Napkin origami is not as popular as traditional paper folding, but knowing a few simple napkin folds is a must for any origami enthusiast. Whether you're throwing an origami-themed party for your friends or just want to add a classy finishing touch to your holiday table setting, knowing napkin folds like the Parasol, Pleat, or Pocket comes in handy. Assuming you already own a set of cloth napkins, mastering a few memorable folds is a very budget friendly way to jazz up your table setting.
If you're looking for a great introduction to napkin folding, I highly recommend adding Top 100 Step-by-Step Napkin Folds to your library of origami reference materials. Written by Denise Vivaldo, a caterer who has worked on events such as the Academy Awards Governor's Ball and Hollywood wrap parties, this book makes it easy to add a "fun but fleeting artistic touch" to your next celebration.
Diversity of Projects
As the title indicates, there is a wide range of projects in Top 100 Step-by-Step Napkin Folds. My personal favorite designs from the book are the Bird's Nest, Bow, and Pinwheel. These are all relatively easy projects that I can see using to add a bit of style to my family's everyday meals.
Most of the projects in the book can be completed in 8 to 10 steps, so none are particularly time consuming. They are clearly labeled as easy, intermediate, or advanced folds and get progressively harder as you work your way through the book.
When looking through Top 100 Step-by-Step Napkin Folds, I suggest paying attention to the type of napkin used to demonstrate each fold. Just as certain origami models look best with specific types of paper, some napkin folds work better with certain types of napkins. The introduction for each project specifies if Vivaldo recommends a solid or patterned napkin, what type of fabric weight is easiest to fold, and if you need to iron or spray starch the napkin before folding. For the best results, do not overlook these crucial details.
The projects featured in Top 100 Step-by-Step Napkin Folds are intended to be made with cloth napkins, but Vivaldo does offer some suggestions for adapting them to use with paper napkins if desired.
Ease of Use
Top 100 Step-by-Step Napkin Folds has a spiral binding that lies flat when the book is opened, making it easy for you to refer to the pictures as you're working on folding a specific model.
The book itself is very nicely organized. There is an alphabetical index of projects in the back of the book, as well as an "Entertaining Diary" where you can write down what types of folds you used for a particular party.
The feature of the book I found the most helpful was the section with thumbnails of each finished project arranged by the type of event where you'd use the fold. For example, the author suggests a Bowtie, Divided Fan, Fortune Cookie, or Fan for a Chinese food banquet. As someone who hasn't doesn't entertain very often, I appreciated the guidance as to how to use the folds to pull together a themed event.
Quality of Illustrations
Top 100 Step-by-Step Napkin Folds has full color photos for every step of the project and is fun to simply flip through for inspiration when you're planing a party.