How to Make an Origami Shark


If you're a fan of folded paper animals, you'll love learning how to make an origami shark. While there are complicated and very realistic versions of this scary sea creature, easy sharks can make great first projects for beginning origami folders.

Sharks in Japanese Culture

Before you begin folding origami sharks, it's important to understand how this animal figures into Japanese culture. Sharks are an important symbol in Japanese folk tales. Typically, these sharks take on the role of the adversary to the main character, and they are portrayed as something fearsome and unpredictable. They often function as symbols of the consequences of straying from the right path. The name of one Japanese dragon, "Wani," can also be translated to mean "shark."

Although sharks represent something to be feared, they can also symbolize facing your fears and choosing the path that's best for you. Because of this, origami sharks make great gifts for graduates, those surviving illness, and people who are making new beginnings.

Learning How to Make an Origami Shark

If you're looking for a great starter project or want to keep kids entertained at a birthday party or during an educational unit focused on sharks, you'll love making this easy origami shark.

Things You'll Need

  • Square sheet of origami paper in blue, gray, or silver
  • Flat, clean surface for folding
  • Straight edge or bone folding tool, if desired
  • Marker

What to Do

  1. Orient the paper so that one of the corners is facing you. Fold the paper diagonally so the bottom corner meets the top corner. The paper will now look like a triangle with the point facing away from you.
  2. Find the midpoint of the bottom edge, and place your finger on this spot. Fold the right-hand corner up at an angle, and crease the fold. Repeat this step with the left-hand corner, and then unfold both sides.
  3. Perform these corner folds on the other side, and then reverse fold both sides. This creates the shark's head and tail.
  4. Orient the shape so that the triangle points are facing toward you. Fold these points up against the body of the shark, and then fold the tip of each point down to create the fins.
  5. Open the body up a little to give the shark more dimension, and if desired, use a marker to draw an eye on each side of the head.

Decorating Your Shark

Origami sharks make fun gift toppers or decorations, and they can be great for kids learning origami. For a little extra flair, try decorating your shark with some of the following:

  • Googly eyes
  • Silver or blue glitter
  • Paint or markers
  • Tissue paper waves
  • Strings for hanging

Helpful Tips

If you're new to origami, keep these tips in mind as you make your shark:

  • Before you begin folding, make sure your hands are clean and dry. If you have any dirt on your hands, it can transfer to the paper and mar the surface of your finished project.
  • Be sure your folds are precise. If one fold is off, it can affect the entire shape. Use a straight edge or other tool if you need help making a crisp fold.
  • Consider choosing origami paper with different colors on each side. This can help you see what you're doing.
  • If things aren't going quite right, don't give up. Origami is a fun art that requires lots of practice.

More Origami Animals

If you enjoyed learning how to make an origami shark, you'll love making these other origami animals:

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