How to Fold a Turkey Napkin

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So you're hosting Thanksgiving for the extended clan this year and (secretly) want to outdo the lavish soirée your sister threw last year? Never fear. We've got just the decorative touch that'll take your table setting to a whole new level of awesome -- turkey napkins! This method requires two napkins per turkey, but after the gut-busting feast you're going to prepare for everyone, two napkins may very well be a necessity. We recommend using solid-colored napkins for the heads and pretty printed ones for their fanned tails. Ready? Let's get folding!

(Image: Maya Marin)

Things You'll Need

  • Set of solid-colored cloth napkins 
  • Set of printed cloth napkins 
  • Heavy duty aluminum foil
  • Clothes iron
  • Paper clip
(Image: Maya Marin)

Fold the Turkey's Head, Neck, and Body

Step 1

Take a solid-colored napkin and fold it into quarters to form a square.

(Image: Maya Marin)

Step 2

Cut a piece of heavy duty aluminum foil into a square just a bit smaller than your napkin quarter. Lift up one flap of your folded napkin and insert the foil -- carefully aligning the foil with the napkin crease on one side and the napkin edge on the other, as shown below. The foil will give your bird's head and neck structure and moldability.

(Image: Maya Marin)

Tip

  • For best results, always use heavy duty aluminum foil. However, if you've only got lightweight foil and/or you've got an extra thick napkin, use two layers of foil by cutting a a piece 2 times the size and folding it in half.

Step 3

With the foil-reinforced corner pointing upward, fold the napkin in half diagonally, to create a crease line for guidance. Unfold. Fold the right corner down so the right edge aligns with the crease line. Do the same for the other side (as if making a paper airplane).

(Image: Maya Marin)

Step 4

Fold the corners down one more time to meet the center. The pointy tip at the top will be your turkey's beak.

(Image: Maya Marin)

Step 5

Now fold the pointy end back onto itself, about three inches down from the tip. This crease will be where the turkey's neck meets its body.

(Image: Maya Marin)

Step 6

Make the beak by folding the tip forward. The foil should make it easy to mold into shape.

(Image: Maya Marin)

Step 7

Give the entire body more dimension by pressing in the sides to slightly puff it up. Do the same to the neck to give it a wattle (you know, that dangly bit on the front of a turkey's neck). Once it looks turkey-esque enough for your liking, move on to making the tail.

(Image: Maya Marin)

Fold the Fanned Tail

Step 1

Fold your printed napkin in half lengthwise atop an ironing surface in preparation for pressing.

(Image: Maya Marin)

Step 2

Fold your entire napkin accordion-style widthwise, with folds approximately 1 to 1.5 inches apart. Iron each fold as you go to set in the creases.

(Image: Maya Marin)

Step 3

Fold it in half widthwise and pinch together at the fold to create a fan. Then, use the paper clip to join the two sides so that there's no gap in the middle of your turkey's fanned tail.

(Image: Maya Marin)

Step 4

Now comes the fun part! Insert the bottom of the fan into the groove in the turkey's back; the stiff foil should hold the fan in place.

(Image: Maya Marin)

Your turkey is now ready for the tabletop! Why not make cloth turkey napkins for each adult and paper napkin turkeys in fun prints for the kids' table? They're guaranteed to make your Thanksgiving place settings 110% Instagram (and dinner) ready.

(Image: Maya Marin)
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