Holiday napkin folding with Cristina Ferrare


  • Napkins
  • An iron
  • Can of spray starch or sizing
  • A flat surface

Your holiday table can be formal or whimsical but no matter what style you like, you can dress it up with these simple napkin folding techniques.

We have three different styles for your holiday tables: whimsical, rustic, and formal. You can add decorations to each place setting to personalize your designs as well, but we are going to concentrate on what the folded napkin brings to each style.

Note: Before you start, it’s best to iron your napkins using a little sizing or light spray starch to give body to the napkin. It will also help you keep your corners together making a tighter fold.

Also note that paper doesn’t work very well for these. and the heavier the fabric the better it holds shapes – like the elf hat. Linen is a good fabric for the hat and the tree, but the fancy pouch is better with a silkier fabric – like damask that will roll well.

Directions for the Whimsical Elf Hat:

  1. Open the napkin to a full square
  2. Fold in half horizontally with the open edges away from you
  3. Hold your fingers in the center and roll a cone shape from the outer right edge keeping your fingers in place to keep a nice point. Roll the fabric until it is a fully formed cone.
  4. Fold the open edges up all the way around to form the brim
  5. Decorate with a red ball in the point if you like
  6. place on the center of the plate

Directions for the Rustic Christmas Tree Design:

  1. Open the napkin to a full square
  2. Fold in half, pulling the corners toward you
  3. Fold in half again pulling the right side over to the left (forming a square)
  4. Reposition the square slightly to form a diamond shape with the folded edge away from you and the open edges facing you.
  5. One by one, peel up the open edges and fold leaving about an inch of space visible between each layer.
  6. Lightly press into place with your hands
  7. Placing your hands on each side (front and back), to hold the folds in place, turn the folded napkin over
  8. Repeat on the right side, forming a cone shape with points top and bottom.
  9. Flip the folded napkin over from bottom to top (revealing the folds all pointing down)
  10. Starting at the top, fold up the layers, tucking each layer under the layer above (note: only the top layer won’t be tucked under a layer)
  11. Decorate with a flower or a star using a straight pin.
  12. Place on a simple white place with a rustic charger.
  13. Tip: A napkin Christmas tree adds a rustic touch to your place setting

Directions for a formal setting: we are using a fine damask napkin to form a fancy pouch for the silverware

  1. Open the napkin to a full square
  2. Fold vertically in half from left to right
  3. Make sure corners match and smooth the seam down with your fingers
  4. Fold in half from bottom to top (open edges away from you – to the right)
  5. Smooth seams with your fingers.
  6. Take top layer from the upper right edge and fold it diagonally down to the left. (fold until you have reached half way then stop and smooth fold)
  7. Repeat with the next 2 layers
  8. When you have 3 folds and one layer still flat, turn the napkin over (place one hand underneath and one hand on top to keep folds intact)
  9. Keeping napkin squared in front of you, fold the right half from right to left until it meets the center. (continue to smooth and press folds with your fingers)
  10. Fold the left side (from left to right) all the way over on top of the right forming a neat package
  11. Turn the entire unit over and smooth folds
  12. Slip silverware into pouch

Watch the Video >>

Return to Episode Guide >>

Click here to get your copy of Cristina Ferrare's cookbook, "Big Bowl of Love." Get additional recipes from Cristina at

Get more great recipes and crafts by visiting us on Pinterest at and follow "Home & Family" on Twitter @homeandfamilytv and Facebook. Plus, check out our YouTube channel for backstage videos.