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Turkey Napkin Fold

This Thanksgiving place setting is made from three linen napkins—two for the fan of tail feathers and one for the head and breast (which is stiffened with aluminum foil).

folded turkey napkins with two candles on table

Source: Martha Stewart Living, November 2001


Done properly, this task adds an impressive personalized touch to the table. A linen or cotton dinner napkin will work for this origami-inspired idea, so long as it's starched and ironed.


For more ideas, scroll through our entire collection of Thanksgiving crafts.


  • 3 square napkins

  • Aluminum foil

  • Double-sided tape

  • Craft scissors


  1. Start with a square napkin.

    turkey unfolded orange napkin step one
  2. Fold a napkin in half diagonally, and press; press all folds as you go.

    turkey folded triangle orange napkin step two
  3. Open napkin. Fold in the left side to meet at center crease.

    turkey folded orange napkin step three
  4. Repeat for right side, folding the napkin into quarters and forming an upside-down kite shape.

    turkey folded diamond shape orange napkin step four
  5. To make the turkey's breast and head, shape a folded piece of aluminum foil into a triangle; fit it into napkin as shown. The height of the foil triangle should allow for a bend at the bottom to keep napkin upright (about 3/4 length of napkin measured diagonally between opposite corners).

    turkey unfolded small piece line indents orange napkin step five
  6. Fold left side of napkin over foil to meet at center crease.

    turkey left side fold orange napkin step six
  7. Fold in again, layering napkin over foil.

    turkey left right fold orange napkin step seven
  8. Repeat for right side.

    turkey thin diamond fold orange napkin step eight
  9. Tuck in bottom point to make a straight horizontal line. 

    turkey thin triangle fold orange napkin step nine
  10. Fold napkin in half. Curve napkin point into a head with open edges in back (if napkin has a colored border, the head will appear to have a beak).

    turkey triangle with head point orange napkin step ten
  11. Open bottom part of napkin, leaving head folded. Bend napkin and foil so turkey head sits upright on a plate.

    turkey head napkin orange napkin step eleven
  12. To make a fanned tail, start with a second napkin.

    turkey unfolded yellow napkin step twelve
  13. Fold napkin in half. Accordion-fold into 1-inch pleats.

    turkey half folded bottom fold yellow napkin step thirteen
  14. Grasp folded napkin in the center; fold into a fan. Open one side of fan; use doubled-sided tape to bind the two ends of center pleat.

    turkey yellow napkin fold step fourteen
  15. To make a double fan, start with a third napkin.

    turkey unfolded red napkin step fifteen
  16. Fold napkin into thirds. Accordion-fold into 1-inch pleats.

    turkey left bottom side fold red napkin step sixteen
  17. Grasp folded napkin in the center; fold into a fan. Open one side, so it is taller than the first fan; use doubled-sided tape to bind the two ends of center pleat.

    turkey shape red napkin folded step seventeen
  18. Place one or both napkins behind turkey head and breast.

    turkey shaped folded napkins above view step eighteen
  19. Display folded napkins as a place setting for the table.

    turkey folded red yellow napkins on plate

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