How to Do Origami With a Rectangle Shaped Paper

Dana Hinders
origami heart

Although most origami uses square paper, you will occasionally run across projects designed for 8 1/2" x 11" paper. Most origami projects that use rectangle shaped paper are boxes and envelopes, but you can also make decorative designs such as hearts.

Three Origami Projects Using Rectangular Paper

If you don't want to use plain copy paper for your designs, printable origami paper or scrapbook paper works well for this type of paper folding. The projects featured in this article were folded using patterns from the Pink Scrapbook Paper collection.

Origami Box

This simple box measures 4 1/4" x 5 1/2" when finished. It's a great model to use for storing small office supplies or craft items.

  1. Place your paper vertically on the table. If your paper is printed on one side, you will need to start with the printed side facing the table. Fold the paper in half. Unfold. Fold each side in so it meets the center crease. Unfold. Turn your paper so it's in front of you horizontally. Fold it in half. Unfold. Fold each side to meet the center crease.
    box step 1
  2. Fold the top left hand corner down so it is touching the first of the three creases you made in the previous step. Repeat this folding process with the remaining three corners of the project.
    box step 2
  3. Fold the middle edges back over the folded corners.
    box step 3
  4. Place your hands on the middle creases and carefully open your origami box. Pinch the sides to reinforce the creases to help the box hold its shape.
    box step 4

Origami Envelope

This envelope measures 5 1/2" x 2 3/4" when folded. You can also create a booklet style mini scrapbook that fits perfectly inside this envelope.

  1. Start with the white side face up if your paper is patterned on only one side. Fold your paper in half horizontally. Unfold. Fold the bottom left and right corners in so they are touching the center vertical crease. Fold the left and right sides in so they are touching the center vertical crease.
    envelope step 1
  2. Fold the bottom point of the paper up to meet the center crease. Unfold. Make guide creases along the upper diagonal lines of the diamond shape at the bottom of your model.
    envelope step 2
  3. Using the creases you made in the previous step as guides, carefully open your paper and press it flat. This forms the bottom part of your origami envelope.
    envelope step 3
  4. Fold the top left and right corners of the paper in towards the center to make a triangle shape. This is the top flap of your envelope.
    envelope step 4
  5. Tuck the top flap into the bottom opening to close the envelope. If desired, you can use a sticker as a letter seal to make sure the envelope stays closed.
    envelope step 5

Origami Heart

The origami heart makes a lovely decoration for a handmade greeting card or a pretty scrapbook page embellishment.

  1. Make a waterbomb base on the top portion of your paper. To make a waterbomb base, start with the reverse side of the paper face up. Fold one corner down diagonally. Unfold. Fold the other corner down diagonally. Unfold so you have an "x" crease pattern. Flip the paper over and make a horizontal fold that goes through the center of the "x" crease pattern. Flip the paper over and collapse into the base form shown below.
    heart step 1
  2. Fold the left and right sides of the top triangle layer up to touch the top of the project.
    heart step 2
  3. Fold the left and right sides of the paper in towards the middle vertical center. Fold the bottom horizontal edge up to touch the bottom of the diamond shape created by the folds from the previous step.
    heart step 3
  4. Flip the paper over. Fold the top layer down to make an upside down triangle shape. Fold the bottom left and right corners up and tuck them into the pockets created on the upside down triangle shape you just made.
    heart step 4
  5. Make two diagonal folds with the points at the top of the model to round out the heart shape. Fold the corners and tuck them into the large upside down triangle shape you made in the previous step.
    heart step 5
  6. Flip the paper over to reveal your finished origami heart.
    heart step 6

More Rectangle Origami Projects

Here are some more origami projects using 8 1/2" x 11" paper that you may wish to try:

  • Thank You Cards: This classic thank you card features an elegant leaf embellishment on the front.
  • Christmas Trees: This Christmas tree design is made by cutting a sheet of rectangular paper in half.
  • Shirt and Tie Card: Children will enjoy making this cute shirt and tie card as a special Father's Day gift for Dad.
  • Origami Modular Spinner: The origami spinner is a popular paper toy for children, although younger children will likely need adult assistance to follow along with the diagrams.

Be Creative!

If you are feeling creative, take out a sheet of copy paper and create your own origami project. By modifying basic folds, you can easily create your own unique origami designs.

How to Do Origami With a Rectangle Shaped Paper