Origami Basics


Have you always wanted to learn how to do origami but didn’t know where to start? Fear not, Origami Basics will teach you the things you need to know to get started. Once you have familiarized yourself with the symbols and notation used in origami diagrams, you can start folding some easy origami models. Remember, the best origami comes from people who practice so don’t be afraid to try the same origami model more than once to gain experience. After that, try some intermediate origami models here.

Origami Symbols

origami basics

    Lines, Arrow & Symbols

Origami Basics Folds

origami basics
    Valley Fold
    Mountain Fold
    Pleat Fold
    Blintz Fold
    Squash Fold
    Petal Fold
    Inside Reverse Fold
    Ouside Reverse Fold
    Sink Fold
    Rabbit Ear Fold
    Crimp Fold

Shapes of Paper

origami basics

Make a Square:
from a Rectangle

Make a Triangle:
from a Square (easy)
from a Square (efficient)
from a Rectangle

Make a Pentagon:
from a square, A5

Make a Hexagon:
from a Square
from a Rectangle

Make a Heptagon:
from a square (easy)

from a square or circle (easy)

from a circle (not easy)

from a square (with proofs)

from a square (exact?)

Make an Octagon:
from a Square

Make a A4, A5, or A6 Paper:
from a Square
from 8.5″ x 11″

Make a Dollar Bill proportion:
from 8.5″ x 11″

Make the Largest Square:
from a Dollar Bill (S Chen)

Dividing Paper

origami basics

Divide into Thirds:
Method 1
Method 2
Method 3
Estimation Method
More Methods (diagrams by H Koshiro)

Divide into Fifths:
Method 1
Method 2
Method 3
Fujimoto’s Approximation Method

Divide into Sevenths:
Method 1
Method 2
Method 3

Divide into Any number of Segments:
Intersecting Diagonals Method
Using a Template
Using Scissors


The information on this Origami Basics page relies heavily on Robert Lang’s Origami Diagramming Conventions, and information provided by the Origami Community as a whole. Please submit comments and recommendations here.


    Books with Easy Origami

    • Easy Origami: over 30 simple projects by John Montroll
    • Origami Fun Kit for Beginners by John Montroll
    • My First Origami Kit by Joel Stern
    • Easy Origami: A Step-by-Step Guide for Kids by C Alexander & M Meinking
    • Fun With Easy Origami (Dover Origami Papercraft)
    • Origami: A Step-by-Step Introduction to the Art of Paper Folding by T Cook & S Henry
    • Easy Origami For Kids Book Traditional Japanese Folding Papers Overs 20 Projects by J Wish
    • Easy Origami for Kids: Over 40 Simple Origami Projects by O Brooks


    Easy Origami Books


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    More Origami Diagrams and Instructions…

  • These free origami instructions are made available to you by the paper folding community at large. If you have a diagram you would like to share, or if your diagram is listed here and you wish to have it removed, please Contact Us. Diagrams are intended for personal use. Copyright of the models lie with the origami creators and designers. Please contact the designer and/or creator directly for non-private usage of a model and/or artwork.