Origami Patterns

Dana Hinders
origami animals

If you're looking for an easy way to begin practicing paper folding, origami patterns can be a helpful resource.

Origami for Beginners

Traditionally, origami is done by using a plain or patterned sheet of paper and following a separate sheet of origami instructions. However, this can make the craft very frustrating for children or impatient adults. This is where origami patterns come in.

Origami patterns are printable PDF files that have folding lines marked directly on the sheet. This keeps you from having to figure out how to find divide the paper into thirds or how to make a perfect horizontal crease. In some cases, such as with patterns for origami animals, the pattern may even have a design printed on it to give your project a more realistic appearance.

When searching for patterns for origami projects, some projects will specify that you cut, tape, staple, or glue the paper. None of these techniques are part of traditional origami, but they are often necessary with printable projects in order to provide stability to the model.

When using origami project patterns, you'll want to keep in mind a few basic tips:

  • Create a special folder on your computer for storing your patterns. Then, if you decide you want to create a project again, you'll be able to easily find what you need.
  • Read the project instructions to find out what type of paper is desired. Most projects will work fine with regular printer paper, but some may specify that you should use a heavier cardstock.
  • When completing folding projects with younger children, plan on printing a few extra copies of the pattern in case of mistakes the first time around.
  • If your project includes a colored design, make sure your printer is set on "high" quality in order to give your folded model the most realistic appearance possible.

Origami Patterns Online

If you're looking for origami patterns online, here are a few projects you may want to try:

  • Origami Spinning Tops: Canon Creative Park has a pattern to help you make several different kinds of origami spinning tops.
  • Patriotic Pinwheel: Print out this simple pattern and follow the folding instructions to make pinwheel decorations for a Fourth of July party.
  • Paper Airplane Eagle: This eagle printed paper airplane from Origami and Stuff is sure to be a hit with both the young and the young at heart. However, you do need to remember that accurate folding is a necessity if you want the plane to fly correctly.
  • Candy Box: This template from Mirkwood Designs makes it easy to create a small box to decorate for party favors or tiny gifts. Print the pattern on scrapbook paper or colored cardstock for added visual appeal.
  • CD or DVD Case: If you're looking for a simple yet practical origami project, this certainly fits the bill. Print out the PDF onto the paper of your choice, and then fold along the dotted lines to make a case for your favorite CD or DVD.
  • Paper Toys: This site has print and fold origami projects covering many different themes. There are holiday projects such as a Christmas tree and menorah as well as vehicles, paper dolls, and models of landmarks such as the Eiffel tower.

Additional Information

You can find more links to printable origami projects by reviewing the following articles from LoveToKnow Origami:

If you're just looking for pretty designs to use for folding instructions you've found on a book or website, the Printable Origami Paper article contains links to free origami papers for you to enjoy.

Origami Patterns