I’ve seen a lot of turkey napkin folds online recently, but this perky turkey is special because he’s the perfect size for a centerpiece. My turkey has made such a great addition to my dining room table that I feel the need to name the little guy. I can’t name him Tom Turkey because Tom is my cat’s name. And I don’t feel right about calling him Jake either, because that’s my son’s name. I guess I’ll go with Perky Turkey because he seems pretty enthusiastic about hanging out on my dining room table. Especially since he’s not the main course;-)
What you’ll need:
- 5 autumn-colored napkins for the “turkey feathers”
- 1 pipe cleaner or large rubber band
- Straight pins with small heads
- 1 gourd (hopefully in the shape of a turkey body;-)
- 1 drinking glass approximately 3-1/2″ – 4″ tall
- 1 napkin to surround the drinking glass
- 1 cork 12″ square tile for the base (optional)
- 1 napkin for the base (optional)
You might not need a base, but I opted to use one so my gobble doesn’t wobble. That’s because I found a gourd that has a perfect face but, unfortunately, also has a big, round bottom. Story of my life. So, I bought a package of 4 cork tiles at JoAnn Fabrics. They were only $6.99 and that was before I used one of their 40% off coupons.
- First, center a napkin on top of the cork tile. I chose the beautiful copper-colored crinkle napkin I’ve been using all fall. I just love it!
- Next, position the gourd on top of the napkin – sort of in the center and a little bit towards the front.
- Finally, insert 3 straight pins up through the bottom of the cork tile right into your turkey’s bottom. It took me a couple of stabs to get them in the right spot, but they seem to be holding up Perky Turkey just fine. Sorry you can’t see the pins in the photo. Just make sure your pins don’t have huge, round heads or they won’t sit flat on your table.
The Napkin Fold
For this step, you’ll need 5 different fall-colored napkins. I chose goldenrod, copper, moss green, burnt orange, and aubergine.
- Fold each napkin in half lengthwise.
- Lay them on top of each other with the folded edges offset by about 3/4″.
- Place two straight pins through all layers of napkins – one on each side – to stabilize the napkins. They’ll be removed later.
- Do an accordian fold using both your hands. I also used the surface of the table to help me keep it all together. Don’t worry about the gussying up the pleats on the top while you’re folding. You can fan them out later.
- While keeping one hand securely around the middle of your accordian-folded napkins, wrap a pipe cleaner (or rubber band) around the center. Make it tight.
- Remove your hand and use it to pat yourself on the back. You’ve just completed the hardest step of this whole process;-)
Putting it all together
I tried to figure out how to attach the folded napkins to the gourd directly, but it never looked quite right and the “feathers” didn’t want to stand up. In other words, Perky wasn’t looking very perky. So I tried using a short drinking glass as a container for the bottom of the napkins. It worked great. I decided to cover the glass with another napkin so that it blended in to the arrangement. Here’s what to do:
- Fold your napkin so that it is slightly taller than your glass. For me, that meant folding it in half lengthwise twice. Since it’s a 20″ x 20″ napkin, folding it twice made it about 5″ tall by 20″ long. My glass was between 3-1/2″ and 4″ tall, so that worked great.
- Wrap the folded napkin around the glass several times. I used a binder clip to help me keep the napkin attached to the rim of the glass. Use a straight pin to secure it on the back – but hide the pin if you can.
- Place the bottom of the pleated napkins into your glass. You might have to fold it a little bit depending on your glass. This would be a good time to remove the straight pins and fan out your pleats to get them just the way you want them.
- Tuck the excess napkin down into the top of the glass. This will hide all the raw edges and help stabilize the folded napkins.
- Finally, set the ” turkey feathers” down behind the gourd body and prepare to be complimented.
Although I didn’t do it, you could add eyes to your turkey using two straight pins that have round, black heads. I didn’t bother adding a wattle or a snood either because, between you and me, they’re not the most attractive parts of a turkey body. As a matter of fact, I take great pains not to look at fleshy lobes hanging from necks, especially when I’m standing front of a mirror. However your folded napkin turkey centerpiece turns out, I hope you agree that this is a quick and easy do-it-yourself napkin folding project that’ll look great on your Thanksgiving table.