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Simple Origami for Beginners

Updated on April 3, 2015
Origami Dog Face
Origami Dog Face | Source

Origami is the traditional Japanese art of paper folding ("ori" to fold "kami/gami" paper). Origami sculptures are typically created with square sheets of paper and not much else (no scissors, glue, or tape, for example).

Origami has a wide skill level range. Some projects, like the dog face project described here in this Hub, are simple enough for anyone to make. Other projects, like the ones seen in the video to the right, take a lot more patience and skill.

Either way, origami is a fun and inexpensive art form to learn. Here are some projects to get you interested in origami.

Tips on Paper for Origami

  • Avoid heavy paper like construction paper, if possible, because it doesn't stay down very well when you fold it.
  • If you must use heavy paper a little tape can be useful in keeping parts down. It's not traditional but it'll get the job done!
  • Origami paper is beautiful and can be found in perfect shapes and sizes for whatever project you're working on, but it can be expensive.
  • A nice alternative to origami paper is leftover wrapping paper!


Origami Dog Face

Start with a square sheet of paper.  If you don't have a square sheet trim excess off a rectangular sheet.  I would not advise using construction paper or heavy paper like I did because it doesn't stay flat after folding.
Start with a square sheet of paper. If you don't have a square sheet trim excess off a rectangular sheet. I would not advise using construction paper or heavy paper like I did because it doesn't stay flat after folding.
Fold sheet of paper in half.
Fold sheet of paper in half.
Fold corners down for ears.
Fold corners down for ears.
Fold point of triangle up for muzzle.
Fold point of triangle up for muzzle.
Hold tip back to create nose part.
Hold tip back to create nose part.
Draw on face and features (I'm sure you can do a much better job than me!).  You can also fold back the bottom tip if you don't want the mouth open.
Draw on face and features (I'm sure you can do a much better job than me!). You can also fold back the bottom tip if you don't want the mouth open.

Origami Cat Face

Cats are the polar opposite of dogs so of course origami cat faces would be the opposite of origami dogs. Check out the video below to see how they're made.

Other Origami Projects

Here are some non-canine related origami projects you can try.

Origami Boat

This was one of the very first origami projects I ever learned to make. The nice thing about these paper boats is that you can make them quick and easy from any kind of paper. In fact, when I was in Italy, I made a whole bunch of these paper boats out of scrap paper and played checkers with a friend on the checkered linoleum floor of our study hall. Maybe not the best use of my time during finals week, but it was fun. :D

I also have a tendency to make these without thinking out of candy wrappers and receipts. My son has fun playing with them when I'm done. :)

Origami Fortune Teller

Remember these from your childhood? :)

Yes these sweet little fortune tellers are origami!

If you never tried these, you should give it a go. You can put funny fortunes, truth or dares, project ideas, or any number of cool things on the flaps.

Origami Crane

The origami crane is a bit trickier than the tutorials I've listed, but as it is one of the must popular origami sculptures I felt it definitely had to be included.

Part of its popularity is due to the Japanese legend associated with it. There are several versions of the story, but generally speaking the legend states that anyone who completes and strong 1,000 paper cranes within one year will be granted a wish by a mystical crane. Some believe that this person will have good fortune and health for the rest of their life.

Origami Lucky Stars

Lucky or Wishing Stars can be made to fill decorative jars or put on earrings. They are made using thin strips of paper which you can cut yourself or buy in cute packs at craft stores.

Before you fold them you can write a dream, wish, or secret on your paper. Then put the star in a jar for safe keeping. :)

Feeling Inspired?

If you're interested in learning more origami try checking out YouTube for more project ideas. I've also put together another Pinterest board for Paper Projects since I'm planning on teaching this to my art class in January. :)

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