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Use: Napkin folding is a type of decorative folding done with a napkin.

It can be done as art or

as a hobby. Napkin folding is most commonly encountered as a table decoration in fancy
restaurants. Typically, and for best results, a clean, pressed, and starched square cloth (linen or
cotton) napkin is used.


noun: table napkin


a square piece of cloth or paper used at a meal to wipe the fingers or lips and to protect garments, or to
serve food on.


Who hasn't used a napkin?

Everyone uses SOMETHING to clean him or her hands during and/or after a meal. A napkin is a
piece of cloth for wiping the mouth and fingers, usually a small square piece of cloth or tissue
paper used at meals. Napkins are essential today in dining around the world; however, they were
not always available. Throughout history napkins have evolved to meet peoples' needs.

Beginning with a lump of dough, napkins slowly evolved into new forms. In ancient Greece,
Spartans used lumps of dough to wipe their hands at the dinner table. In Rome, two types of
cloth napkins began to surface. The first napkin was called a sudaria, a pocket-sized
handkerchief used for blotting the brow. The second, called a maapae, was a large cloth used to
cover the surface of where the individuals eating were seated. They were also used to wipe
mouths and for wrapping up leftover food to take home. Then suddenly during the Middle Ages,
cloth napkins vanished and anything and everything was used for cleaning mouths and fingertips

During the Middle Ages, cleanliness of ropes was very important to society; therefore, hands
were wiped on tablecloths. The tablecloth evolved with the custom transforming into a three-
cloth spread over the table approximately 4-6 feet long and 5 feet wide. The first cloth,
the couch, was laid lengthwise in front of the master's place. The second cloth, the surnappe, was
a towel laid over the couch indicating the seat of an honored guest. Finally, the third cloth was a
communal napkin hung from the edge of the table. With time, the basin with water for hand
washing appeared and a servant would drape a cloth over his arm to provide a place to dry wet
hands throughout the meal.

In the 16th Century, napkins were accepted as a dining refinement. Sizes of napkins varied
depending on the event. Moving into the 17th Century, the standard napkin was 35 inches wide
and 45 inches long. The napkin size was reduced in the 18th Century after the fork was accepted
by all classes of society. At this time, the napkin was 30 inches by 36 inches in size. Around
1740, manufacturers began making matching tablecloth and napkin sets.

Today, the napkin is made in a variety of sizes and with many materials to meet every
entertainment need: large for multi-course meals, medium for simple menus, and small for
afternoon tea and cocktails. The transition from cloth to paper napkins began in 1887, when John
Dickinson used paper napkins at a company party in the United States. This change remained
unformalized until 1931 when Scott Paper added them to the American market.

Paper napkins are much more accessible than cloth napkins but there is a lot of controversy.

The benefits of paper napkins include:

1. They are convenient because they eliminate the need to wash napkins, and they guarantee
the user they will have a clean napkin.
2. They are lightweight and easy to pack.
3. Thick paper napkins are easiest to fold.
4. They come in a wide variety of sizes, patterns, and styles.

And then there are disadvantages:

1. They consume natural resources and pollute landfills.

2. They are bleached with chlorine and may contain dioxins and other toxins.
3. They are thin, tear easily, may not absorb well, and may be abrasive to the skin.

Limiting the use of paper napkins minimizes environmental waste, and using napkins from
recycled paper and/or cloth napkins.

Napkins have become essential for dining and are used by almost everyone. Starting with the
Greeks with dough, moving to Rome with the first cloth napkins, and evolving from tablecloths
to personal napkins that are nowadays even from recyclable material is the evolution of the
napkin. Napkins are essential today in dining around the world; however, they were not always
available so throughout history, napkins have evolved to suit people accordingly. Different sizes
of napkins are used in different types of meals, and different materials are used to make them.
They have colors and some even have elaborate patterns and designs.

Napkins are an art of their own class. They can each resemble whatever a dinner host has in
mind and are the perfect final touch to make every table look magnificent.

 Drachenfels, Suzanne Von. “Napkins: A Brief History.” Foodreference. N.p., 2010. Web.
27 October 2010.
 Moore, LJ. “Who invented the dinner napkin?” Answerbag. Livestrong, 2010. Web. 27
October 2010.
 Murphy, Claudia Quigley. The History Of The Art Of Tablesetting - Ancient And
Modern. USA: Church Press, 2009.
 Slutsky, Abby. “What year were paper napkins invented?” eHow. N.p., 2010. Web. 27
October 2010.



2. • TABLE NAPKIN -are for wiping your mouth and hands while eating and drinking. They can also serve
as coasters and prevent moisture from beverages from marring the surface of a table. A napkin when
creatively folded enhances the look of your table and the dining experience.


4. Bishops Hat ◦ This little art work is perfectly for beginners. Best suitable for this napkin form is a
serviette with embodied borders, which will be nice by the kind of folding. This napkin form is good to

5. Simple Fan Napkin ◦ Often seen, also in restaurants. The undeniable advantage is, that it is very fast
to do, the disadvantage is that you cant prepare it if you need masses of napkins.

6. Double Fan (Star) Napkin ◦ Open the napkin completely and fold the upper and lower quarter to the
middle. In this fold you can level a irregular ironed napkin.

7. Fleur de lis ◦ This form isnt as difficult as it looks if you know some tricks.

8. Bud napkin ◦ Its a variation of the fleur de lis - only slightly different, but another optics.

9. Fish -The eye of the fish is a pearl or a colored glass stone. The disadvantage of this napkin form is
that it is flat - and takes effect only for small celebrations.

10. Water lily -The water lily looks good on a place plate. In the center theres room for additional
decoration, e.g. a flower.

11. Triple Table Edge ◦ Triple Table Edge - more pretty, more complicated.

12. Fancy silverware pouch ◦ This form gives a decorative touch to your silverware.
13. Pyramid napkin This style is easy to form with most napkins.

14. Lily goblet form ◦ A slightly starched napkin will make your work easier.

15. Advantage and disadvantageof table napkin

16. Advantage The advantage of a table napkin would be avoiding messy periods which can truly turn
out dirty they make nice table decorations, hold napkins, they are collectibles

17. Disadvantage they break easily, somewhat expensive if you want a good quality one, and if you put
to many napkins in them it is hard to take them out

18. A napkin does not simply rest on a table. Its a direct expression of personality and creativity.
Whether its a classic Pyramid fold, a delicate Rose, or a stately Candle, each reflects a certain type of
elegance that can enhance the ambiance of a room and set the tone for an unforgettable dining