Paper Folding Techniques That Every Origami Artist Needs to Know

Kite fold - paper folding technique
There are a variety paper folding techniques which come under the art of Origami. You'll find shapes/models of most animals, birds and objects found in everyday life made with the help of origami techniques. Some of the simple techniques for kids are dealt with in this article.
Indulging into paper crafts is one of the best ways to exhibit your creativity. The art of paper folding is what most kids are introduced to early in their life. These origami folding techniques should enable them to create such interesting patterns and shapes.

Techniques Used in Paper Folding
Learning the basic origami techniques should help in preparing them for the advanced levels. Steps for these easy-to-make folds including the valley fold, mountain fold, rabbit ear fold, etc, are given below.

Index

The Art of Origami
The different paper folding techniques are grouped under the art of Origami. The word, Origami is formed of oru (folding) and kami (paper). Origami is a Japanese art in which the main aim is to create geometric folds of paper to represent a certain object. The simple folding techniques used for creating intricate designs is the specialty of Origami. Most of these designs made with Origami techniques begin with a simple square paper base. More on the square base and other folds can be found below.

Valley Fold

Valley Fold

To make a valley fold, the paper should be folded along the vertical, horizontal or diagonal axis. The V-shape attained by the paper is referred to as valley fold.

Rectangular Valley Fold: A square paper is required to make the rectangular valley fold. The first step of the procedure is to roll the bottom half of the paper in a manner that its edges are aligned with edges of the upper half. Edges need to be aligned as accurately as possible. The square-shaped paper should be centered either along its vertical axis or horizontal axis. Corners of the paper should be held flat and tugged slightly in order to make it flat in the middle.

Diagonal Valley Fold: The diagonal folding technique is one of the simplest. In this method, a square-shaped paper is folded along its diagonal axis and divided into two halves. One of the halves of the paper should be rolled and placed in a manner that its edges match with those of the other half. This completes the diagonal fold.

Mountain Fold

Mountain Fold

The mountain fold is very much similar to the valley fold. The only difference between them is that the former is made in a upside-down manner. A dashed line should be created in order to ease the process of making the fold. A reference crease can be made vertically, horizontally or diagonally along the center of the paper. One of the edges of the paper is folded and aligned with the center.

Kite Fold

Kite Fold Step 1
Step 1
Kite Fold Step 2
Step 2
Kite Fold Step 3
Step 3

It is one of the simplest folds to make. Here are the instructions for making a kite base.
  1. Make a valley fold along the diagonal axis of the paper and unfold it. Now make two more valley folds as depicted in the image.
  2. Make the valley fold in a manner that the paper aligns with the vertical diagonal axis.
  3. Fold the other side (right) of the paper in the same way. Your kite fold is ready.

Cushion Fold

Cushion Fold Step 1
Step 1
Cushion Fold Step 2
Step 2
Cushion Fold Step 3
Step 3

The steps for making a cushion fold are given below.
  1. Fold the paper along its vertical axis and then unfold it. Now, fold the paper along the horizontal axis and unfold it. You'll see valley folds along the horizontal and vertical axes.
  2. Fold the paper in a manner that the corner is aligned with the center.
  3. Now, fold the paper in a manner that all the four corners meet at the center. This completes the cushion fold.

Square Fold

Square Fold Diagram
Diagram
Square Fold Step 1
Step 1

Square Fold Step 2
Step 2
Square Fold Step 3
Step 3

Square Fold Step 4
Step 4

The technique used for making a square fold (or square base) is one of the simplest. A square fold base is required for making complex folds at the advanced level. Here are the steps to make a square fold. Refer to the diagram for a better understanding. The contrasting colors of dotted lines represent the valley fold and mountain fold, depending on way you hold the paper.
  1. The first step in the process of making a square fold is making mountain folds along the vertical and horizontal axes of the paper. Valley folds are made along the diagonal axis. After making these folds, unfold the paper. The paper will look something like this.
  2. In this image, the paper is held in such a manner that you get a better idea of how to collapse it.
  3. Now collapse the paper as shown in the image.
  4. The square fold is ready.

Chair Fold

Chair Fold Diagram
Diagram
Chair Fold Step 1
Step 1

Chair Fold Step 2
Step 2

In the process of making a chair fold, you'll need to make valley folds, half-valley folds and half-mountain folds. Use the diagram for reference to make the folds.
  1. A square-shaped paper, as shown in the image would be required to make the chair fold.
  2. Making the necessary folds as per the diagram makes the paper look like this. This step completes the chair fold.

Squash Fold

Squash Fold Diagram
Diagram
Squash Fold Step 1
Step 1

Squash Fold Step 2
Step 2
Squash Fold Step 3
Step 3

Squash Fold Step 4
Step 4

The process of making a squash fold using a square base is illustrated below.
  1. The square base that you are seeing in the diagram has two flaps, one beneath the other.
  2. Lift the top flap and make a half-valley fold with it. It means the flap is lifted but not folded completely; thus, it is held at the right angle to the paper.
  3. In the next step, the half-folded paper is pried open as shown in the diagram.
  4. The paper is carefully pressed down to make two mountain folds; your squash fold is ready.

Petal Fold

Petal Fold Step 1
Step 1
Petal Fold Step 2
Step 2

Petal Fold Step 3
Step 3
Petal Fold Step 4
Step 4

Petal Fold Step 5
Step 5

  1. You'll need a square base to make a petal fold. Remember that the open ends of the square base are at the bottom, while the closed ones at the top.
  2. Make three valley folds as depicted in the image.
  3. Unfold the valley folds. The next step in the process is a bit tricky which needs to be followed carefully.
  4. Lift the bottom corner of the paper. As you lift the paper, it gets folded along the top valley fold.
  5. Edges of the fold need to be aligned along the vertical axis and then flattened. The petal fold is ready.

Inside Reverse Fold

Inside Reverse Fold Diagram 1
Diagram 1
Inside Reverse Fold Diagram 2
Diagram 2

Inside Reverse Fold Step 1
Step 1
Inside Reverse Fold Step 2
Step 2

For making the inside reverse fold, you'll need a kite base. The kite base is folded (valley fold) along its vertical axis. The diagrams presented in this section should prove to be helpful in making the required folds.
  1. In the next step, you'll have to make a valley fold and two mountain folds as depicted in the diagram.
  2. The inside reverse fold will look like this.

Outside Reverse Fold

Outside Reverse Fold Diagram 1
Diagram 1
Outside Reverse Fold Diagram 2
Diagram 2

Outside Reverse Fold Step 1
Step 1
Outside Reverse Fold Step 2
Step 2

The outside reverse fold, just like inside reverse fold requires you to start with the kite base. You'll have to refer to the diagrams for making the folds.
  1. Fold the kite base along its vertical axis.
  2. This is how the outside reverse fold will look like.

Rabbit Ear Fold

Rabbit Ear Fold Diagram
Diagram
Rabbit Ear Fold Step 1
Step 1

Rabbit Ear Fold Step 2
Step 2
Rabbit Ear Fold Step 3
Step 3

Rabbit Ear Fold Step 4
Step 4
Rabbit Ear Fold Step 5
Step 5

To make a rabbit ear fold, you'll need a square-shaped paper. Divide the paper into two halves with a valley fold along the diagonal axis and then unfold it. Both, the red-colored and blue-colored lines represent the valley folds. However, the blue-colored line has to be unfolded before making the folds represented by red lines.
  1. A square-shaped paper is required for making the rabbit-ear fold.
  2. Make the valley fold on the left-hand side and unfold it.
  3. Now, make the valley fold on the right-hand side and unfold it.
  4. In this step, make the above-mentioned valley folds at a time and in a manner that they meet at a single point. Make another valley fold starting from this point to the upper corner of the paper.
  5. Flatten the creases to form the rabbit ear fold.

This article provides the steps needed for some of the simplest paper folding techniques suitable for beginners. There are many different techniques which can be learned through this art form called Origami.
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