How to Make Origami

Seven Methods:Origami FlowersOrigami AnimalsDecorative OrigamiDollar Bill OrigamiPractical OrigamiModular OrigamiPlayful Origami

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The art of origami began in Japan after monks brought paper from China in the sixth century. Origami continued to maintain its religious and ceremonial character until the 1600s. As paper began to be mass-produced and as it became more affordable, paper folding became a popular recreational activity throughout Japanese culture. Today, origami is popular throughout the world. If you’d like to make some origami paper art of your own, here are some patterns to try.

Method 1
Origami Flowers

Flowers are perhaps the most popular origami subject, and can be used as gifts or for many decorative purposes.

  1. Image titled Make a Kusudama Flower Step 17 preview
    Make a Kusudama Flower. A pretty kusudama flower can be made by folding five or six square pieces of paper.
  2. Image titled Make a Kusudama Ball Step 12 preview
    Make a Kusudama Ball. Make this delightful kusudama ball from 12 kusudama flower. Kusudama balls were traditionally used for incense or potpourri.
  3. Image titled Fold a Paper Rose Step 20 preview
    Make an origami rose. Fold these pretty paper roses from colorful square pieces of paper. You can combine several of them to make attractive decorations for holiday gifts.
  4. Image titled Make an Abstract Origami Lotus Step 8 preview
    Make an abstract origami lotus flower. For an unusual take on the lotus flower, make the abstract, modern version.
  5. Image titled Make a Paper Orchid Step 17 preview
    Make a delicate paper orchid. You can fold an orchid like this from a single sheet of paper.
  6. Image titled Fold an Origami Lily Step 13 preview
    Make a paper lily. You can fold a beautiful flower to give to people, or simply keep for yourself.

Method 2
Origami Animals

Animals are one of the most popular subjects for origami.

  1. Image titled Fold a Paper Crane Step 19 preview
    Make an origami paper crane. According to ancient Japanese legend, if you fold 1000 of these cranes, you will have created a senbazuru. A senbazuru is said to bestow luck and fortune onto its recipient and it will grant you any wish you desire.
  2. Image titled Fold a Traditional Origami Swan Step 13 preview
    Create your own origami swan. This is a beautiful piece to use as a placeholder for dinner parties, or as a way to decorate homemade gifts.
  3. Image titled Make Origami Dragons Step 9 preview
    Create an origami dragon. This is a more intricate design, but once you've mastered the crane, this design only requires a few additional folds.
  4. Image titled Make a Butterfly Origami Step 14 preview
    Make a butterfly origami. A butterfly origami is a fun shape for spring and summer gift giving. You can also mount multicolored butterflies on a window, mirror, bulletin board or lampshade.
  5. Image titled Make an Origami Flapping Bird Step 12 preview
    Make an origami flapping bird. This design is a variation of the swan and gives the bird flapping wings.
  6. Image titled Make an Origami Jumping Frog Step 16 preview
    Make an origami jumping frog to make your own homemade action toy.
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    How to Fold an Origami Parrot. A parrot is fun and decorative and is great for kids with a lot of imagination.

Method 3
Decorative Origami

Some origami is created to be purely decorative. These paper trinkets can be hung in a room or attached to a gift as an original addition to traditional packaging. Choose brightly colored paper so that the decoration will stand out from a neutral background.

  1. Image titled Make Origami Paper Lantern Intro
    Make an origami paper lantern. An origami paper lantern can make a singular decoration on its own. You can also fold multiple paper lanterns in multiple colors and string them together as a party decoration.
  2. Image titled Make a 3D Paper Snowflake Step 12
    Make a 3-D paper snowflake. While this is technically a modular piece, its use is more decorative than geometric in nature. Hang these snowflakes or attach them to a window for a unique winter decoration.
  3. Image titled Make an Origami Pinwheel Step 12
    Make an origami pinwheel. After you fold the pinwheel, push a straight pin through the center and into a pencil or a chopstick. When you blow on the pinwheel, it will spin. You can also place a pinwheel in your garden so that it can catch the wind.
  4. Image titled Make an Origami Pocket Heart Intro
    Make an origami pocket heart. This heart contains a pocket on the top that can be used to hold a letter, a piece of candy or jewelry. Since sticky notes come in a variety of bright and beautiful colors, you can use a sticky note as the basis for your origami heart.
  5. Image titled Fold an Origami Envelope Intro
    Fold an origami envelope. An origami envelope is made from a square piece of paper. The larger the piece of paper you use, the larger your envelope will be.

Method 4
Dollar Bill Origami

Dollar bill folding became popular in the 1950s and remains popular because the art utilizes a medium that most people have on-hand. Folded money can be left as a tip in a restaurant or given as a wedding gift. Different bills from different countries will have different sizes, so instructions for folding a Canadian dollar, for instance, may vary slightly from instructions for an American dollar.

  1. Image titled TriangularDollar Intro
    Make a triangle out of a dollar bill. When you fold the triangle, choose a crisp dollar bill that is not worn, and choose one that has not been folded often.
  2. Image titled Fold a Dollar Into a Heart Intro
    Fold a dollar into a heart shape. Fold a $20 bill into a heart shape to give as a gift, or fold a dollar into a heart shape to give to a child for a birthday or other special event.
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    Fold a dollar bill to make a finger ring. You don’t have to give your love an expensive ring to demonstrate your affection. This pattern ensures that the number on the bill faces outward on the “gem” portion of the ring.
  4. Image titled Make a Dollar Bill Rose Step 7 preview
    Make a Dollar Bill Rose. A tool many people have on hand, a dollar bill rose is the perfect, romantic gift for Valentine's Day!

Method 5
Practical Origami

Origami has many practical purposes. Make popcorn cups out of paper for a party, for instance, or make origami boxes in which to hold jewelry or desktop office supplies.

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    Fold a paper box. When you finish, you can use this paper box to organize any number of small items on a dresser or desktop. You can also use this paper box as a presentation medium for a gift.
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    Fold a divider for an origami box. This pattern divides the paper box into four equal units. This technique creates the perfect box for organizing beads, scrap booking supplies or jewelry.
  3. Image titled Make an Origami Photo Frame Intro
    Make an origami photo frame. This photo frame can be made from paper in a variety of colors to add a special touch to a photograph. String multiple photo frames together and hang them as a wall arrangement.
  4. Image titled PaperCandyHolder Intro
    Make a paper candy holder. This paper cone is perfect for holding wrapped candy or popcorn. Use brightly colored, patterned paper to match your other party decorations.

Method 6
Modular Origami

Modular origami requires 2 or more pieces of paper, which are then folded into shapes that are called “units” or “modules.” The finished modules are then attached together to form the finished product, which is usually geometric in nature.

  1. Image titled Origami Espiral (Design by Tomoko Fuse)
    Fold an Espiral. An espiral is created from 4 pieces of paper and forms a 3-dimensional spiral shape when completed.
  2. Image titled The Japanese Brocade
    Fold a Japanese brocade. A Japanese brocade consists of six pieces of paper. The pieces of paper are joined into a cube, which is then tweaked to become a ball.
  3. Image titled Fold a Penultimate Module Intro
    Fold a penultimate module. Multiple penultimate modules can be attached together to form complex geometric shapes. This article will teach you how to fold a penultimate module, and the video at the end will teach you to attach the pieces together to form a 30-piece dodecahedron.
  4. Image titled Make a Sonobe Unit Intro
    Make a sonobe unit. The sonobe unit forms the basis for a wide variety of geometric shapes. After you fold the basic unit, you can then complete several variations to make a variety of polyhedrons.

Method 7
Playful Origami

Kids of all ages can fold origami creations to enhance play or just to have a little fun. These creations range from a paper Samurai helmet to a traditional Ninja throwing star.

  1. Image titled Make a Paper Airplane Intro
    Make a paper airline. This is one of the most common origami designs and has many different variations.
  2. Image titled Make an Origami Samurai Helmet Intro
    Make an origami Samurai helmet. This project is modeled after a two-horned kabuto helmet, which has two horns and is intended to represent the mythical entity of the wearer’s choice.
  3. Image titled Make a Paper Army Tank Intro
    Make a paper army tank. While this design is made with white paper, you can use brown, Army green or camouflage origami paper for a more decorative finished piece.
  4. Image titled Shuriken
    Fold a Shuriken star. A Shuriken star, or Ninja star, can be made from regular 8-1/2” x 11” paper or construction paper. Place the finished star, or multiple finished stars, in your hand and throw them like a Frisbee.

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