Whether hosting a dinner party, buffet, BBQ, or want to create a romantic or even civilised dinner at home, napkins are sure to be a prominent must on your planning list. Although they certainly don’t need a fancy twist, after all they serve a great purpose and simply having them at your event is enough, we share five simple napkin arrangement techniques, that can be used in a mix of paper or fabric, to help elevate your next function.

Fancy fan

The fancy fan is a beautifully simple technique to make your paper napkins look part of the décor. Ideal for buffets, BBQs, or any gathering where you’re hosting quite a lot of people.

How to:

  • Simply open up your packet of napkins, lay them on the table
  • Then take a teacup, saucer or small plate/bowl and place it on the very top napkin.
  • Applying a little force, plunge and twist your utensil, lift, plunge and twist; twisting your napkins until they fan out.

Top tip: Depending on your surface (it helps if there is a little friction between the table and napkins), it can be helpful to hold a few napkins nearer the bottom until you get going.

Cutlery cover

Another great arrangement for large functions where you want to enclose cutlery for your guests, though it’s equally ideal and functional for any dinner party as well as it helps to create a clutter-free table arrangement.

This technique could be used for paper napkins, but you’ll want to ensure they are quite large.

How to:

  • Take your napkin and fold it in half (seems on the outside)
  • Fold again in half- ensure the outer corners are to the top right
  • Take one corner of the napkin and bring it down to the middle
  • Turn the napkin over with seems now towards the left
  • And fold the napkin into thirds
  • Finish by adding your cutlery

Love knot

A simple design that allows you to show off your charger plates/plates and any other details you’re hoping to add to a place setting, such as name tags, favours or some other decoration like foliage to help tie in the theme of the dinner or occasion.

How to:

  • Take your fabric napkin and bring two diagonally opposite corners together
  • Scrunch the fabric to the middle and create a knot in the centre of your napkin
  • Play with the knot arrangement until you’re able to create a circular arch in the napkin. You may also want to play with the structure of the knot so that it’s firmer and flatter.

Theme idea: If you have blue or white napkins, you could theme your event around the moon & stars, or even space itself!

Christmas tree

A whimsical fold, perfect for your Christmas party or even the main event! This technique is for square, fabric napkins only.

How to:

  • Fold your napkin in half, seams out (creating a rectangle)
  • Fold the napkin in half again (to the left, to create a square)
  • Turn so the seams are down, facing you.
  • Turn each corner up, leaving an approximately 1inch gap between each corner
  • Turn the napkin over (looks like a boat paper hat!)
  • Fold the right side towards the left, using the centre of the napkin as a guide
  • Repeat on the left side
  • Fold the top down (leave the little triangle underneath)
  • Flip the napkin over
  • Tuck each flap under itself to create your branches

This is a great YouTube video by Origami Tree that’s easy to follow.


The envelope fold is a lovely little arrangement if you’re wanting to hide some details for the event within the napkin. For example, it could be the menu for the meal, a joke – for Christmas, or even a little favour of thanks for coming. You may even, depending on the size of your napkins, be able to conceal the cutlery within. This is an arrangement for square, fabric napkins.

How to:

  • With seams on the inside, turn the napkin so you have a diamond shape, take the bottom point to the top to create a triangle
  • Take the right corner and fold inwards to the centre
  • Do the same on the other side
  • Take your turner corners and bring in, a third of the way, so the folds meet in the middle, with a little point at the top
  • Bring the bottom of the napkin up to meet the inner diamond
  • Turn the flap down.

We hope you enjoy these little ideas for your next function. What’s your favourite way to fold?

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