Best Napkin Folding Books For Elegant Table SettingThis post contains affiliate links; if you buy something we get a small commission at no extra cost to you
An elegant home is all about the details. Napkin folding is an art that doesn’t take long to learn but can add a brilliant touch of class to your home decor.
There is a lot of info online but if you really want to dive into napkin folding you’ll want a book to cover everything. And in this post I’ll share the best books covering the art of napkin folding for decorative dining experiences.
The Simple Art of Napkin Folding
In this book author Linda Hetzer walks you through The Simple Art of Napkin Folding: 94 Fancy Folds for Every Tabletop. It totals 128 pages with styles for every occasion.
You’ll learn how to design napkin folds from the extremely simple(bows, triangles) to the insanely complex(wheels, squares, flowers). Linda bases her teaching on the ideals found in party planning and high-class restaurants where folded napkins are practically the norm.
But other folds can get silly for children’s parties or just for entertaining your kids. There’s something here for the whole family!
Early chapters walk you through the basics of napkin folding and what you need to know. This includes the best materials for your napkins and even a few chapters on cleaning up after the meal is finished.
I absolutely recommend Linda’s book as it’s the perfect resource to go from a complete novice to a napkin origami professional.
Complete Illustrated Book of Napkins and Napkin Folding
Photos and illustrations always clarify the technical process of learning something new. And the Complete Illustrated Book of Napkins and Napkin Folding offers a detailed look at some of the world’s fanciest folds you’ll ever attempt.
With over 1000+ photographs and dozens of custom folds you’ll learn the art of napkin folding in full color like it’s never been seen before.
British origami expert Rick Beech has years of experience doing origami and knows his way around fabrics. He’s taught dozens of workshops on origami and home decorating which makes him quite an expert on this topic.
His book offers a whopping 260 pages of advice, techniques, and plenty of photos to help you move through napkin folds from step one to completion.
Creative Napkins and Table Settings
For a more recent book on this topic you might enjoy Jimmy Ng’s Creative Napkins and Table Settings. This delves a bit deeper into table decor explaining how to set your table to draw an audience.
Early chapters cover simple napkin folds but later you’ll find advanced techniques aimed at specific events & holidays. Jimmy includes napkin folds for home parties, wedding receptions, or fun picnics you can take outside.
You’ll learn about matching colors, fabrics, silverware, and ultimately creating an experience that your dinner guests will remember for years to come.
A brilliant book for any homemaker or even as a gift for that creative person in your family.
The bluntly titled Napkin Origami by Brian Sawyer gets right to the meat & potatoes. You’ll learn what makes great origami and how shapes come together to form incredible works of art.
Brian’s techniques borrow from many sources, most of which originate from the Japanese pastime of origami. He shares tips on folding different fabrics including the subtleties of paper vs fabric napkin folding.
Flowers, swans, shells, and even the shirt & tie design are just some of the folds you’ll learn in this book. With 128 pages this spans a decent length and covers everything you’ll need to practice the common folds and even invent your own.
Perfect Table Settings
Napkins are but one piece of a well-set table. The DIY guide Perfect Table Settings dives deep into the art of napkin folding and table setting.
Both of these techniques can be related and they’re worth studying no matter what type of home you have. The book’s author Denise Vivaldo is a classically trained chef & caterer with over 30 years experience.
She packs her knowledge into this book covering festive decor ideas for every holiday and major home events. Design tips include centerpieces, linen, tablecloths, silverware and of course napkin folding.
In total you’ll get 100 napkin folds with clear instructions to follow for each one.
By the end of this book you’ll know how to create amazing napkins along with an amazing tabletop.
Top 100 Step-by-Step Napkin Folds
When it comes to learning something new you’ll always want a step-by-step approach. That’s the beauty of Denise’s other book Top 100 Step-by-Step Napkin Folds.
It focuses solely on napkin folding over 224 pages of detailed instructions.
The book splits napkin folds into three sections: easy, intermediate, and advanced.
Every single fold includes a series of photos along with clear instructions on what to do.
Anybody could pick up this book and follow through to create incredible napkin folds. They aren’t very difficult to learn, but they can take a lot of repetition to master. And with this book at your side you’ll have a much easier time tearing through these exercises to become a napkin folding ninja.
The Art of Napkin Folding
You can take napkins so much further than simple folds on your table. In The Art of Napkin Folding you’ll learn all the basics of folding shapes and custom styles along with tons of extra tips for decorating your tabletop.
This book includes 20 step-by-step napkin folding tutorials made for the complete beginner. These folds include baskets for food and rings for silverware. Decorative shapes can work into the experience too!
Later chapters cover embroidering and monogramming napkins for special occasions like baby showers or Christmas dinners.
You’ll learn a heck of a lot more than simple napkin folding with this book. It’ll take your interest in origami and blow that up into outer space to show you just how much is possible in table setting.
Susan Bonser’s Napkin Tricks is a super-short yet incredibly fun intro to napkin folding. It only has 46 pages but it’s simple enough that anybody can follow along.
This guide was made for all ages so even your children can get in on the fun. Susan teaches a handful of simple designs that just barely scratch the surface. But they do prepare you for more advanced napkin folding techniques you can learn in the future.
If you’re looking for a detailed guide then this is not it.
Rather this is a super short intro for anyone who just wants to learn the basics for themselves or their kids.
Napkins: The Art of Folding, Adorning & Embellishing
For a much more detailed guide I highly recommend Andrea Spencer’s Napkins: The Art of Folding, Adorning & Embellishing.
Andrea has her roots in home styles and editing home decor magazines. Her years of experience carry over into this fantastic book on napkin design techniques.
Every unique fold has its own step-by-step diagram with arrows to show you how to fold. These diagrams make it so much easier to create napkins that look beautiful and teach you the movements without frustration.
Aside from the illustrated diagrams you’ll also get photos of each fold when completed. This way you can gauge your work against these photos to see where you went wrong or what to fix.
This is perhaps the clearest book on napkin folding for complete beginners. It does hold your hand but it also leaves room to try and keep improving. Anybody can pick up this book and learn how to fold napkins given enough patience and time to practice.
Elegant Napkin Folding
Elegant Napkin Folding covers 112 pages of detailed instructions for creating the brightest dazzling napkin folds ever.
You’ll learn many basic techniques used for place setting, but this book also covers advanced techniques for ornaments and centerpieces. If you don’t have money for a detailed centerpiece then why not make one?
Napkin folding is the perfect addition to any meal and this book can get you up & running quick.
If you already love entertaining at home then you’ll pick up the lessons in this book and go far with them. Plus many of these folds are unique to this book so they can’t be found in any other publication.
Table Settings: 100 Creative Styling Ideas
Author Tessa Evelegh shares her craft expertise in Table Settings: 100 Creative Styling Ideas.
This book looks at table settings and overall setups beyond simple napkin folding. But of course it does have plenty of lessons inside, albeit much shorter than other books here.
After reading through this book you’ll walk away with so much knowledge on place setting and well-crafted dining experiences. Tessa shares her advice on 20 different themes from simple minimalism to art deco and ethnic African aesthetics.
You’ll glean so much more from this book than just napkin origami techniques. It feels more like a user’s manual for creating a beautiful dining experience in any style you like.
100 Classic Napkin Folds
The ultimate napkin folding book for depth and clarity is 100 Classic Napkin Folds by Rick Beech. I mentioned him earlier in a previous book that covered more about home decor, but this one certainly takes the cake for napkin folding.
Rick’s expertise shines through in the writing style which can make you feel right at home. He explains how to perform each fold step-by-step with photos to guide you along the way.
Plus Rick also shares advice on which folds go best with certain fabrics or design ideas. Both photos and text accompany every step so anyone should be able to follow along with ease.
The best note on this book is the practicality of these exercises. You really can pick up napkins from your home and immediately start working through these lessons from start to finish.
Regardless of how much you want to learn or what level of detail you care about, I guarantee one of the books in this list can help you get started.
I’m a big fan of the Top 100 Step-by-Step Napkin Folds title because it’s packed to the brim with photos and covers a wide variety of styles. But all of these books deserve to be listed as the best napkin folding resources, and no matter what book you start reading your table is bound to look gorgeous by the end.