Business Card Origami

Dana Hinders
business card cube

Try origami to put all those business cards in your wallet to good use. This fun activity can help you stay awake and alert during long meetings or airport layovers. It also gives you an opportunity to pass along your own cards in a unique and memorable way.

Origami Jumping Frog

Most origami models are made from square paper, but the rectangular shape of a business card is just right for this origami jumping frog. Usually three inches long and two and a half inches wide, business cards are the perfect size for folding this interactive origami toy.

The jumping frog is made from a single business card.

1. Start with the printed side of the card face down and the card in front of you in the vertical position. Fold in half vertically, creasing well. Unfold. Fold the top left corner over to the right side. Unfold. Fold the top right corner over to the left side. Unfold. Fold the top of the card down to make a horizontal fold at the spot where the two diagonal folds you just made intersect each other. Unfold.

When you're finished, your card should look like the example below.

jumping frog 01

2. To make the head of your frog, hold the business card at the sides and push the points in towards the center line. Flatten into a waterbomb base form.

jumping frog 02

3. To make the front legs of your paper jumping frog, fold the top layer of the paper up to the top triangle point of the business card. Fold each side back down halfway to create the finished legs.

jumping frog 03

4. Fold the left and right sides of the paper in towards the center crease. Fold the bottom end up to the top triangle point, then fold it back to meet the bottom edge. This creates your frog's back legs.

jumping frog 04

5. Turn your model over. To make your origami frog jump, gently push on its hind legs. For an even bigger challenge, see if you can launch your business card frog into an empty pencil cup or small box.

jumping frog 05

Origami Cube

This cube is an example of modular origami since it uses six identically folded business cards to create the finished design. You can use six of the same business card or mix and match colors of cards, depending upon the look you want to achieve.

1. To begin, place two business cards in front of you in a cross shaped pattern with the printed side of the cards face up.

cube 01

2. Flip the cards over. Fold the edges of each protruding part over to make a layered square. Go over the creases with your fingernail so they're nice and sharp.

cube 02

3. Separate the two cards. Each business card is now a separate unit for the finished cube. Repeat this process two more times so you have a total of six identically folded business cards.

cube 03

4. To start making the cube, place the first card on the table in front of you with the folded edges straight up. Turn the second card vertically and slip the bottom folded edge under the unfolded side of the first business card.

cube 04

5. Continue adding folded cards in this matter, working clockwise around the cube and adding the top of the cube last. Keep all the folded tabs on the outside of your cube. No adhesive is necessary to keep the model together if it is assembled properly.

cube 05

More Folded Business Card Projects

You can create many specific origami structures with business cards. Try some of these designs.

  • Malachi's Business Card Origami: This site has instructions for many modular origami units as well as a few origami animals folded from business cards. Most are provided in diagram form, with a photo of the finished model.
  • Origami Resource Center: This popular origami site has assembled a directory of business card origami around the web, including models that involve cutting and a collection of origami business card holders.
  • Business Card Modular Origami: If you're interested in large scale models, this site featuring models folded and photographed by Michał Kosmulski showcases large scale variations of the basic business card origami cube. The business card origami chair is particularly impressive.

Developing Your Folding Skills

There aren't very many hard and fast rules when it comes to origami materials. You can go the traditional route and use real origami paper or you can get even more creative with the materials you have on hand. However, due to the heavy weight of most business cards, it's easiest to stick with origami designs that require fewer folds. The thickness of the paper may make more complex designs too difficult to fold successfully.

Business Card Origami