Make a Paper Angel

Dana Hinders
Folded paper angel

Paper angels can be used to add an elegant and festive touch to your Christmas decor, especially if you choose to fold them from metallic gold or silver paper. Angels can be added to handmade Christmas cards, used as gift tags, incorporated into a nativity, or added to the top of your tree.

How to Fold an Easy Paper Angel

This origami angel begins with a waterbomb base (also called a balloon base). You should start with the colored side of the paper face down if your paper is only colored on one side.

1. To make a waterbomb base, fold a square sheet of paper diagonally in both directions and unfold so the creases form an "x" in the middle of the paper. Flip your paper over. Fold your paper in half vertically. Unfold. Fold the paper in half horizontally and unfold. Use these creases to carefully collapse the paper into a layered triangle shape.

angel step 1

2. The next step is to form the angel's body. Place your waterbomb base in front of you. Fold the right top layer in towards the middle crease, creating a pointed triangle shape. Flip this layer over so it's now on the left side of the paper. Fold the remaining right side layer in towards the middle crease, creating a second pointed triangle shape. Move the back bottom left layer over to the right side so your model looks like the photo below.

angel step 2

3. Fold your triangles up flush against the bottom horizontal edge and tuck them inside the flaps.

angel step 3

4. Turn your model over. Now, you're going to start making your angel's wings. Fold each side up at an angle, then back to create a vertical edge that is flush with the middle vertical crease.

angel step 4

5. Fold the left outer triangle point down so it's flush with the middle vertical crease and pointing toward you. Repeat this fold two more times. Crease well, then unfold the paper. This forms the shaping of your angel's wing.

6. Repeat this process on the right side, then fold the inner corner of the left and right wings down slightly to make a small triangle on each side. When you're finished, your paper should look like the photo below.

angel step 5

7. Flip your model back over. Fold the top layers in towards the middle crease to make your angel's hands.

origami angel

8. You will need to make a square base to create your angel's head. Your paper should be one third the dimensions of the square you used to make your angel's body. (If your body sheet was a 6 x 6 square, use a 2 x 2 square for the head.) Place the paper in front of you with the colored side up. Fold your paper in half diagonally to make a large triangle. Open the paper and fold in half along the other diagonal. Flip the paper over to the opposite side. Fold in half horizontally, crease well, and open. Fold in half again in the other direction, then open the paper completely. Using these creases, bring the top three corners down towards the bottom of the paper and flatten into a square shape.

origami angel

9. Fold the edges of the square base back to blunt the corners and make the desired head shape. Add the square base to the top of your model, securing with glue if needed. If you leave your angel flat, you can add the design to a Christmas card or add a ribbon to the top and hang it on your tree. If you would prefer a standing angel, simply place two fingers inside the bottom of the model and push the middle vertical crease out. This will give your angel the stability it needs to stand upright on a shelf or table. If you want to make an angel for the top of your Christmas tree, fold your model from 12 x 12 scrapbook paper instead of using traditional origami paper.

origami angel

You can add facial features with colored pens or markers if desired, or add some sparkle with a light coating of glitter spray or glue. Use a hot glue gun and some small beads to adorn the dress or add a beaded collar as well.

Additional Origami Angel Projects

If you would like to make several types of origami angels, here are some additional models you might enjoy.

Beginner Angels

These simple origami diagrams render childlike angels and are suitable for all skill levels.

  • Tammy Yee: This angel is especially appealing to small children. The printable template comes with two angel faces, wings, and instructions. You'll also need scissors and glue to create this angel.
  • Hobby Blogo (PDF): If you'd like to make a paper angel that's small and cute, this is the diagram for you. The clear instructions teach you to create your angel in nine easy steps.

Intermediate and Advanced Angels

Geared more for adults than children, the paper angel diagrams listed below are a little more complicated.

  • Mike's Origami: The illustrations that show each fold are well-rendered in this diagram. They're also accompanied by easy instructions that explain each step. The result is a tall, elegant holiday angel.
  • Tadashi Mori Angel: This angel diagram comes together in several pieces and is better suited to those with some folding experience. You can add facial features with colored pens or markers if desired.

Enjoying Angels All Year Long

Paper angels are perfect for Christmas displays, but they also make great gifts for angel collectors and are a low cost gift alternative for coworkers. For beginners who want to make a paper angel, this provides a good opportunity to work on folding techniques while making use of small scraps left over from other craft projects.

Make a Paper Angel