City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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How To Create A Perfectly Folded Napkin

By now, you’ve seen napkins manipulated, folded, stuffed, fanned, and generally transformed into countless, impossible shapes, ranging from absurd to “I wonder how they did that.”

You choose. Under which category do these origami napkin shoes fall?

How about this over-the-top fold from Marie-Antoinette’s table at the Court of Versailles?

If you’re interested in the history of napkins, and the intrigue once associated with them, check out What’s Cooking America.

Now that entertaining season has kicked into high gear, it wouldn’t hurt to know at least one napkin folding technique. Trust me, it’ll come in handy, and your guests will feel special that you went to the trouble.

I present you with the envelope fold from vintage Martha Stewart.

The beauty of this easy fold is that you can do it far ahead of time if you like, since you’re not creating 3D swans or floral arrangements with this elegant, flat fold. But, ironing is involved. You’ll need starch or sizing to get each fold as sharp as possible to achieve this classic, crisp look. Use perfectly square napkins, preferably not those made of 100-percent polyester because they tend not to iron as flat as cotton or linen blends.

What I love about the envelope is that it allows you to tuck a little note inside, or you can slip the stem of a flower and let the blossom peek out.

Here’s how it’s done:

If you give the envelope a try, show us your results. Is napkin folding part of your holiday entertaining? What’s your favorite napkin fold? Send your photographs to or post them on Instagram with the hashtag #AJCdiy.

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