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Submitted on
August 21, 2013
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Wed Aug 21, 2013, 8:54 AM


Many times a friend or a deviant has said to me, "oh I could never fold origami, I'm not gifted that way", but it's just not true! As part of projecteducate's Artisan Crafts week, I'm going to show you how simple it is to find and fold something gorgeous and to present it well to your internet audience.

With just a little inspiration and a bit of patience, ANY one of us could fold something absolutely lovely. So what are you waiting for?? Let's get folding!


First of all, you need to figure out what you want to fold. You need inspiration from looking at gorgeous origami, from admiring nature and the world around, or maybe it'll just hit you like a random lightning bolt. We are super privileged to have many experienced and skilful origamists on dA, many who create their own models from scratch. From personal experience I know it’s no easy thing to create your own original origami designs and am always struck by the beautiful creations I see here.

Origami Blue Jay by HTQuyetVendetta by chosetecAntique Folding Camera by CahoonasGoose - Origami by mitanei
All the above are original origami designs by dA artists

After that, you've got two options. Hard: make up your model all by yourself. Simpler (but not always easier): find some existing folding diagrams or a crease pattern to follow. There are a wealth of origami books out there for all abilities and tastes, and plenty of tutorials and videos online, too. Here's a couple of ideas and resources:

  • Browse sites like Gilad’s origami page and Happy Folding. (They're a couple of my favourites because they have a large and varied database of models, complete with photographs and books where the models are diagrammed.)
  • Be realistic and start with a model on your level. Don’t go for Satoshi Kamiya's Cerberus or lyrebird when you’ve only ever made a simple jumping frog!

Cerberus by manilafolder429 Lyrebird by neubautenJumping frogs by YoyoTheMadScientist


Now that you've decided what you want to fold, let's think about what to fold it with.

  • If you’re a beginner or have not folded this model before, practise with something like printer paper. Something everyday and easy to get hold of.
  • There's LOTS of different types of paper, differing in strength and weight and texture and colour...from ordinary single-side-of-colour kami, Tant, Unryu, Elephant Hide, Tissue Foil to the coveted Origamido. There's no completely straightforward way to decide what to use as it really depends on the model. However, some things are common sense: e.g. don't use lush elephant hide for miniature origami, or foil paper for a wet-fold. If you're interested in more statistics and a deeper discussion, take a look at:… and… . Try folding with a variety of papers to get the feel of them, and follow your intuition when deciding which to use.
  • Fancy paper aside, you can use anything that folds. Pages from books, envelopes, wrapping paper, maps...use your imagination!
  • What size do you want your resulting model to be? Generally, the smaller the piece of paper, the more fiddly and tricky it is to fold. On the flip side, it's often difficult and expensive to find large sheets of quality origami paper.
  • I have a bad habit of using my “good” paper for my very first attempt at models, which works out for me sometimes…do as I say, not as I do, and practise with "rough" paper first!
  • Lastly: dry fold or wet-fold? If you're a beginner, the answer is almost certainly DRY, but it's something to think about when you get more advanced. (Wet-folding is a technique of first dampening the paper before folding. It gives the model strength and helps it keep its shape once dry, as well as letting you have more freedom in shaping the origami, making it more realistic and aesthetically pleasing.)

Origami Tesselated Mask by origami-artist-galenOn Sail by ObeseRhino
LEFT TO RIGHT: using Origamido, Tant, tissue paper


Yippee, we're finally at the folding stage! :dance:

  • Remember to use your "rough" paper as you practise and perfect the model.
  • Practise practise practise...:eager:
  • It's easy to get frustrated and that's okay, just come back later. There’ve been a couple of models that I attempted when I was in my early teens. Due to my lack of skill or patience, I’d get stuck at the same point every time I tried it. I huffed and puffed, shrugged, had a coffee and found something else to fold. Years later, I find I can now finish these models and do it well! So you just need to give it a break sometimes.
  • Get familiar with the model before you fold the final version with your “good” paper, and feel free to tweak the original design, adding your own innovations and ideas.

Then…fold fold fold!


Once you've finished your final fold, CONGRATULATIONS!!! Run around and show it to your housemates and your husband and your three dogs! :iconeeeeeplz:

For most of us now the main audience we'll get will be through the internet, so photography matters! It frustrates me to no end when I see a superbly folded model photographed on a cluttered desk with poor lighting and at an angle so you can barely see anything. DO think about how to present your finished origami.

  • NO CLUTTER and GOOD FOCUS are a must: it's easy to find a clear space to place your work down, and even the most basic of cameras can still focus. You don't need a fancy camera.
  • Lighting: natural sunlight always works well, or you could use a well-lit room.
    Background: does the origami stand out against it or does it push the model out of the limelight? Do they complement each other well?
    Angle: how much of the model can you see? Do you want a view of the front/side? Is a single photo enough or should you have an array of angles to do the 3D-ness of the model justice?
  • Be imaginative: do you want to keep the background simple to draw attention to the model? Or maybe create a little scene and a story? Some examples:

    Professionally empty:
    Gryphon by KennyQuanStegosaurus by pejofar
    Natural habitat:
    Origami Bear Cub by FoldedWildernessElwoowl and Jakowl Blues.. by DanielSancho
    Creative lighting and innovative:
    Rhombic Flagstone by wolbashiLevitating Crane by ilikeleeks
    Simply appropriate:
    Gedc1124 by FongchiSummer Ornamental Cube by kiddophoto

Now you're all set to go share your lovely work on deviantART, and in groups like:

:iconorigami-united: :iconorigami-enthusiasts: :iconorigami-insane: :iconorigami-world: :iconpaper-arts: :iconpaper-crafters: :iconcrartisancrafts: :iconwe-love-paper: :iconartisancraft:

So there we have it, folks!

How to get folding in four easy steps. There's a lot more to say on each topic but whether you have never tried to fold before, or you've tried and flopped at it some time in the past, or even if you're an old hand at origami, hopefully today you'll be further inspired to go go go and fold something beautiful. :heart:

Add a Comment:
Adila Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm just wondering, is this origami as well?…
synconi Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2013   Artisan Crafter
Yes it is :)
Adila Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
and stars as well right?

I'm excited to start folding! :excited:
synconi Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2013   Artisan Crafter
:iconyesyesyesplz: Indeedy, have fun and fold as you never have before!!!
Chookums Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2013  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Great feature, and a really inspirational bunch of works you've selected to show off how broad the different origami techniques can be!
synconi Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2013   Artisan Crafter
Thank you! This is still a pretty narrow selection but I'm glad you like the featured models :love:
Chookums Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2013  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
You're welcome :D
supperfrogg Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2013  Student General Artist
super late response, but nice article here gab ! :hug:
i love those featured origami you use as a sample, they're fantastic :giggle:
note myself to try fold something :B
synconi Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2013   Artisan Crafter
(Even LATER reply) Thanks, sweetie, you should fold something yes yes yes! Bet it'll be as cute as your drawings :kiss:
InnocentLittleWolf Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Holy freakin' wow! I always loved doing origami from books, but I could never figure out how to make my own folding patterns. ^^;
Add a Comment: