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How to make Origami Balls - Step-by-step Guide

Updated on January 18, 2009

Modular origami

This is an example of modular origami that requires fastening multiple pieces of paper together.
This is an example of modular origami that requires fastening multiple pieces of paper together.

Origami - Fold Paper Balls

This web page will teach you how to craft several different types of balls out of folded paper using different origami techniques. I put the paper balls order of relative difficulty level.

Each level will also have links to related sites and recommended reading if you want to make things other than balls.

We are going to learn to make the following paper balls:

  • Inflatable paper ball - waterbomb base EASY
  • Spike ball - modular kusudama MODERATE
  • Magic expanding ball/wheel - wizardry HARD

Basic folds

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Valley foldMountain foldAccordion pleat (a valley fold between two mountains between two valleys)Blintz fold
Valley fold
Valley fold
Mountain fold
Mountain fold
Accordion pleat (a valley fold between two mountains between two valleys)
Accordion pleat (a valley fold between two mountains between two valleys)
Blintz fold
Blintz fold

Basic Origami Folds

Just so we're clear, these are some of the basic folds you'll want to be able to do before you can tackle even the easiest of the paper balls.

You need to start off with a square piece of paper. If all you have is 8.5 inch by 11 inch paper, you can fold it and cut it down. Take the top of the paper and fold it inward so that the top is flush against the left side of the page. This makes a square composed of two right triangles and an extra rectangular wedge at the bottom. Cut that wedge off and you've got a square: the basic building block in origami!

Valley Fold: When people talk about folds the direction matters. A valley fold forms a valley (the space between two mountains) by making two ends of your square join above the fold like in the diagram to the right.

Mountain Fold: The mountain fold is going to be the opposite orientation of a valley fold. It's an upside down valley fold. This doesn't matter with just one fold by itself, but it becomes very important later on because the orientation of the folds in relation to each other will completely determine the overall shape and resistance of the paper square.

Accordion Pleat: This series of creases is mountain valley mountain valley mountain valley mountain. It shows how the folds start to work together. See how different it would be if you made it valley valley valley as opposed to valley mountain valley?

Blintz Fold: This one requires a little more effort but it's important to a lot of designs. You fold the four corners inward to meet in the middle of a second concentric square. If you're not good with words or geometric descriptions, see the full-sized diagram above by clicking on the small thumbnail all the way to the bottom right underneath the image, and it should make a lot more sense.

Inflatable Waterbomb Paper Ball

Inflatable Origami Waterbomb

This design uses just one square (almost all origami designs use square sheets of paper) and can be inflated at the end of assembly to create a sphereoid box. It's not going to be perfectly round and it's more accurately described as a bulging box than a ball, but it's still a lot of fun.

This ball will have a small opening in the end which makes it perfect to use as a paper lantern (3 to 5 inch squares can be made to fit snugly over a set of Christmas lights, or you can make a huge ball and put an entire small string of lights into it as long as the paper is thick enough to resist catching on fire).

You can also make these into crafty water balloons. You can even fill these paper bombs with substances that are hard to put into a balloon like shaving cream, toothpaste or egg goo (eww). Normally you wouldn't have the pressure it takes to inflate a balloon slightly while putting toothpaste into it. But you can fill this paper ball with anything gooey and icky and bombs away!

Squash Fold

This compound squash fold is one of the only hard parts of the waterbomb base.
This compound squash fold is one of the only hard parts of the waterbomb base.

Description of the waterbomb origami ball

The waterbomb base method for making an origami ball is just a little more complicated than the traditional origami bases (e.g. kite, frog, bird, fish) You'll probably be able to do it just by watching the video above and copying.

If you're into words over images though, this is a verbal description of how to fold the square of paper into a ball. You have to fold 2 perpendicular valley folds down the diagonals of your square. Then fold 2 perpendicular mountain folds across the middle of the square.

These creases can be compressed through the squash fold. You'll have an isosceles-right triangle (a triangle with a 90 degree angle and three sides of different lengths). with four isosceles-right triangular flaps.

Kusudama

Assembling the Paper Spike Ball without Glue

Modular Origami Kusudama with Glue

Modular Origami

This kind of ball takes more patience because it is constructed from MANY folded squares. Each square is folded into a similar shape that fits in with the other squares to form a geodesic sphere or ball.

Some people use glue. Even though that's kind of cheating, a lot of people just care what the finished product looks like so you can make your own decision. The modular kusudama without glue make each piece to have pockets and tabs. That way the tabs fit into the pockets of adjacent pieces so everything can be very snug and tightly fit.

Magic paper ball

These are designs that simply exceed my capacity as a paperfolder or or even understanding of the laws of physics. I've included some video links but I have never been able to make these successful. Good luck. You'll need it unless you're some kind of wizard or paper god.

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    • solarshingles profile image

      solarshingles 8 years ago from london

      Mroconnell, this hub is so nicely made and very useful. I have always liked origami, yet I haven't been very good at it. It takes time and loads of efforts and practical work to learn it a bit more and the final results are quite artistic. Thank you!

    • Constant Walker profile image

      Constant Walker 8 years ago from Springfield, Oregon

      This is great hub. Waitresses love it when I leave them an origami rose, with tip, of course. The videos are an excellent addition: So much easier to learn by watching, ay?

    • donnaleemason profile image

      donnaleemason 8 years ago from North Dakota, USA

      Great job. I remember the water balloon ones from childhood. Now I can show my kids. Thanks.

    • G-Ma Johnson profile image

      Merle Ann Johnson 8 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

      This was great and well done...I have a few books and lot's of paper...But am not very good at following the directions.  It is just too frustrating..You make it seem easy...for you..not me G-Ma :o) hugs

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 8 years ago

      This is so cool! I think I'm gonna make one tonight :-)

    • profile image

      Chelle 8 years ago

      Those are so pretty and what a great tutorial! I am not very good at folding paper but my hubby loves this kind of stuff...I will have to share with him!

    • quiet tracer profile image

      quiet tracer 8 years ago from South-Asia

      What a HUb! Great ;)

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      The first instruction, about how to make a square out of 8 1/2 x 11 paper, is just awesome. Sure beats measuring out inches and drawing lines. Such a simple process, and I never saw it before. Wonderful hub.

    • Bob Ewing profile image

      Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick

      excellent hub, I have a book on origami but have not yet done anything, this hub may be the push I need, thanks.

    • jzorro profile image

      jzorro 8 years ago from Portugal

      I love origami... Yestarday I bought a book and I'm ahving a lot of fun with my kid building animals, airplanes and stuff... I loved your hub!

    • jzorro profile image

      jzorro 8 years ago from Portugal

      :)

    • caspar profile image

      caspar 8 years ago from UK

      These are beautiful. I enjoy origami but my results are usually a bit more squashed and crumpled than these!

    • monitor profile image

      monitor 8 years ago from The world.

      Great pictures and ideas on how to make origami, mroconnell! Some of them look really difficult but I feel challenged to give them a try. Thanks for the info!

      Your fan.

      Mon.

    • Whitney05 profile image

      Whitney 8 years ago from Georgia

      I remember making the origami balls in your very first picture. I have 2 in my room from middle school. I couldn't ever figur out how to put hte pieces together to make the ball, but a friend of mine gave these to me. I still have the pieces I made, too, in the disk shape that is also pictured.

    • profile image

      Sameer 8 years ago

      The magic ball was really cool! I really liked it and that's the truth!

    • Karen Ellis profile image

      Karen Ellis 8 years ago from Central Oregon

      I love origami. It's on my 1000 things to learn before I die list.

    • iloveshawnndjesse profile image

      iloveshawnndjesse 8 years ago from nj

      i like this page, very well put together=>

      jacinda

    • profile image

      OLivia 8 years ago

      Totally COOL!!!

      I love this

    • eswar profile image

      eswar 8 years ago from India

      That's really nice made me kid, love to see other shapes also.

    • profile image

      mae_rein 8 years ago

      .....it's too fast that i can't almost understand the other steps..... hands are blocking.....

    • Starrborn profile image

      Starrborn 8 years ago

      I wonder if I have the patence,Its cool tho...

    • yoursolutions profile image

      yoursolutions 8 years ago from Mc Allen TX

      Eh your are a very focus hobbiest i want make a proposal i dare you if you can build a figher plane with origami in just 20 minutes all the video intructions are here just go to http://origamistepsblog.findfastr.com

    • profiler profile image

      profiler 8 years ago from Currently in this universe

      Great hub!

      I'm also an Origami Lover! In fact I recently did a hub on how to impress girls by making origamis!

      Check it out https://hubpages.com/art/How-to-impress-girls---le...

    • profile image

      aniket 8 years ago

      Fantastic work

    • nightcats profile image

      June Campbell 8 years ago from North Vancouver

      That modular ball is STUNNING! I could never make anything so intricate, but I admire those who can. Your hub is beautifully done, also. You have put so much care and detail into it. I'm giving it a Stumble!

    • profile image

      joonjohn 8 years ago

      ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Debby Bruck profile image

      Debby Bruck 8 years ago

      Excellent page. Loved it. I'm now a fan member.

    • Dottie1 profile image

      Dottie1 8 years ago from MA, USA

      Very informative hub. I learned origami from a Japanese friend that I hung out with in the 3rd grade and have been paper folding ever since. My latest book I bought was "Origami with Dollar Bills".

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 8 years ago from America

      I loved this my granddaughter is crazy about origami. I'll have to show her this.

    • profile image

      Anna 8 years ago

      When I tried it, it didn't help me.

    • profile image

      gigi 7 years ago

      wowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww i made it

    • profile image

      7 years ago

      Your video "Assembling the Paper Spike Ball Without glue" isn't very good. I watched it eight times and I still can't follow along. The screen phasing to the next step while the hands are still folding is disorienting, it blurs what they were doing at the end of one step and what they're doing at the beginning of the next step. I can't even tell what you're doing at 0:46, even following along with my own piece of paper it doesn't look like that. You should have used paper with color on one side for this, it would have made it easier to see as the white just all fades together and it's impossible to see what and where you've folded.

    • laringo profile image

      laringo 7 years ago from From Berkeley, California.

      These are very pretty. I am going to bookmark this and try making the Kudusama with my granddaughter.

    • karibaskets profile image

      karibaskets 7 years ago

      LOVE the origami magic balls! I'll be back to watch more of the videos!

    • tinkerer profile image

      tinkerer 7 years ago from Portland Oregon

      This hub is cool because there are links to all the other how-tos. Thanks for putting together all this information.

    • profile image

      mari 7 years ago

      i want to know how to make origami not to read about it

    • profile image

      sewin220 7 years ago

      i love origami. i can make a fake bubble gum pack.

    • profile image

      ngoc 7 years ago

      I am very like origami ball

    • profile image

      tiny 7 years ago

      I enjoyed the to i am looking forward to trying to my some more origami balls,birds,cats,dogs,flowers and more i really enjoy origami

    • profile image

      luthfia 7 years ago

      where did you learned about it???!!!

      it's awesome!!

    • profile image

      besse 7 years ago

      I cant't follow along the kusudama origami one. the hands

      are blocking so i can't really see what's going on.

    • profile image

      juliapecce 7 years ago

      this sucked really bad like i will waste ppaper

    • LazarDRod profile image

      LazarDRod 7 years ago

      Origami is awesome. I was addicted to it as a kid, always folding shapes and whatnot. You're going to get me back into it!

    • profile image

      aakarsh 7 years ago

      That was great

    • ianbrad55 profile image

      ianbrad55 7 years ago

      really informative hub for an interesting craft project

    • profile image

      Origamiluver 7 years ago

      The crumple fold on the magic ball is sooo hard and the instructions are in Japanies!!! >=(

    • profile image

      ma 7 years ago

      help icant do it and looks awesome not on video

    • profile image

      sarah 7 years ago

      this is so cute! and i love it x]

    • profile image

      none 7 years ago

      i like pie O_o

    • profile image

      says: says: 7 years ago

      cool. :D

    • profile image

      papecraftcentral 7 years ago

      Nice, I made one and posted in my blog http://www.papercraftcentral.net thank you so much

    • profile image

      danial hakeem 7 years ago

      how to make it?????? :3

    • profile image

      sarina 7 years ago

      that's so cool i love it and its easy well for me

    • profile image

      cobra00 7 years ago

      please make easyer paper balls

    • profile image

      shana76 7 years ago

      umm........

    • profile image

      =) 7 years ago

      This video sucks!

    • profile image

      bob 7 years ago

      that is stooped\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\

    • profile image

      Manyfaces:>:D:P 7 years ago

      this video suckedddddddddddddddddddddddd,but i lovvvvvvvve origami!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • profile image

      armstrong 7 years ago

      LEARNT TO MAKE A PAPER BOX , THIS IS JUST A BEGINNING.

    • profile image

      larry nowles 6 years ago

      whoa awesome but what the heck its hard to do dudi hard

    • profile image

      loveable 6 years ago

      I love your website and your awsome origami designs! also the magic ball is great i play with it all day. its so addicting up and down, up and down, up and down. i love it! also the inflatable ball it great. thxz Hub!

    • profile image

      donovan 6 years ago

      This is cool !!!

    • profile image

      Miki 6 years ago

      This is a great site. I couldn't remember how to make the water bomb, and your instructions and video were perfect! I plan to learn the other things too. Thanks.

    • profile image

      donovan 6 years ago

      This is ecellent!!!!!

    • profile image

      torki 6 years ago

      this is great it taught me how to make an origami ball and i thought it was very creative

    • profile image

      dork.2 6 years ago

      2 complecatid?????????????????/

    • profile image

      dork.2 6 years ago

      2 complecatid?????????????????/

    • profile image

      pop 6 years ago

      i now another site origamifun

    • profile image

      jane 6 years ago

      nice thing

    • profile image

      sdof 6 years ago

      great!!! =)

    • profile image

      xorigami_loverx 6 years ago

      greatr instrution but i like it on the video. i don't really like to read it.>=) but still love the instrutions. THX!!! HAPPY TIMES WITH ORIGAMI!!! =)

    • profile image

      Christopaz >:D 6 years ago

      I'm making origami magic ball in school.. when i was on the waterbomb parts... someone crisped it... >:O so angry.. well gonna do it now hahahahaha

    • profile image

      carlA 6 years ago

      RI57P980][-0P-;

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Haze 6 years ago from Sunny Florida

      I love the looks of the Kusudama ball. I wonder if you could make smaller balls ande use them as Christmas ornaments. Rated up, useful and bookmarked. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      DONOVAN 6 years ago

      (^%*%$

    • profile image

      kaila 6 years ago

      ang hirap gawin

    • profile image

      Lily! 6 years ago

      amazing how people create these things. I'm making things for a pond scene and it's taking me forever!! I wonder how long it would take me to make these........

    • Gypsy Willow profile image

      Gypsy Willow 6 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Well done for bringing this art to our attention. I remember the water bomb and the bird from my childhood, now I'll try some more. Thank you for a great hub

    • profile image

      motokid 6 years ago

      worst site ever

    • profile image

      DIGGIDY 6 years ago

      WUS UP YO! IM SO COOOOOL!!!!! YO DIGGIDY DOG YO!!! WUT AND WORD!!! PEACE OUT SUCKERS!!!

    • profile image

      Jed 6 years ago

      Didn't like it....:(

    • profile image

      Taligher 6 years ago

      what istructions do you look at to do the Kusudama ball?

    • profile image

      emmettpeck 6 years ago

      i love using it its great thanks!!!!!!!!!

    • profile image

      David 6 years ago

      Great page! Would love to see something on origami roses!

      http://www.love-of-roses.com/origami-rose.html

    • profile image

      Stranger 6 years ago

      Kudusama is pretty easy, but annoying because you have to make a ton of those little paper things, and connect them together later. The magic ball is so freaking hard! I can't even make it. I'm having trouble collapsing the little water-bomb bases.

    • profile image

      Stranger 6 years ago

      *Kusudama

      spelling correction

    • profile image

      awsomeperson7643 6 years ago

      OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D

      sooooo cool :) but the magic ball is soooooo freaking hard!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! >:(

      i cant collapse the waterbomb bases :(

      but still awsomely cool!!!!! this is sick!!!!!!!!!! peace out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :P :D :)

    • profile image

      moe 6 years ago

      poo meeeeeeeeeeeeee

    • crystolite profile image

      Emma 6 years ago from Houston TX

      Useful article.I love your humor.Its really a creative hub that widen my knowledge.Very big challenge to me and i love challenges.

    • profile image

      alivia 5 years ago

      haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa very funny

    • profile image

      monsserrath 5 years ago

      it nice but it kind hard i like ur hub i like how u put the things with paper could u put more on

    • profile image

      Robin 5 years ago

      Thank you for the wonderful information. I use fabric to make origami ornaments and was looking for a new challenge. Many thanks!

    • profile image

      makayla 5 years ago

      origami is my Favorite thing

    • profile image

      bobo 5 years ago

      the videos suck they don't teach u how to make a origomie ball or eneythaning

    • profile image

      jacob 5 years ago

      how do you make the magic ball

    • profile image

      smona 5 years ago

      i don't like it don't give it you too much information i don't like it

    • profile image

      Francesca and Aaron 5 years ago

      I think I like pie and it was stuiped!

    • profile image

      ????????????????????? 5 years ago

      you stink I don't like it to hard30

    • profile image

      lili 5 years ago

      its so hard to make a magic ball i have tried a billion times already

    • profile image

      michael groves 4 years ago

      i like it i made it on the first try

    • profile image

      rtt 4 years ago

      eretetette

    • profile image

      nicole 4 years ago

      how do you make the magic expanding ball/wheel?

    • profile image

      4 years ago

      veryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryveryvery

      badbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbadbad

      EXCELLENT BAD

    • profile image

      ti 4 years ago

      hellonlaidies

    • profile image

      hey 3 years ago

      cool one really hard

    • profile image

      Aj 3 years ago

      Thanks!

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