Most people only use fabric napkins at special occasions or during holiday meals and end up using paper napkins on a daily basis. Using fabric napkins adds a touch of class and elegance to your dinner table and to your meals. However, unless you know how to fold napkins in an elegant manner, there will be no use of using fancy fabrics at all.
The art of folding napkins is definitely something that is exciting and fun as well as quite useful to learn. Folded napkins not only look very elegant and serve a decorative purpose but also provide a practical purpose like keeping the dinner utensils safely tucked in.
What Are Cloth or Fabric Napkins?
Cloth napkins are reusable and can be used for wiping your hands and face during a meal and to clean up the mess. They can be made of polyester, cotton, or even a blend of both. They are usually available in a wide range of colors and designs which can suit any occasion or style.
Cloth napkins can be reused by washing them time and time again and help to reduce the waste which would have been caused by using disposable paper napkins. These napkins are ideal to be used for weddings, the holiday season, dinner parties or any other special occasion, where paper napkins would reduce the importance of the event and would look less formal. Cloth napkins are also used for everyday purposes in most hotels, restaurants and even in many homes.
The best way to go about it is to choose a napkin that complements your table and tableware and has a color or design that adds a decorative touch to your table, making your dinner fancy.
Choosing Cloth Napkins
The best way to choose a cloth napkin is to first decide which fabric you want for the napkin. Secondly, you need to consider your tableware or dinner set and choose a design or color that goes well with it. If you cannot decide, you can simply go for a neutral color which would go with almost all types of table settings. The classic colors are generally beige, black and white.
Size is also important. Smaller-sized napkins work well for casual affairs, such as teatime, while the large ones are more suitable for formal dinners. Hence, the size you choose will depend on the purpose of the napkins.
Maintenance of the Napkins
Once you have bought cloth napkins and love the decorative and formal aspects they bring to your table, you must also make sure they last long enough to provide value for money. In order to do that, you must take care of their maintenance in terms of cleaning them right after every meal so that the stains do not stick to the cloth. These napkins can be quite delicate, so you must make sure you use the right cleaning agents.
Moreover, proper storage of the napkins is as important as the cleaning process. Once they have been cleaned and dried, you must keep them neatly pressed and folded in a clean storage space, where they are not directly exposed to heat, moisture or any strong smells.
As long as you take good care of your napkins through this maintenance process, you will end up maximizing every cent of your investment!
Why Use Cloth Napkins
Cloth or fabric napkins are generally known for being high maintenance and usually require some preparation beforehand. However, they also add glamour to the dinner setting, adding a decorative spark to the table, making them highly worth the effort. There are various other reasons to use a cloth napkin as opposed to paper towels or disposable napkins, some of which are as follows:
- High-quality cloth napkins can last for years, which you can wash and reuse again and again! Hence, these napkins are a onetime cost and will end up saving you a lot of money in the future.
- Cloth napkins are also great for the actual cleanup process since they absorb more liquid than paper towels. In fact, one cloth napkin can hold about 2-3 times the amount of liquid as compared to a paper napkin.
- A dinner table is classier with cloth napkins, and they generally look better than paper napkins.
- It makes picnics more fun with napkins which are reusable and less wasteful.
- The napkins are available in beautiful prints to go with all sorts of table settings or decorative ideas you may have.
- Cloth napkins are available in child-friendly prints as well, which can be used during kid’s birthday parties to add to the theme.
- They can be used for many other purposes as well, such as for gift wrapping, lining up serving baskets or tying around a wine bottle to prevent it from dripping.
- Paper napkins generally disintegrate after you have used them a few times, especially during a messy meal. A fabric napkin, on the other hand, usually lasts much longer, no matter how messy the meal gets!
- Every year, millions of pounds of trash make their way into the ocean, which causes problems with the marine life and wildlife. Paper napkins add to this trash as they are wasteful and cannot be recycled, while cloth napkins are eco-friendly since they can be reused.
- Kids cannot rip apart fabric napkins as they do paper napkins and create a mess.
Different Ways to Fold Napkins
If you have decided to use cloth napkins for the next meal at your place, you need to know how to fold them. The best part about using cloth napkins is that you can add glamour to the table and create a theme simply by how you use the napkins. You can make the table setting look beautiful by the colors, fabrics and style of the napkins you choose.
If you do not know how to fold napkins, it is very simple to learn. Whether it is a romantic dinner for two or a large feast for the whole family, there is a wide range of ideas and options which you can choose to go with the overall theme of your dinner party. There is obviously some preparation required before you decide to fold the napkins in a particular way.
Apart from the theme of the dinner, you must also make sure that the napkins are clean, pressed and ready to be used before you decide to try your hand at the many different folding techniques. This is imperative as otherwise, the napkins don’t look classy.
Step-by-Step Guide to Folding Napkins
It does not matter if you do not know how to fold napkins. You can learn it right now! Folding napkins is quite a simple and easy task which you can learn with the basic steps mentioned below.
Arrow Folded Napkin
- Keep the napkin face down on the surface.
- The napkin should be folded in half with the open end of the napkin facing you.
- Now, fold the corner of the napkin that is on the far right toward the center of the side near you. The edge of the folding should be toward the center of the napkin.
- Now, repeat the last step with the other side of the napkin, folding the corner on the far left to be in close contact with the previous fold.
- The right flap of the napkin must be diagonal so that the outside of the edge is even with the far end of the edge of the napkin.
- Simply, slide both the right and left sides of the napkin together, bending the napkin on the farthest point. This will make the flat, center part bow.
Cone Folded Napkin
- Place the napkin folded in half and flat on the surface with the open end of the napkin facing away from you.
- Fold the left half of the napkin over its right half.
- Turn it over so that the open end is now facing away from you and the napkin has a nice diamond shape.
- Now, fold the top layer of the napkin, which is the open end, toward you.
- The napkin should be flipped over.
- For both the left and right sides, fold about two-thirds of the napkin.
- The corners should now be tucked in to create a cone shaped.
- The folded napkin would have a slight pouch. You may slip in a flower to go with your special theme or a candy if it is a kid’s affair.
- The napkin should be placed on a surface in front of you.
- Fold it in half by having the open end toward you.
- The napkin should be folded into a quarter.
- Now, the napkin should be turned over in such a way that the corner that is open is facing away from you and to the left.
- The topmost layer of the napkin should be folded in half diagonally and then pressed down.
- The napkin should then be turned over in such a way that the open corner is facing away from you and it is towards the right.
- Now, the right side of the napkin should be pressed and folded 1/3 of the way.
- Similarly, the left side of the napkin should be pressed and folded 1/3 of the way.
- Simply, flip over the napkin, straighten it and just insert your silverware inside!
Other Ideas on How to Fold Napkins
Angled Pocket Fold
This is one of the easiest folding ideas and will not take up too much of your time. You can easily learn to make this shape. You need a square dinner napkin for this and you must give it a 3-way fold that makes a pocket shape. It is great for putting the flatware in the pocket or even a printed menu or place card.
Bowtie Napkin Fold
Bows always add a bit of playfulness to the dinner table and are yet another way to fold napkins that won’t take too much effort. In order to make this fold, you must spread the napkin on the surface flat down. Now, fold the opposites sides of the napkin in such a way that their ends meet in the middle. Then, horizontally fold again in the center to form a ribbon-like shape. Then, fold the ends so that they meet in the center of the napkin. Now, cinch the middle with a simple ribbon or just glue it at the back. It is so simple yet looks very elegant and will have you garnering compliments from all around.
This is quite simple. All you need to do is fold the napkin in thirds and wrap it around the plate. The ends should be tucked underneath the plate as well. You can put up a fresh or dried flower along with it to add some glamour.
The cone-shaped napkin fold is quite easy to make and will add some elegance to the dinner table. Put the napkin flat down on the surface in front of you and fold it in half, turning the open end away. Then, the napkin should be folded in quarters and turn the napkin in such a way that the open end is facing away from you. Fold the top napkin layer toward the middle and simply press it down, flattening it with your hand. Now, turn the napkin and fold on the left side over two-thirds of the napkin. Then, do the same with the right side so that it matches the left side. Tuck in the left corners into the left flap. Now, just flip it over and it is ready!
You can put your flatware inside the pouch created or maybe even some greeting card if you so wish.