How to Fold Roses Out of Cloth Napkins

Updated on September 26, 2019
Julia Eppehimer profile image

I love giving tips on how to make beautiful decorations out of common items.

Roses folded out op napkins, and other common napkin folds.
Roses folded out op napkins, and other common napkin folds. | Source

Because Roses Are so Much Cooler Than Normal Napkins

I learned quite a few useful tidbits when I worked in the dining hall in college. Most of the kids gave up after a night in the dishroom. Silly kids, they'll never know what they were missing. For instance, they never learned this super fancy impressive trick of folding napkins in the shape of roses.

Bandits always leave their mark at the houses they rob (at least according to Home Alone), and I always leave my mark when I go out to eat. Literally every restaurant, dining hall, or wedding I go to that has cloth napkins, I always leave roses on the table. I can't help myself.

We all have our hobbies. And if you follow these simple instructions, you can leave roses wherever you go too!


  • Starched napkins will hold their shape better than regular cloth napkins.
  • Try using different colored napkins to add more character and creativity.

Fold the napkin over and backwards like an accordion.
Fold the napkin over and backwards like an accordion. | Source

Fold It Like an Accordion

To begin, spread out your napkin in front of you. Fold over about an inch of the cloth. Then fold the same amount of cloth backwards, the other way. Continue to alternate the side to which you fold the cloth, so that the whole napkin ends up folded like an accordion.

Roll It Up Halfway

Roll the napkin halfway. It's halfway on its way to becoming a rose!
Roll the napkin halfway. It's halfway on its way to becoming a rose! | Source

We're on a Roll

Once your napkin has been folded into an accordion, it should look like a long, one-inch strip. It's ok if your napkin was not folded absolutely perfectly and some of the folds don't line up evenly. It just needs to be approximate.

Now you are are going to hold one end of your napkin, and begin to roll the other end in toward the center. I always start with the right side. I will hold down the left side, and roll the right side toward the left in a small circle.

Roll until it is about halfway to the left side.

The final steps of folding a cloth napkin into a rose.
The final steps of folding a cloth napkin into a rose. | Source

We're Almost There!

This part is a little tricky. It took me a couple of tries to get it right, and lucky me, I had someone standing right next to me to show me how to do it. I still have trouble at this point sometimes, and have to start over. Fret not.

Do you have your napkin rolled up halfway? Good. Now take the end of the napkin that is not rolled and pull it down and to the right. Wrap it around the rolled up portion of the napkin, as far as it will go. You do not have to pull it too tightly; just pull it gently, and then tuck the end of it into one of the folds in the center. You want to stick it into the fold to make sure it stays in place.

This is going to be the bottom of our rose, so it can look a little sloppy. We have just wrapped one side of the "extra" napkin around the "rolled" napkin, and tucked the end of it into the folds to hold it in place. Sometimes when I make napkins in a hurry, or just fold them too loosely, the little part I tucked in falls out, but since this is the bottom of the flower, it will stay in place once it is flipped over. Don't worry too much about everything staying in its place.

Now, if you'll notice in the picture, some part of the napkin which was neither rolled nor tucked is sort of fanned out to the left. We are going to take the end of that part of the napkin, and wrap it around the rose in the opposite of the direction we just did. So take the end and pull it up and around the rose. Then you find a spot to tuck it in, just like you did with the other end.

Did You Get It?

A rose folded out of a cloth napkin.
A rose folded out of a cloth napkin. | Source

Two More Folds

Now that it is all folded together, flip it over. Feel free to fluff it out a bit to your liking. I promise that the flower police are not going to come and inspect it. Just do whatever you need to make it look good.

Did you get it? It's quite easy to just shake out the napkin and try again, so don't be afraid to do it a couple of times until you've got it just the way you want it. I've been making them for years, and I still have to start over sometimes.

But once you've got the roses down, now we can have even more fun. I am going to show you two more simple folds that you can make along with the roses, to add to their character.

The first one is the easiest fold ever, and you will most likely find it at a fancy dinner or wedding reception wrapped around the silverware. I actually learned how to do this for the place settings at the banquets we hosted, but I liked to fold it around my roses because I thought it looked like a bouquet.

It's great to try these out with different colored napkins. I always used green for the "bouquet" one, but unfortunately at home, I am very lacking in my supply of various hued napkins. Once you learn how to fold napkins, set your imagination free and be creative!

The Classic Fold (Which Probably Has a Very Classic Name, of Which I Am Quite Unaware)

The first two steps of the classic napkin fold.
The first two steps of the classic napkin fold. | Source

A Very Easy Fold

Are you ready? Did you master the rose fold? If you did, you have nothing to fear from this one. It is simple, easy, and straightforward.

First set the napkin in front of you like a diamond, so that one point is at the top.

Take the bottom point and fold it up toward the top point, like a triangle. Fold it almost to the top, but not quite (see the picture).

Next you fold each of the two sides in to the top point. Again, fold them almost, but not quite, to the top. They do not have to line up perfectly, but try to make them line up as much as you can.

The almost final step of the classic napkin fold.
The almost final step of the classic napkin fold. | Source

You're Going to Flip for It

First off, I apologize for all the puns in the titles. I guess that's another thing that I can't help.

Now, you have the three corners of your napkin folded up to almost meet the top corner. In this step, we are going to flip it over. Don't just take it by the side and flip it to the other side. When I say flip, I mean completely, upside down, flipped over.

Ok, maybe not quite so dramatic, but here's what you do. Take the bottom tip of the napkin and flip it over, so that the bottom is now the top, and the side that was facing us is now facing the table. So the side facing you has not yet been folded, but we will soon change that.

Take what is now the bottom point of the napkin and fold it up toward the center. It should now look like the above picture.

All that's left now is to fold it in half. Then place it over your silverware. Or your rose. Or wherever else you can think of putting it.

The Final Product

The classic folded napkin.
The classic folded napkin. | Source
The rose, nestled in the classic fold.
The rose, nestled in the classic fold. | Source

And One More

This one's a bit trickier, but I love the way it looks with a rose in the center of it. It's called the waterlily.

The Waterlily and Rose Folds

A rose placed in the center of the waterlily fold.
A rose placed in the center of the waterlily fold. | Source
Steps 1 and 2 of the waterlily fold.
Steps 1 and 2 of the waterlily fold. | Source

The Waterlily

For this one, spread the napkin out in front of you, and then bring each of the four corners into the center. Try to get them to align as evenly as possible, but they won't be perfect.

Next, flip it over so that all of the folds are now on the bottom.

You're going to do the same thing you just did, fold each of the corners into the center. Except this time, when you fold them up, they will also be folded down the middle from the previous fold (see picture). That's ok, it just looks a little fancier than it did a minute ago. These are the "petals."

The final step in the waterlily napkin fold.
The final step in the waterlily napkin fold. | Source

The Final Steps

Now you are going to reach under the petals, and pull out the tip of the napkin that is folded underneath. When you pull out all four "tips," it will look like there is a little "leaf" sticking out from under each of your petals.

And if you've managed to do that, congratulations! You've managed to master all of the cloth napkin folds that I know!


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    • Shelley Weingaert profile image

      Shelley Weingaertner 

      4 years ago from New Mexico

      I have only been able to fold crowns so I very much enjoyed this. Thanks for sharing

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 

      4 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Congrats on HOTD! Most interesting, and something fun to try. My younger daughter went through a phase where she liked to fold napkins in a fancy way. (She worked a couple of summers busing tables at a rather upscale restaurant, so she learned some of the fancy folds.)

      I usually use paper napkins at home; I don't like extra laundry. LOL But I imagine some of these might be possible with the more heavy-duty "fancy" paper napkins.

    • Gaurav Dangi profile image

      Gaurav Dangi 

      4 years ago

      Very nice and Congratulation for HOTD!

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Very nice and congrats !

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 

      4 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Julia, this was beautiful and so easy to do with your instructions and photos to go along with it. Two thumbs up! Congrats on HOTD!

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Back to say congrats on your Hub of the Day award for this tutorial guaranteed to make those who see the result smile.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      4 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Congratulations for HOTD!

      Very interesting and well presented hub. I have made roses from silk ribbons for decorating and sewing on frocks. But I did not know about this trick for cloth napkins.

      Thank you for the illustration. Pinning on my Art board.

    • Julia Eppehimer profile imageAUTHOR

      Julia Rexford 

      4 years ago

      I hope you are able to make them. I tried to explain it, but some things are just so much easier to demonstrate. Let me know how they turn out! :)

    • Rachel L Alba profile image

      Rachel L Alba 

      4 years ago from Every Day Cooking and Baking

      Hi Julia, thank you so much for passing this trick with the napkins on to us. They are so pretty. I think the next time I have company I am going to wow them with your trick. Cool hub.

      Blessings to you.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      4 years ago from USA

      How beautiful. And with your instructions I bet I could do it, too!

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 

      4 years ago from Chicago Area

      Very clever! Sharing here and on Twitter.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Nice, nice, nice, and timely since the holidays are around the corner! Thanks for the napkin folding tutorials. And I'm thinking that many more waitresses will smile as they pick up the tip now that you've shared your idea on leaving a rose napkin… :)


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