Have you always wanted to learn origami, the art of paper folding, but didn't know where to begin?
We have basic origami with step by step instructions to get you started in this ancient art form. There is just a small number of basic origami folds, and these folds can be combined in many ways to make very intricate designs.
And the most amazing thing is that these intricate designs begin with a simple square sheet of paper!
Origami paper or “kami” (the Japanese word for paper) is sold in prepackaged cut squares. Usually one side of the paper is colored and the other side is white. The colored or printed side can range from solid colors to a variety of patterns and designs.
For easy origami using simple folds like the ones used to make the boat or hat, normal copy paper will work just fine. Be sure to cut it into a square first!
To make detailed origami, it is important to use the special origami paper that is less heavy than regular copy paper. This thinner paper makes the tinier folds possible.
Another type of paper to use is……..MONEY!!! It’s popular to use money as the foundation for origami and is a great way to give money as a gift. There is actually a name for origami from money; it is called Orikane!
Sadako and the Paper Crane
There are many sculptures that you can make using origami, but the most popular of all is the Japanese paper crane.
The paper crane is the origami figure in the famous and true story of a girl named Sadako Sasaki. Sadako lived in Hiroshima, a city in Japan, when the atomic bomb was dropped there during WWII in 1945. When Sadako was 11, she was diagnosed with leukemia which is a type of cancer that was caused by the atomic bomb.
There is a Japanese belief that if you fold 1000 paper cranes, your wish will come true. While Sadako was in the hospital being treated for the cancer, she started folding paper cranes. Her wish was that she would get well and that peace and healing would come to people in the world who were hurting.
She spent 14 months in the hospital and folded the cranes with any piece of paper she was able to get her hands on. Paper was scarce at the time, so she often used candy wrappers, paper from medicine bottles, and the paper that was used to wrap gifts that were given to her.
Sadako died on October 25, 1955 when she was 12 years old. She had folded over 1300 paper cranes.
Sadako’s friends and classmates worked to raise money so that a memorial could be built to honor Sadako and the other atomic bomb victims.
In 1958, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial was finished with a statue of Sadako holding a golden crane. In 1990, in Seattle, Washington, USA, Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Dr. Floyd Schmoe, built a life-size statue of Sadako.
The statue was unveiled on August 6, 1990, 45 years after the bombing of Hiroshima. The statue can be found in the Seattle Peace Park.
Visitors bring paper cranes to set by or drape over the statue. Sadako will never be forgotten. The paper crane is the most recognized piece of origami and is a symbol for peace.
You can learn how to fold a paper crane with our easy directions. Spread some peace and love!!!
Other Common Origami Shapes
When you are just beginning your origami journey, you will probably want to start with some basic shapes; paper hats, boats, airplanes, cootie catchers, jumping frogs, or an origami dog.
Check out all of the links below that will help you find beginner origami step-by-step instructions. There are also great books listed that will help you get started and guide you as you make progress.
You could move on to the fun exploration of money origami! This is a great way to pass the time waiting at a restaurant or an interesting trick to show your friends.
Who doesn’t love to watch the mystery of money being folded into an amazing design? And when you don’t have square origami paper on hand, you can almost certainly find a dollar bill!
To be honest the exact history of origami is under debate. Because paper degrades quickly, there are little to no artifacts that archaeologists and historians can use to determine where it originated or who invented it.
Most school textbooks report that paper itself was first invented in China by Ts’ai Lun in 105 AD. So we can guess that if there was paper, there was paper folding!! And it most likely began in China.
However, many cultures used paper folding to some degree either in ceremonies or recreation. Origami is mostly regarded as a Japanese art.
In traditional Chinese funerals, there is the practice of burning folded paper that represents gold nuggets (yuanboa).
It was during the Song Dynasty (905-1125 CE) that these paper representations began to be burned instead of the wood or clay replicas of the gold nuggets that had been used in the past. The “paper nuggets” are still used today.
In Japan, the earliest true reference to a paper model is dated in 1680 in a poem by Ihara Saikaku. The poem mentions the ceremonial use of the folded butterfly design used during Shinto weddings.
During the Edo period (1603-1867) of Japanese culture, folding was mostly ceremonial. However, folding soon became more of a form of entertainment. For example, there is evidence that a folded paper noshi (envelope) was often attached to gifts like a card would be today.
Currently, origami is being used in engineering applications! You will find it in packaging, the medical use of stents to keep passageways in the body open, such as a heart stent, and car safety in folding airbags!
Back to Origami Fun!
This page has many links to fantastic origami books that have many sculptures to create. We also have links to pages with tutorials, videos, and directions to make specific origami shapes.
Take a look below and get started on this entertaining art!