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Origami Animals

Updated on April 20, 2016

Folding Origami Animals

When people think of folding origami, the first model that generally comes to mind is the crane. Regarded as the icon of the craft, the crane has a background routed in Japanese culture and history.

When learning origami, it is easiest to start with origami animals. One piece of paper manipulated into a recognizable form. How simple is that?

The image shown here is a model for a sparrow by Roman Diaz - a friend of mine, but it's not a simple fold (thus mine is inside out) Doh!!! Recently Roman showed me how to fold a fish...and that one looks inside out too!!

He also has a book available for sale...but it's for advanced origami artists only...Origami for Interpreters. It is only available for sale from the link I've provided.

The Beginning - Or How Origami Animals Started

Origami History Lessons

Origami has been a source of enjoyment for many people around the world. Originated in Japan, origami has become a world-wide passion for people in many countries. So many people talk about how relaxing folding origami can be. That may not always be true. I recall several times when the folds just don't seem to work, and the origami model becomes the ever-popular origami snowball.

Purists will say that true origami uses only one piece of square paper. No cutting, taping,or gluing allowed. That may be true, but there are many exciting things you can create with more than just one piece of paper.

Origami Boxes

Unit Origami

Origami Airplanes

Origami Quilts

What You Need to Get Started Folding Origami Animals

Paper -You can go out and get some origami paper, or perhaps to start you can just use some photocopier paper. The models I will teach you at first you can easily make with regular paper. But have fun with what you find....I've used candy wrappers in my folding too.

Folder - this you may not need right away, but it will help make your lines real crisp and sharp. I use what is called a folding bone (not really bone, just made of plastic now), I've also used a chop stick (If you are going to use one of these, get one with a real pointy end - that will come in handy later on more complex folds). If you don't have any of these, a good finger nail will work for now.

The Two Most Important Folds

It is important to understand which way the folds go so that when you start to fold your piece together that it’s going the right way, and with the color where you want it.

Valley fold – this fold points down and is generally depicted in books with a dashed line.

Mountain fold – this fold points up and in depicted in books with a dashed & dotted line. If you take a mountain fold and turn it upside down it becomes the valley fold. It’s all about how you hold the paper.

Pink Bunnies!!

Just in time for Easter. I sat down and folded these cute little origami bunnies. They are designed by Kunihiko Kasahara. A fairly simple fold that goes together well. I think making a bunch of them feels like spring to me. I know my girls will have all sorts of fun with them. And well, how can you go wrong with Pink!

It just makes me want to take a look at other designs for origami rabbits. See what I find, and what model works the best.

Folding an Origami Swan

Our first simple fold is an origami swan. This one was created by Paul Jackson who has a great book on learning origami. The Complete Origami Course

Paul's book is well illustrated and talks in depth about papers, folding, and the standard symbols for origami. This book will take you through some of the preliminary things you need to know and then give you easy projects to learn with. He shows a real artistry in folding. The book also challenges you to some more intense projects if you are feeling adventurous.

1. Fold your paper diagonally and unfold

2. Fold two outer edges into center fold.

3. Turn your model over and then fold two outer edges into the center fold.

4. Fold point "a" to point "b"

5. Then fold point "a" in a bit. This will make the head and beak, so make sure it's big enough to create both. I know the point in your paper may not be so precise, but don't worry, that will come with practice.

6. Fold the whole unit in half - that's a mountain fold.

7. Lift the head a little bit and make a new crease as shown

8. Lift the whole neck and make a new crease

9. Now it's time to establish the head and beak. Make two folds one mountain, and one valley. Then you are going to push them in to make it look like the diagram. This is a difficult fold, but with practice you can conquer it. Or you can leave the model at step 8 for a simpler form.

This is a nice simple model, that kids will like. An interactive origami piece you might say. This fellow puts on a very good explanation of how to put it together. Keep your mouse on the pause button. He goes pretty fast in a couple of areas.

Let me know if this lens gives you a hand starting up some origami. My goal is to give value to people who come to this site. I am using models that other people have designed. I support them by purchasing their books, so should you. Even if you don't buy them here, take time to look them up at your local bookstore.

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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I will definitely try this.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I use to love making that swan until i forgot how to make it, then i found thisd wonderful lens thanks

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Nice swan. Reminds me of Prison Break! :)

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Ahh yes. The origami snowball. A speciality of mine :)

    • karenbiko profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago

      [in reply to Edward Moon] Don't give up so easy....maybe try some paper airplanes, they are fun to do. Check out my site for those...I just taught one airplane to a bunch of city workers. They loved it.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Unfortunately, my snowballs have deteriorated into paper soup! I don't think I'm cut out for this origami business!

    • paperfacets profile image

      Sherry Venegas 

      10 years ago from La Verne, CA

      That's funny I didn't know what the snowball was at first. The bunny is so cute.

      Your drawings are good. I didn't like mine and that is why I went with pics.

      Very good. 5*

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Love the snowball, a familiar piece for me.


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