Folded Paper Purse

Dana Hinders
Paper Purses
Paper Purses

Obviously, a folded paper purse isn't really going to be sturdy enough to hold your money, makeup, cell phone, and other daily essentials. However, this project can be a fun way to put your origami skills to good use.

Origami Tato

In Japan, one of the oldest known origami projects is actually a special type of paper purse known as the tato. This model dates back to the Heian era, which lasted from 782 to 1185 CE. Today, Japanese women use these folded purses to store tiny items such as a needle, thread, extra buttons, or postage stamps.

To make a tato, you start with a fish base and create a six-sided envelope which folds flat. The tato opens by pulling on the two triangular flaps, which fall flat on the top of the closed design. You can learn more about the origami tato by visiting the Everything 2 web site.

Uses for Paper Purses

Here are a few ideas more ideas for using various folded paper purse patterns:

  • Make purse shaped invitations for a girl's slumber party or spa day.
  • Fill the purse with small candies to use as party favors for guests at a baby shower.
  • Give a clever birthday present by tucking a store gift card and a note about enjoying a shopping spree inside the purse.
  • Use the purse as a creative embellishment for a scrapbook layout.
  • Store greeting cards and stamps inside your paper purse so you're always ready to dash off a quick note to friends and family.

Making a Folded Paper Purse

The Internet is a great resource for anyone in search of ideas for how to make a folded paper purse. LoveToKnow Origami recommends visiting the following helpful Web sites:

  • Mathematische Basteleien has illustrated diagrams to help you create an origami purse, as well as an explanation of the mathematical concepts used in designing this model.
  • Origami Resource Center describes how to make a puzzle purse that contains a special message when it is unfolded.
  • A Cherry on Top has a detailed tutorial showing how to make a paper purse from scrapbooking papers and embellishments.
  • In the Making Design showcases instructions for a very sophisticated looking paper purse.
  • Thrifty Fun describes how to make a pretty purse greeting card from your favorite papers.
  • How Stuff Works has several paper purse projects that are easy enough for kids to make with minimal adult supervision.
  • Crayola has instructions to help kids make a paper purse as a Mother's Day craft.

Tips for Folding a Paper Purse

Here are a few tips for folding a paper purse:

  • Read the project instructions carefully. If you misunderstand one of the earlier steps, the entire project may not turn out quite like you expected. If you're not sure you understand the project, consider folding the model with scrap paper a few times before you attempt to make the actual purse.
  • Purses folded from origami paper tend to be very small. If you'd like your purse to be slightly larger, consider making it from a sheet of 12x12 scrapbooking paper or cutting your favorite wrapping paper to the desired size.
  • If you want your paper purse to be able to stand up when it's finished, use paper that is a bit thicker than what you'd choose for a normal origami model.
  • Consider using double-sided paper for your project so the inside of your purse is just as pretty as the outside.
  • Remember that a bit of tape or glue can help reinforce a slightly wobbly purse.
Folded Paper Purse