Origami is a Japanese art of paper folding. Origami involves folding of paper to form different shapes like birds, animals, buildings, puppets, vases, flowers, decorative boxes, sculptures etc… Art of Origami requires little patience & good memory for folding sequence. The sequence can be as simple as 2 folds or as complex as 10s of folds.

The word “Origami” is formed from “ori”, meaning to fold, and “kami”, meaning paper as well as God. Though no evidence, belief is that paper folding techniques existed in china since 105 A.D. post invention of paper there.

Japanese origami began sometime after Buddhist monks carried paper to Japan during the 6th century. During this time Japanese origami was used for religious purpose only as paper was expensive. Early origami designs were abstract figures with a symbolic and ceremonial meaning, known only to a small number of specialists. They were not for recreational purposes.

Paper folding technique reached the Arabic world in the 8th century, and the Arabs brought it to Spain in the 12th century. Arabs used the technique for geometric representation, while Spanish took the art further and developed papiroflexia.

Courtesy: http://www.origamiwithrachelkatz.com/origami, origami.asp , http://www.origami.as/Info/history.php

Though no tools are required to achieve origami models, there are tools like bone folder used to get sharp crease & tweezers to make small folds. Most important material used in this craft is paper.

Paper: Any paper that can be folded easily & holds a crease can be used. The paper needs to be cut in a perfect square to achieve satisfying results. For two tone models, origami paper is ideal. It is easily available as set of square paper which is

  • colored on one side & white on the other side
  • colored on both side or
  • either patterned on both side or one side with other side colored or white

Weight of the paper depends on the model to be created. For people following this hobby seriously, there is better type of paper called Washi, a traditional origami paper used in japan made from wood pulp. Washi paper is not easily available in India.


  1. Use perfectly square piece of paper
  2. Fold against a hard surface like table or a book. Soft surface won’t give desired crease
  3. Crease slowly and accurately. Early crease are very important as subsequent creases will be difficult to place accurately.
  4. Follow the symbols on each step accurately.

No sequence of origami diagram can be followed without an understanding of the symbols they use.

Basic symbols: Diagram is from  http://giorgosorigami.blogspot.in/2011/11/origami.html


The basic folding techniques are Valley & mountain fold which are easy to follow. More complex folding techniques do need explanation. Most common symbols are represented in following diagram. Others can be found in the link given after the diagram.

For symbols refer to




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