Bring the grace and elegance of the swan to your dinner table.

How to Fold a Napkin Into a Swan

by Momi Awana

It takes a lot of energy to plan a dinner party with guests, but it won't take much time or money to dress up the table with folded swan napkins. The process is simple enough to get your kids involved, which keeps them busy and out of your hair while you prepare the menu. When complete, the final product evokes all the elegance of a fine dining restaurant. With the addition of a piece of aluminum foil inside the napkin, the swan napkins remain crisp and upright until they are unfolded. When complete, display these gorgeously folded napkins directly on your guests' plates to add a touch of dining panache to your table.

Cut a square of aluminum foil to fit inside the square of the napkin. Be sure it is about 1 inch smaller than the border of the napkin all the way around. Place the foil in the center of the napkin.

Set the napkin in front of you on the table. First, fold it in half downward, forming a rectangle. Fold it once more in half, this time to the right, forming a square that is quarter the size of the napkin. Run your fingernail along all creases to ensure the foil inside the napkin retains the proper shape.

Rotate the square 45 degrees clockwise so that it looks like a diamond with the open corners facing you. Take the left corner of the diamond and fold in half to to meet the right corner to create a vertical middle fold line. Unfold the left corner back into the position of the diamond. Following the same steps to make a paper airplane, now bring the left point of the diamond to the middle fold line, ensuring that its edge runs along the vertical line of the napkin. Repeat this for the right side of the napkin. When finished with this step, the napkin has a sharp point at the top with a triangle point at the bottom. It should resemble an upside-down ice cream cone.

Fold the top left and right sides once more toward the middle fold again, reducing the width of the diamond shape.

Take the topmost point of the napkin and fold it in half toward you. Crease into place.

Bend the sharpest tip of the napkin over your finger to create the swan's head and bill. Fold the sides of the diamond down a bit, so that the neck fold remains outside the body.

Pull the layers from the open end upward to evoke the folded wings and tail feathers of the swan. Fluff it out with your fingers.

Items you will need

  • Square Napkins
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Scissors


  • Use lacy or patterned napkins for increased visual interest.


  • Cut the aluminum squares for your children to avoid accidents with scissors, unless they are old enough to do it themselves.

About the Author

Since 2003, Momi Awana's writing has been featured in "The Hawaii Independent," "Tradewinds" and "Eternal Portraits." She served as a communications specialist at the Hawaii State Legislature and currently teaches writing classes at her library. Awana holds a Master of Arts in English from University of Hawaii, Mānoa.

Photo Credits

  • Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images