Today is a roundup of 12 fun to fabulous napkin folds I’ve used in styling tables for a variety of holidays, occasions and parties.

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It’s not the St. Patrick’s Day theme post I planned.

Originally, I wanted to share our upcoming Ireland vacation itinerary, including details of the 10-day organized tour. Hubby and I also added five days on our own to explore the home towns and villages of many of his Irish ancestors. It’s to be a bucket list trip, and the fruit of my many years of genealogy study and research.

But, with the virus pandemic and worldwide emergency, I suspect our summer vacation to the United Kingdom is unlikely — at least when scheduled.

Instead, while we are all social distancing, I thought you might enjoy a little diversion. Because this too will pass, and then we’ll all want to return to normal, gathering together to celebrate holidays and special occasions.

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Napkin Folds Enhance Table Settings

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Over the past two years, I’ve incorporated different napkin folds into numerous tablescapes. About 12 different folds and counting! Several I’ve used on multiple occasions; simply changing the color or print of the fabric for an entirely different look.

There are a number of great reasons for trying your hand at napkin folding:

  1. Enhance look of place settings
  2. Add “wow” factor to tablescape
  3. Coordinate with and extend table theme details
  4. Save the expense of buying napkin rings
  5. Add inexpensive new element to table setting
  6. Pile in large basket for buffet setups

And, a collection of napkins in a variety of colors and prints takes little storage space — unlike most tableware which is breakable and bulky.

Clicking on pictures and post titles will take you directly to the table setting highlighted. For your convenience, I’ve also provided links to similar fabric napkins and illustrated how-to books available at Amazon.

Since it’s nearly St. Patrick’s Day, I’ve started with a shamrock napkin fold.

Tricky Shamrocks

The first napkin fold I tried, was the four-leaf clover in Elegant Tablescape for St. Patrick’s Day. Like many napkin folds, it didn’t require any ring to hold it together. I placed a decorative leprechaun gold coin in the center of emerald green napkins.

To be honest, the shamrock shape is one of the most challenging folds I’ve attempted, and probably wasn’t the best choice to begin with.

I also failed to take the fabric of the napkin into account. Because it lacked any sizing and was so soft, the clover leaves tended to collapse. Lesson learned!

Tail Feathers

In contrast, my second attempt is probably the easiest napkin fold of all — a basic fan. After folding the fabric into accordion pleats, the napkin is inserted into a glass, allowing the pleats to open into a fan.

I used turquoise fabric napkins and decorated stemware for an Exotic Peacock Tablescape. Here, the basic fan fold was intended to resemble a peacock’s tail feathers. Do you see it?

It’s the same napkins and glasses used most recently in the Tweet Turquoise Early Spring Table to create the more involved, Pretty Flower Napkin Fold Tutorial.

A fan fold also works well as turkey feathers, seen in the Thanksgiving Horn of Plenty Table— gobble, gobble!

Bunny Lays an Egg?

Simply folding pink napkins into a triangle, with a roll, twist and tie, transforms a square of fabric into cute bunny ears.

Inserted into the center of the bunny ear fold is a faux chocolate egg from the Vintage Easter Table with Chocolate Rabbit Centerpiece. You can also use a real or other style Easter egg. Or, no egg at all!

Like the flower napkin fold, my styling required a glass to hold the ears upright. But, you can simply lay the bunny ears fold in the center of a plate.

Sweet, Simple Rose

Recently, I shared another super simple, rosette napkin fold on the In the Pink Valentines Day Table. Just fold into a triangle, roll, roll again, and tuck.

Originally, I used the rose folded napkin to decorate both Alice in Wonderland and Absolutely Mad, Summer Tea Party Tables.

It only took me about 15 minutes to fold all 20 plus napkins.

With a larger gathering, it was nice not to need to go to the expense of purchasing or crafting napkin rings. Don’t you think a rose would be a lovely fold for a wedding reception?

Bird of Paradise

Later, I tried my hand at a little more challenging napkin fold for the Palms, Parrots & Paradise Tropical Tablescape. It’s a great look for a summer tablescape.

At the time, I couldn’t find any orange color napkins for the Bird of Paradise fold. So, I used the same green napkins as the four-leaf clovers for St. Paddy’s Day.

Once again, a stiffer fabric would have made it a tad easier for the petals to stand. This coming summer, I’ll use the tangerine color napkins I purchased for Thanksgiving.

Go Greek

After returning from a vacation to Amazing Ancient Athens and taking a Small Ship Greek Island Cruise, I decided to set a table using new linens purchased there.

Having visited the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens, I was inspired to create a napkin fold to resemble an Olympic torch. Can you see a resemblance to the flame shape?

It’s the first time I made up a napkin fold of my own! I loved how it showed off the olive-embroidered design of the linens. But, unlike many of the folds, it does require napkin ring like these Greek key rings with decorated napkins.

Back to Napkin School

A month later I was back at it, trying another new a napkin fold to accompany a Back to School Table.

It’s described as a fleur-de-lis, the ancient French symbol of a bee. Another easy fold, this one held together with cute little tags (Target) rather than using rings.

Although the fold was made for a September table with a buffalo check napkin, it would work year-round in fabric of any color or pattern. With a dressier napkin, it could look quite elegant on a more formal table.

Can’t you picture it for a wedding reception?

Apples or Pumpkins?

Much to my delight, I found directions online for an apple-shape napkin fold to accompany September’s Fall Harvest Table.

Both McIntosh red and Granny Smith green fabric napkins were used to create the apple-shaped fold. Fresh leaves came from the tree in my front yard.

Although you can’t see them, basic napkin rings are needed (underneath) to create the relatively easy fold. Most of the effect involves puffing and plumping up the fabric.

To impress the gang for a Pumpkin Patch Thanksgiving Brunch, I used the very same napkin fold. With a few minor alterations, apples became pumpkins!

All I did was use a variety of fall prints and shades to make pumpkin shape napkins for 16 guests — seated across three different Thanksgiving tables. Wine corks represented pumpkin stems embellished with paper leaves.

My young nephew said they were, “awesome!”

Bone to Pick

Earlier in the fall, I set an over-the-top, Spooktacular Skeleton at the Feast Halloween Table.

If you look to the left, you’ll see a femur bone shape napkin made of skeleton print fabric. Another super simple napkin fold, it basically involves rolling and tying knots at each end.

This fold holds together well, and would work for a Halloween buffet setup with bone shape napkins being held in something like a large plastic cauldron.

Don’t you think the bone fold would also be adorable for a dinosaur or puppy dog theme children’s birthday party?

Oh Christmas Tree!

For the Downhill Dinner at Ski Cabin Winter Table, I used an evergreen shape napkin fold to complement the setting.

Although I decided to use snowflake napkin rings to embellish the tree shape fold, they aren’t necessary for it to hold it’s shape.

Of course, the easy Christmas tree shape would also look festive on any holiday table.

More to Come

Looking ahead, I’m hoping to try more napkin folds to add interest and variety to seasonal and holiday tables. I’ve already ordered two of the books listed below for ideas and inspiration.

Another key reason — I’m pretty much maxed out on storage space for any new dishes and glassware! Creative napkin folds will allow me to play with styling new table settings using much of the tableware I already have.

That’s what I did for this year’s Sweet Rustic Rabbit Easter Table. Isn’t the bunny-shape napkin fold adorable?

Which napkin fold is your favorite? Have you tried any of them yourself?

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