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Learn the Basics of Origami Folding

Unlock the secrets of origami folding and discover the joy of creating intricate paper masterpieces…

Imagine unlocking the secrets of origami folding and discovering the joy of creating intricate paper masterpieces with just a few simple folds. In this article, we will guide you through the basics of origami folding, introducing you to the fascinating world of this ancient Japanese art form. With easy-to-follow instructions and helpful tips, you will soon be able to transform a plain sheet of paper into beautiful shapes that will amaze both yourself and others. So grab a piece of paper and get ready to embark on a journey of creativity and relaxation with origami folding.

Learn the Basics of Origami Folding

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Materials Needed for Origami Folding

To get started with origami, you will need a few basic materials:

Origami paper

The most essential material for origami is the origami paper itself. Origami paper is typically square-shaped and comes in a variety of colors and patterns. It is specially designed to hold folds well and is thinner and more lightweight than regular paper.


Although origami is traditionally done without the use of scissors, they can be helpful for certain projects that require cutting or trimming the paper. However, if you prefer to stick to the traditional method, you can skip this tool.


A ruler is useful for accurately measuring and marking folds, especially when you need precise measurements for more intricate origami designs. It helps ensure that your folds are straight and even.


Having a pencil on hand allows you to mark your folds lightly, making it easier to follow the instructions and keep track of where each fold should be. It’s also handy for making small adjustments and corrections along the way.

With these basic materials, you’ll be well-prepared to embark on your origami folding journey.

Understanding Basic Origami Symbols

Before diving into the world of origami, it’s important to familiarize yourself with some basic origami symbols. These symbols are used in origami diagrams to represent different types of folds. Here are a few commonly used ones:

Valley fold

A valley fold is represented by a dashed line in origami diagrams. It involves folding the paper inward along the dashed line, creating a “valley” or concave fold.

Mountain fold

On the other hand, a mountain fold is depicted by a solid line. This fold requires folding the paper outward along the solid line, creating a “mountain” or convex fold.

Pleat fold

A pleat fold is shown as a series of alternating dashed and solid lines. This fold involves creating a series of overlapping folds, similar to an accordion.

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By understanding these basic symbols, you’ll be able to follow origami instructions more easily and accurately.

Learning Common Origami Terms

In addition to symbols, there are also some common terminology used in origami instructions that you should be familiar with. Here are a few terms you’re likely to encounter:


The base is the foundational starting shape upon which the rest of the origami model is built. Different bases are used for various origami designs.


A crease is a fold that creates a distinct line on the paper. It is made by pressing firmly along a fold line with your finger or a tool such as a bone folder or the edge of a ruler.


A flap is a portion of the paper that can be moved or folded. Flaps are often used to create various components of an origami model, such as wings or petals.


Sinking a fold involves folding a portion of the paper inward, tucking it underneath another layer of paper. This technique is often used to hide excess paper or create intricate details.


A squash is a fold that involves flattening a portion of the paper by pressing it down. This technique is frequently used to create three-dimensional shapes or add dimensions to the model.

By understanding these common terms, you’ll be able to follow along with origami instructions more effectively.

Making Simple Origami Folds

Now that you grasp the basic symbols and terms, let’s dive into some of the most commonly used folds in origami. Mastering these folds will set a strong foundation for your origami skills.

Mountain Fold

The mountain fold, as mentioned earlier, is represented by a solid line. To execute a mountain fold, simply fold the paper along the solid line, creating a raised and peaked ridge. This fold is often used to create creases that fold away from you.

Valley Fold

In contrast to the mountain fold, the valley fold is represented by a dashed line. To perform a valley fold, fold the paper along the dashed line, creating a concave fold that looks like a “valley” when viewed from above. This fold is typically used to create creases that fold toward you.

Pleat Fold

The pleat fold is a versatile fold that involves a series of alternating mountain and valley folds. Start by making a mountain fold, followed by a valley fold, and continue this pattern until you achieve the desired pleated effect. Pleat folds are commonly used to create accordion-like structures and add texture to origami designs.

By practicing these simple origami folds, you’ll gain confidence in your folding skills and be ready to tackle more complex patterns.

Learn the Basics of Origami Folding

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Creating Origami Shapes

One of the joys of origami is the ability to transform a flat sheet of paper into various shapes and objects. Here are a few examples of popular origami shapes you can create:

Origami Box

An origami box is a classic and practical origami shape. By folding a single sheet of paper strategically, you can create a functional box with no need for glue or tape. Origami boxes are great for gifting small items or as decorative organizers.

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Origami Crane

The origami crane is perhaps one of the most iconic origami designs. It is believed to bring good luck and is often given as a symbol of hope and healing. With practice, you’ll be able to fold a crane with graceful wings and intricate details.

Origami Flower

Origami flowers are a beautiful way to showcase your folding skills. From simple roses to complex blossoms, folding origami flowers allows you to explore different techniques and test your creativity. These delicate creations make lovely decorations or thoughtful gifts.

By experimenting with these origami shapes, you’ll begin to see the endless possibilities that origami offers.

Learning Origami Techniques

In addition to folds and shapes, origami also involves various techniques that add depth and complexity to your creations. Here are a few techniques worth exploring:

Reverse Fold

The reverse fold is a technique used to fold a portion of the paper in the opposite direction. By carefully manipulating the paper, you can create hidden layers or change the direction of a fold. The reverse fold is often used to add details to origami models, such as limbs or petals.

Inside Reverse Fold

Similar to the reverse fold, the inside reverse fold involves folding a portion of the paper in the opposite direction. However, with the inside reverse fold, the folded portion is tucked inside the model, creating hidden layers and adding depth to the design.

Crimp Fold

A crimp fold is a technique that involves creating multiple parallel creases in a small section of the paper. This technique is frequently used to create texture, such as scales on an origami fish or feathers on a bird.

Squash Fold

The squash fold, mentioned earlier, is a technique that involves flattening a portion of the paper to create a three-dimensional effect. By manipulating the folds and “squashing” the paper, intricate shapes can be formed.

Petal Fold

The petal fold is a technique used to create realistic petals or leaves on origami flowers or plants. By carefully manipulating the paper, you can achieve lifelike folds that mimic the natural shapes found in nature.

By exploring these techniques, you’ll expand your repertoire of folding skills and be able to tackle more intricate origami designs.

Learn the Basics of Origami Folding

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Exploring Intermediate Origami Folds

Once you’ve mastered the basics and gained confidence in your folding abilities, you can start exploring intermediate-level origami folds. These folds often require more intricate techniques and result in impressive and intricate designs. Here are a few examples:

Waterbomb Base

The waterbomb base is a versatile and commonly used starting point for many origami models. It creates a strong foundation for constructing complex geometric shapes, such as cubes or polyhedra.

Blintz Fold

The blintz fold is a fold that involves folding the paper into quarters, creating a smaller square. This technique is often used to create intricate origami animals or objects with multiple layers and details.

Bird Base

The bird base is a fundamental base used to create origami models that depict birds or have bird-like features. It serves as the starting point for many bird-themed origami designs and provides a solid structure for building on.

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By challenging yourself with these intermediate origami folds, you’ll continue to refine your skills and expand your creative possibilities.

Trying Advanced Origami Patterns

For those seeking an even greater challenge, advanced origami patterns offer the opportunity to push your folding abilities to the limit. These patterns typically require intricate folding techniques, patience, and precision. Here are a few examples of advanced origami patterns:

Kawasaki Rose

The Kawasaki Rose is a complex and visually stunning origami design that closely resembles a real rose. It involves multiple intricate folds and requires precise attention to detail to achieve the desired result. The process may be time-consuming, but the end result is worth the effort.


Origami dragons are intricate and highly detailed creations that showcase advanced folding techniques. They often require multiple sheets of paper and involve complex layering, shaping, and manipulation to achieve the majestic appearance of a dragon.


Origami butterflies are delicate and graceful creations that showcase the beauty of this art form. Advanced origami butterfly patterns often incorporate intricate wing designs, body shaping, and lifelike details.

Embarking on advanced origami patterns is a true test of your folding skills. It requires patience, perseverance, and the willingness to embrace challenges.

Learn the Basics of Origami Folding

Origami as a Therapeutic Activity

Origami is not just a creative hobby; it also offers therapeutic benefits. Engaging in origami can be a relaxing and mindful activity that provides a sense of calm and focus. Here are a few ways origami can be beneficial for your well-being:

Origami for stress relief

The repetitive and precise nature of origami folding can help calm the mind and reduce stress. As you focus on the folds and intricate details, your worries and anxieties can melt away, allowing you to experience a sense of peace and relaxation.

Origami for mindfulness

Origami requires concentration and attention to detail, which can promote mindfulness. By immersing yourself in the present moment and fully engaging in the folding process, you can cultivate a sense of mindfulness and foster a deeper connection with the present.

Origami in Art and Design

Origami is not limited to paper folding alone; it has also found its way into various art forms and design fields. Here are a few examples of how origami has influenced different creative disciplines:

Origami in sculpture

Origami has become a source of inspiration for sculptors around the world. By translating the art of paper folding into various materials such as metal, glass, or fabric, artists create intricate and visually striking sculptures that pay homage to the elegance and complexity of origami.

Origami in fashion

Origami techniques and forms have made their way into the world of fashion, giving rise to origami-inspired garments and accessories. Designers incorporate folding techniques to create unique textures, shapes, and architectural silhouettes, turning fabric into wearable works of art.

Origami in architecture

The principles of origami have influenced architectural design, particularly in the realm of structural systems and folding structures. Architects draw inspiration from origami’s ability to transform a flat sheet into three-dimensional shapes, exploring new possibilities in building forms and construction methods.

Origami’s influence extends beyond its traditional paper medium, inspiring creativity across a wide range of artistic and design practices.

Origami offers a world of creativity and discovery. As you dive into this ancient art form, remember to start with the basics, practice the fundamental folds, and gradually explore more advanced patterns. Whether you’re drawn to the tranquility of folding or excited by the challenge of complex designs, origami is sure to provide hours of entertainment and a sense of accomplishment. So grab some origami paper, scissors, ruler, and pencil, and let your imagination take flight through the timeless art of origami folding.

Learn the Basics of Origami Folding

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