Make your holiday table special this year by discovering how to fold a Christmas tree napkin. Cloth napkins in green – or maybe a festive red – and the right folding technique are all it takes to make a cute Christmas tree for every place setting.
A series of folds creates the tree shape perfect for every plate, and there’s the option to add any finishing touches you like such as a star for the top of the tree or even give it a trunk, if you like.
Discover how to fold a Christmas tree napkin here and delight family members of all ages with this year’s Christmas table ideas.
How to fold a Christmas tree napkin
Follow these steps to get in the know about how to fold a Christmas tree napkin. Make sure the napkins you select are square and big enough to work with – 16 by 16 inches (40 by 40cm) and larger will work fine.
As for the fabric when you’re learning how to fold a Christmas tree napkin, linen napkins are ideal, or cotton, but blended fabrics are also suitable for making into a Christmas tree shape. And, you can match the napkin's fabric or paper color and pattern to your Christmas dining room decor for a cohesive look, too.
1. Make the first folds
Iron the napkin before you begin so you’re working with a smooth piece of fabric.
Take hold of each corner of one side, and fold the napkin in half again to make a square shape. Make sure it’s smooth and turn it so the open corners face you and it’s oriented towards you in a diamond shape.
2. Fold layer by layer towards the top corner
Taking the top layer of fabric only, turn the corner up so that it is just below the apex of the diamond.
Repeat with the next corner, folding it so it sits below the first corner you turned up.
Repeat with all the corners, staggering them at an even distance. Smooth down the folded napkin.
3. Flip the napkin over
Use one hand to press against the top of the napkin to hold the folds in place, and slide your other hand underneath it taking care not to disturb the folds. Holding top and bottom to keep the folds in place, turn the napkin over and place it back down on your work surface.
4. Fold the sides of the napkin across the center
Take the bottom left corner of the napkin and fold it so that the top corner aligns with the slope of the opposite side of the shape. Repeat with the bottom right corner to leave a shape with a point at top and bottom.
5. Flip the napkin back over
Turn the napkin over so the pleats are uppermost. The narrowest part of the tree shape should be at the top.
6. Tuck in the flaps
Working from the top of the napkin tree, turn the first flap upwards to align with the top of the tree. For the second flap, fold upwards then tuck the point underneath the first fold. Repeat this folding and tucking with the next flaps, working downwards. The napkin now has a tree shape with a flat base.
7. Lay out the napkins
Repeat with as many napkins as you need for the table.
Place a Christmas tree napkin on each plate around the table. If you want to add extra decor, now’s the time to do it. You could cut out colored stars for the top of the tree, add a small ribbon bow, and you might like to use a cinnamon stick as a tree trunk. You could also tuck a place card into the tree.
How to cheat a Christmas tree napkin
No time to fold Christmas tree napkins the right way, but still want to know how to set the perfect Christmas table? You can cheat the Christmas tree napkin shape by simply folding three – or more, but odd numbers look best – in half to create triangular shapes, then simply stack them, starting from the bottom up to create the shape of a Christmas tree, as shown below. Decorate with a star, baubles and even tiny strings of tinsel for a fun effect.
What kind of napkin is best for a Christmas tree napkin?
Christmas tree napkins are best achieved with a napkin that has the same color on both its sides. Paper napkins are easier and neater to fold – fabric napkins will need to be ironed or pressed first to ensure they are wrinkle-free, and may need to be pressed as you fold to ensure they sit neatly.
Sarah is a freelance journalist and editor. Previously executive editor of Ideal Home, she’s specialized in interiors, property and gardens for over 20 years, and covers interior design, house design, gardens, and cleaning and organizing a home for H&G. She’s written for websites, including Houzz, Channel 4’s flagship website, 4Homes, and Future’s T3; national newspapers, including The Guardian; and magazines including Future’s Country Homes & Interiors, Homebuilding & Renovating, Period Living, and Style at Home, as well as House Beautiful, Good Homes, Grand Designs, Homes & Antiques, LandLove and The English Home among others. It’s no big surprise that she likes to put what she writes about into practice, and is a serial house renovator.
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