Origami 101

Everything you need to know about Origami.

origami swan made from craft paper

Origami is a traditional Japanese art that simply means folding paper. The name is derived from two words, “Ori” – which means folding. And “Kami”, which means paper.

Origami is a highly disciplined art. We can define Origami as the manipulation of paper to make an object by means of folding. The objects made in Origami can be anything from buildings, plants, animals, and even people.

A common misconception is that the paper needed for Origami has to be square in shape. This is simply not true. You can use paper in the shape of rectangles, polyhedra, and even circles.

What is not allowed, however, is cutting or making a slit here or there to help make a fold. That is a completely different discipline known as Kirigami.

So as you can see, Origami can be a complex and difficult procedure as you need to take into account the restrictions imposed by the discipline when you are crafting a design.


History of Origami

With the invention of paper, came paper folding. The ancient art of paper folding originated in China. It eventually reached Japan around the 6th century, evolving as a symbolic and ceremonial tradition until origami became an integral part of Japanese culture.

In Japan, it was used as an exchange of gifts during ceremonies and to denominate social status among the Aristocratic samurai.

After the bombing of Hiroshima, a girl named Sadako Sasaki was diagnosed with Leukemia. She believed that if she folded 1000 origami cranes, she would be cured. After her passing, the Origami crane became a symbol of peace.

Getting Started

From choosing the right Origami paper to precision guillotines. We’ve got you covered with everything you need to know to learn origami and fold paper within the rules of the discipline.

top down shot of a box cutter, self-healing cutting mat, metal ruler, laid out on work table

Essential Origami Supplies

While for most origami designs, you can simply get away with a flat surface and a piece of paper, there are some designs where more is needed. The choice of supplies and tools plays a crucial role in some intricate creations. From specialist origami papers to advanced materials like metallic foil.

More advanced users take advantage of the convenience of tools like guillotines and spray adhesives, each element contributing to the art’s evolution. Selecting the right supplies can make all the difference in your origami journey. Even a novice may find something like a bone folder of use.

an origami sheet being folded from behind forming a mountain fold

Basic Origami Folds and Techniques

If you really want to make Origami a hobby, it’s crucial to grasp the fundamental folding techniques. Every fold basically revolves around two folds:

  • The Mountain Fold
  • The Valley Fold

Every other fold in Origami is just a series of different Mountain and Valley folds. They are the building blocks in various origami models.

Learn more on how to perform each of the basic techniques, step-by-step with videos.👉

Origami Designs with Instructions

You can find our list of origami instructions with video and step-by-step instructions for various types of models such as sea creatures, flowers, animals, and other cool things. Our instructions

Easy origami models

Origami Crane

Origami Butterfly

Origami Flower

Intermediate models

Origami Dragon

Origami Elephant

Origami Rose

Advanced models

Phoenix Dragon

Koi Fish

Modular Cubes


What are the 3 types of origami?

Traditional Origami: Using a single sheet of paper with no cuts or glue.

Modular Origami: Creating complex models by creating modular objects and then assembling them together.

Wet-Folding Origami: Wetting the paper to create a more organic structural shape.

What is the easiest origami ever?

The Origami Crane is considered one of the easiest folds.

Is origami Japanese or Chinese?

It was originally invented in China but spread to Japan where it became a part of Japanese culture.

What is the easiest origami craft?

Beginner-friendly animals like cats and dogs are considered the easiest.

What are the most common origami designs?

The Crane, Butterfly, Flower, Box, and Heart

What is the hardest origami design?

Most modular designs such as Dragons

What are the 5 origami basic techniques?

  1. Valley Fold
  2. Mountain Fold
  3. Outside Reverse Fold
  4. Inside Reverse Fold
  5. The Squash Fold

What are origami instructions called?

They are known as Diagrams.

What is the easiest thing to fold in origami?

An origami airplane.

What is the most famous origami model?

The Origami Crane.

What life lessons can you learn from origami?

Origami can teach you valuable life lessons such as patience, precision, practice, and persistence. It can also develop your creativity and ability to solve complex problems.

Is origami good for the brain?

Origami has been shown to enhance spatial reasoning, fine motor skills, and concentration.

What are the rules for origami?

  • To manipulate paper by means of folding.
  • Gluing or cutting of paper is forbidden.