Paper towels are a common item found at the breakfast, lunch or dinner table. They can seem inconsequential but can add to the mood or theme of the meal. The manner in which you fold paper towels can signify how casual or elegant and event is. Three basic, easy ways exist to fold paper towels, all of which set a slightly different tone for your meal. A simple horizontal or diagonal fold will suffice for casual meals, but it takes only a few more folds for a more elegant appearance.
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Lay the paper towel down horizontally, and then fold the bottom left-hand corner up diagonally to the right until the bottom edge meets the top edge evenly. You should have a diagonal line on the left side of the paper towel and then a small straight edge on the bottom and a straight edge on the right side and top of the paper towel.
Take the bottom right-hand corner and fold it up diagonally to the left until the bottom edge meets the top edge evenly. You should now have a three points on your paper towel to create a triangle.
Flip the paper towel over and lay it down vertically before placing the silverware atop it to create a casually elegant look (the medium between casual and elegant). Stop here if you want the semi-elegant fold.
Lay the paper towel so that the middle point is pointing upward. Fold in each of the horizontal points to create a pentagon shape. Then carefully place the pentagon shape standing upwards right above your silverware to create the most elegant paper towel fold.
The most casual fold and middle folds are usually used for breakfasts, lunches and dinners with close friends and families for more laid-back or slightly special events, and the most elegant fold is usually used for a meal with special guests or a formal occasion such as a business dinner or first meeting dinner.
Make sure that your menu matches the paper towel fold that you select as well. For instance, it would be inappropriate to use the most elegant fold for a casual meal of hamburgers and french fries.