin a one-quarter turn clockwise, so the folds now run vertically along the left side.

  5. Fold corner and tuck into center of the napkin

    Take the top right corner of the napkin and fold it down towards the accordion section, creating a triangle shape, then tuck that corner into the center of the folds. Align the bottom seams so the triangle is even.

  6. Stand upright and fan napkin out

    Turn the napkin so that those bottom seams are now at the base of the triangle and the tip of the triangle faces away from you, directly behind the fan. The fan should be in a closed, vertical position. Gently splay the accordion folds to create a fan shape, using the triangle (which acts as a kind of kickstand) to prop up the fan.

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