Your life has become too busy for fussing with paper napkin rings, but you would still like your holiday table to look decorative. There are simple napkin folds that can dress up your place settings —all based on square napkins, of course.
I learned what the staff called the “cutlery fold” when working as a waitress at a banquet venue many years ago. I ironed the sample above to get sharp creases. The folding instructions were done with a square of paper. You can do the fold without ironing if you are using a starched cloth napkin or a paper napkin.
First fold your napkin vertically, then horizontally, then open flat. Turn up the bottom left corner about seven eighths of the way to the centre. Turn down the upper right corner to about the middle of the upper right quadrant.
Fold the napkin in half vertically, right side over left.
Fold the bottom edge up to the top
There are two layers at the upper left corner. Take the layer closest to you and fold it to the back, making a middle fold between the upper and lower diagonal folds.
Flip the napkin horizontally so that the diagonal folds are underneath, then fold the right hand side to the left. The fold should be about a third of the width of the whole unit.
Fold the left edge in so that it overlaps, and tuck it into the lowest of diagonal folds.
Flip horizontally. You can insert cutlery, or a menu or place card, or even flowers into the pockets between the diagonal folds.
This next fold is even simpler: the napkin doesn’t need to be starched nor ironed into place after folding. It works particularly nicely if your napkins have some kind of embroidery on one corner.
Fold your napkin vertically, then horizontally, making sure the embroidery is on top.
Flip the napkin face down and fold the right hand edge up and in.
Fold the top edge down to make a symmetrical shape.
Flip back right side up. If the napkin looks a bit large when placed on the plate, you can do one more fold, turning the top point under the napkin to shorten it.
There are lots of instructions for simple, decorative napkin folds available on the web.
The one shown above is from FTD —the flower people. You can find even more options on their website here.