Origami 101


Dior Haute Couture photo courtesy of: my.opera.com/ mystyle/blog/ch


This breathtaking creation was part of John Galliano’s Spring/Summer 2007 haute couture collection for Christian Dior. It’s also a perfect example of how origami can be an incredible medium for artistic expression. Children love it, and it provides an excellent way to develop their fine motor skills, patience, sequential learning and attention to detail. It requires understanding some basic terminology and symbols, and after that, it’s about practice, precision and patience. Children find it incredibly rewarding once they have understood the basics. They easily memorize instructions to simpler designs, and need nothing more than some beautiful paper to execute them and impress those around them. For years, I have carried origami paper in my purse to rescue children from the boredom of lineups and restaurants. My children have literally left a paper trail.

Below you will find information to start you off, although I do recommend getting a good book. I have also included instructions for folding a yacht and butterfly.

Begin by clicking here to learn the symbols and basic techniques.

Click here for information about origami history, tips for folding, and shops for buying paper in Toronto.

Some sites and books which may be of interest:

Classic Origami by Paul Jackson

Butterflies For Kiri

The Educational Benefits of Origami


Origami Instructions

There is a large selection of paper available to make origami designs: colour on one side, double-sided, prints, foils, and of course paper you can cut yourself.  The size you choose is up to you, but I would recommend at least 6″x6″ if you are a beginner. The yacht requires double-sided paper because both sides are shown in the final design.



1. Begin with a sheet of double-sided paper.


2. Valley fold in half diagonally and open back up.


3. Valley fold top edge in, one third of the way.


4. Fold right side towards the left, along existing crease.


5. Now fold it back, creating a crease starting from the left of the top corner to halfway along the bottom edge.


6. Valley fold the bottom corner over to the right.


7. Mountain fold the bottom corner behind. Your yacht is now finished.





1. Start with white side up.


2. Valley fold your paper in half.


3. Valley fold in half again.


4. Open up your paper.


5. Valley fold all the corners to the center.


6. All four corners folded into center.


7. Unfold paper.


8. Fold sides into centre.


9. Valley fold top and bottom to center.


10. Like this.


11. Gently pull out the inside corners.


12. Second corner.


13. Third corner.


14. Fourth corner.


15. Fold up the top corners to look like this.


16. Turn it over and fold the top down.


17. Fold the whole thing in half.


18. Like this.


19. Make a small diagonal fold at the top.


20. Repeat on this side.


21. You can now open up your finished butterfly.


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