Folding cutlery into a napkin adds a touch of elegance to a table setting and ensures consistency from one place setting to the next. No matter how casual or formal the event, tucking the flatware neatly inside the napkin makes it easy to do a quick visual scan to ensure all place settings have the required utensils and napkins.
Fold a cloth napkin in half so the bottom edge meets the top; the folded end is on the bottom. Fold the right side over to meet the left, creating a square. Pull the top flap from the upper left corner over to meet the bottom right edge so the top flap creates a triangle shape. Flip the napkin over horizontally, then fold the right half into the center. Fold the left half completely over the right. When you flip the napkin over again, a diagonal pocket forms with enough room to slip in a knife, fork and spoon. This napkin style is classy enough for a semi-formal setting, yet it's not so over-the-top that it would be out of place at a more casual dinner.
Simple Silverware Roll
A simple napkin-and-cutlery roll, which you can use for both paper and cloth napkins, is best suited to casual environments. Align a cloth napkin so it is in a diamond shape, or unfold a large paper dinner napkin once or twice, then turn it so it is diamond-shaped. Fold the bottom half of the napkin to meet the top, then place the cutlery sideways along the bottom fold. Tuck the right and left sides in toward the center, slightly resembling an envelope with the top flap open. Roll the silverware and napkin upward to create the napkin roll. A napkin ring may be placed over the roll to hold the structure together.
A diamond-folded napkin adds a layered look of elegance to each place setting. Fold a large square napkin, ideally cloth, into quarters, rotating it so the closed point is closest to you. Fold the top flap down to meet the bottom and crease the fold. Fold the next layer down in similar fashion but not quite as far down to create a layered look. Do the same with the third layer, not folding it as far down as the previous two layers. Flip the napkin over horizontally and tuck the right and left sides in toward the center, approximately in thirds, layering one side flap over the other. The napkin shape looks like an upside-down necktie at this point, without the knot. Flip the napkin over again and tuck the cutlery into the pouch two-thirds of the way up the napkin.
Use a simple napkin-folding technique works for both paper and cloth napkins that is easy enough the kids can help. Align a square cloth or paper napkin into a diamond shape; you may have to unfold a paper napkin once or twice to create a square. Set the cutlery atop the napkin vertically so the top of each piece is near the top of the point on the diamond napkin shape. Fold the bottom of the napkin up to the bottom of the cutlery, smoothing it down. Fold the left half of the napkin to the right as far as possible, then fold the right half over and roll the excess napkin material around the back of the napkin structure. The end result is a napkin roll with the cutlery visible near the top. Wrap a napkin ring or decorative ribbon around the napkin to keep it all together, if desired.
- Andres Arango/Demand Media