How to Fold a Napkin in a Wine Glass

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Fold a napkin in a wine glass for a decorative look.
Image Credit: PPAMPicture/iStock/GettyImages

You can create a sense of occasion around special meals with a full formal place setting, but that's a lot of work (and calls for a lot of pieces you may not have). Deploying a few thoughtful touches – a floral arrangement, inexpensive charger plates, carefully folded napkins in the wine glasses – is a more attainable option for most of us, requiring minimal investment in skills or money. Napkin folding for glassware is the only part that requires even a bit of practice, and even that is pretty straightforward.

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Things You'll Need

  • Square napkins

  • Wine glasses or water goblets

Napkin Folding for Glassware

There are any number of ways to fold a napkin for your table, depending on the degree of sophistication you're looking for. There are hundreds of ways to go about it, and probably many thousands of tutorials on the internet. The simplest folds are sometimes less than impressive, and others – while visually stunning – would challenge an origami master. Unless your mind is made up on a specific look, the method described here is probably the best bet for beginners.

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It uses simple and straightforward folds, with no complicated twists and turns, and the end result looks surprisingly elegant.

Step 1: Lay Out Your Napkin

Prepare a clean, dry surface – ideally a tabletop or counter, with lots of space – and stack your napkins to one side of the work area. Take the first napkin from your stack, and lay it out flat on the work surface. Smooth it with your palms to get out any wrinkles.

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Step 2: Make the First Fold

Start by folding your napkin in half, to make a rectangle. Make sure the corners are mated neatly, and smooth the napkin again with your palms to remove any wrinkles.

Step 3: Make the Second Fold

Fold the napkin in half again, to make a square. Make sure the corners and edges are neatly aligned, and then smooth it again with your palms.

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Step 4: Make the Diagonal Folds

One of the corners of the napkin will be open on both sides. Rotate the napkin so that corner is closest to you, at bottom right, and then fold it to the top left. Visually, you'll now have a triangle shape resting on top of the underlying square. Carefully flip the napkin over, and repeat this diagonal fold with the other side. Your napkin will now be a triangle.

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Step 5: Fold Your Triangle

With the long side of the triangle at the bottom, fold the napkin in half from left to right (or right to left, whichever feels more natural for you) to make a smaller, right-angle triangle.

Step 6: Make the S-Folds

This right-angle triangle will resemble a sandwich, with a thick section in the middle and thinner triangles at the napkin's top and bottom. Take this upper triangle and fold it in thirds to make a neat S or Z pattern. The "elbow" of your fold will meet the upright side of your right triangle, and the point will meet the lower edge about 1/3 of the way from corner to corner. Pinch the bottom of the folded area to hold it in place, then turn the napkin over. Repeat the S-fold again on the other side. Your napkin will be in the shape of a somewhat flattened cylinder, with a triangle at the top.

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Step 7: Put the Napkin in the Glass

Carefully hold the first napkin, to keep your folds in place, and slide it into a wine glass or water goblet with the triangular end at the top. Repeat these steps until all of the napkins are in wine glasses.

Step 8: Open the Folds

Turn the first glass so that the folds of the napkin are to the left and right of the peak in the center. Gently pinch the two outermost points of the triangle and bend them outward over the edges of the glass, to resemble the petals of a flower. Do the same with the next pair of points, creating a second set of "petals" between the first pair and the central triangle. The effect will be roughly pyramid-shaped, with a pair of petals to either side of the main triangular point. Repeat with the remaining glasses.

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