History of Napkins
Napkins have been around since the
Middle Ages when stylish folk stopped wiping their mouths on the
tablecloth and started providing individual linen squares for
themselves and their sloppier guests. Napkins became a common sight
by the 1800’s. By the end of the 1800’s, creative hosts
invented many ways to fold these cloths to enhance the place setting.
Learning how to fold a simple
square napkin is by far the simplest and most inexpensive way to
decorate a table. They touch of elegance and charm, more than flowers
in my opinion, to any meal—from a picnic to a formal dinner or
just a simple breakfast is just a fold away. Your guests will be
impressed with the class act of your meal solely based on this one
easy thing. No single thing, except genuine caring, which is an
attitude and not a skill, will set you apart as a skilled host at
mealtime than the lowly, lifeless napkin. Wow, who knew!
An Easy Napkin Fold...The Candle
1. Take the napkin and fold in half, diagonally.
2. Fold the bottom edge up approximately 1 inch.
3. Turn the napkin over and roll it up.
4. Tuck the end corner
into the bottom of the roll and stand the napkin upright.
Keeping your napkins fresh and clean
Food or lipstick stains can usually
be removed with normal washing. However, check the napkin after
washing (before drying—the heat will set a stain). If the stain
persists, soak it in your detergent and try again.
Grease stains are best
removed by stretching the fabric tightly and running very hot water
through the spot.
Tea or Coffee stains can be
removed by soaking the napkin in cold water as soon as possible and
then washing it normally.
Candle wax should have the
excess scraped off and then iron between two paper towels which act
as blotters. Then wash as normal.
Red wine stains are usually
the most difficult. Some recommend soaking in milk before washing. I
recommend pouring white wine over the red wine stain. If you
don’t have white wine, try vinegar or gently rubbing with
concentrated detergent. Wash in hottest water that is safe for the
fabric and cross your fingers.
What type of napkins should I use for folding?
napkin must be square in order for most folds to work.
Fabric: A creasable,
cloth/linen napkin is best, although some folds will work with the
synthetic stuff. However, most folds require a napkin that will hold
a crease. That means cotton for the most part. The napkin may not
have to be starched and ironed, but that will help for some of the
fans folds. I still find cotton to be, by far, the best.
Patterns: Plain is best,
although some patterns look nice in a fold. Keep it
simple—remember the fold becomes the elegant touch not the
design of the print.
SIZE: It does matter. Bigger
is almost always better here. If you look around, you can find
oversized cloth restaurant napkins. They are 20 inches by 20 inches.
This is the best.
Paper napkins: Yes,
sometimes you can use these and make nice folds. They are pre-folded
into quarters and will actually work for many of the folds. Try it
OLD: Used napkins work well
if still SQUARE and starched and ironed. Once stretched out of shape
their is little that can be done with them.
You can learn how to do these
and 19 other napkin folds with Impressive 1-Minute Napkin Folds video.