Napkin ring is a circular band used to hold a particular person's napkin neatly before a meal begins. We are offering the plan for wooden napkin ring in several variations.

Napkin rings or serviette rings are today generally used on a table set for formal dining as an elegant decoration, or when folded napkins are impractical because of lack of time or resources, but their origin was based on completely different, practical reasons. The napkin made from fabric has been known since the time of the Roman Empire. It served the Romans to wipe their mouth and fingers after the meal. In the following centuries, the napkin has come out of use and then become used again only in the in late middle ages, and in the 16th Century has gradually become common on the table. In those times, the napkins usually weren't washed after each use – they were used several times and then washed together with other laundry only once a week. Because of that, around the year of 1800 the French bourgeoisie invented the napkin rings. Each member of the household had different kind of napkin ring, so he/she could recognize it and use only his/her own napkin. 


Napkin ring plan
Project difficulty
Skill level
for advanced beginners
Level of workshop equipment

D 46mm (1.81'') x L45mm (1.77'')


The dining etiquette prescribes that the fabric napkin is spread on the lap just before serving of the first course, and the napkin ring is being put aside to the upper left of the place setting. Fabric napkins are used in the case of a formal dinner, while paper napkins are used for a casual every day meal. The paper napkins should not be spread on the lap – instead they are placed next to the plates during the meal, and the napkin rings are never used with them. Different cultures around the world impose different rules of the table manners. For example, in some societies people do not use napkins at all, and instead they are washing hands in the special bowls, while in the other parts of the world the table can not be imagined without the napkins. While setting the serving utensils on a table, the napkins can be folded in different ways, or it can be placed in the napkin ring and putted on a clean and empty plate. It also could be placed right next to the plate - in USA usually from the left, and in Europe from the right side of the plate. Also, the etiquette prescribing where to put the napkin after the meal is not the same in all countries. Sometimes you will find an instruction to place napkin loosely on the table and do not refold your napkin, but don't wad it up either. In other cases, you should put the napkin back into the napkin ring, so the host could easily collect them when clearing away the table. However, it should never be placed into the dirty plate or on your chair.


Napkin ring (Version 1) - Drawing
Napkin ring (Version 2) - Drawing
Napkin ring (Version 3) - Drawing


In the times when the napkin rings were invented, wealth and status of the family was presented by the amount of silverware on the table. Therefore, the napkin rings were initially made out of silver. Since that period, when these objects had material and not just the practical value, the napkin rings become common and popular gift, especially for christenings, weddings or the celebration of silver wedding. Today the napkin rings can be made out of various materials such as cloth, glass, porcelain, bone, metal, wood, plastic and even paper.

Today’s aesthetic function of napkin ring evokes the imagination of artists and designers to carve and depict them, to make them by combining various materials or to add various decorations to them, so that they can fit into any decor and this way they are often representing a real miniature works of art. On the market you can even find plain wooden or plastic rings, which can be painted or decorated by the buyers taste.

After you manufacture the napkin rings by our plans, you can easily modify the design we suggested and make a few more rings by your taste, but keep in mind that the napkin rings are mostly made in approximate dimensions of 3 cm high and 5cm in diameter. Each ring is made out from a single piece of wood.

The napkin rings in our plans are made with woodturning or hand carving technique. You can make napkin rings out of various types of wood. Since their function is generally decorative, we recommend that you use some figured wood. On the market there are also napkin rings made out of tropical, exotic wood types. The reason for this is that the wood craft in India is well developed, and they make wooden items out of local wood types. However, we do not recommend you to purchase some expensive imported wood type to create these kinds of objects, but to look around the workshop and find some nice pieces of scrap wood and use them. After you make the rings, you should sand them so they will become smooth and then you can varnish them to highlight the beauty of wood, or you can paint them to match the colors of your tablecloth and other details you use when setting up the formal dinner.

Maintain your napkin rings by wiping them with a damp cloth. Keep them in a dry place.


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Submitted by Ceh Jan