Origami Inspirations

by Meenakshi Mukerji

Origami Inspirations
If you are familiar with Meenakshi Mukerji’s previous origami publications then her third book, Origami Inspirations, will not disappoint. Like her other books, this book focuses on modular origami: a class of origami where two or more simple units are combined to form a more complex model.

Section 1: Introduction
Origami Inspirations is 120 pages long and it is divided into six sections. The first section has information on origami symbols, bases, tools, paper, and tips & hints for success. This section also includes a brief introduction to Platonic, Archimedean, and Kepler-Poinsot solids. Most of the origami models made in this book are based on these polyhedral shapes.

Section 2: Simple Cubes
As suggested by the title, the models in this section are all cubes. All of the cubes require folding a square sheet of paper into thirds. The Plain Cube and Plain Cube 2 are the easiest and require 6 and 12 units respectively. [Photo: Plain Cube , Plain Cube 2]
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Note how the patterns on the cube can be more complex when more sheets of paper are used. The cube is one of the humblest of the Platonic solids; however, by using many sheets of paper even the basic cube can be made quite spectacular:
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Ray Cube    ,    Thatch Cube     ,    Whirl Cube

These cubes are made with 24 sheets of paper each. The units are folded such that the white sheet of the paper (back side) is also visible.

Because so many units are used, many patterns can be generated by:

  • using different sides of the paper as top side,
  • interchanging pockets and tabs, and
  • positioning of the units based on their color.

For example, there are 12 variations of the Ray Cube, four of which are shown on the right:

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Section 3: Four-Sink Based Models

The 3rd section of the book is devoted to Floral Cubes which are made from the “four-sink windmill” base. Though this origami base is not particularly difficult to fold, it is quite involved. Readers who wish to make these floral cubes should be comfortable with the sink fold and should expect to spend about 10 to 15 minutes to fold each unit. Each model is made with 6 units and are effectively cubes with fancy faces. Shown are:

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Flower Cube and variations;

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Flower Cube 2 and variations;

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Flower Cube 3 , Flower Cube 4 , and Butterfly Cube

Section 4: Folding with Pentagons

Straying from the typical “square sheet of paper”, section 4 of Origami Inspirations uses paper in the shape of a pentagon. Mukerji provides clear instructions on how to obtain a pentagon from a square. Despite these good instructions, creating a perfect pentagon is not trivial; most of the problem coming from the error due to the thickness of the paper and errors in folding exactly along the indicated lines.

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Oleander      ,       Oleander Ball

Of this set, the Oleander is the easiest and most forgiving model. It can be a standalone model, or 12 units can be assembled into an Oleander Ball. Because only 12 units are required, this model is also the fastest one to complete.

Flower Dodecahedron 1 through 5 (below) are all folded in a similar manner: they require 12 pentagon units (for the 12 faces of the model) and 30 connector units. Because you need to cut, fold, and assemble a total of 42 units for each model, these Flower Dodecahedra take a considerable amount of time to complete.

In addition, care must be taken when cutting the pentagons and connector units. Small discrepancies in the unit sizes will amplify themselves dramatically in the final model.

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Flower Dodecahedron 1 & 2 are folded in a similar manner. The flaps point outwards forming curled spikes.


Flower Dodecahedron 3 & 4 are similar to one another and only slightly different from the previous two models. Here the flap are folded down to form central patterns.

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Flower Dodecahedron 5 appears to be the simplest model in this set; however, it is in many ways the most challenging. All the flaps fold towards the center of the pentagonal face. Errors in paper size, paper shape, or careless folding will cause an undesirable gap at the center where points should meet.


Section 5: Miscellaneous

Meenakshi Mukerji’s final chapter is devoted to miscellaneous models: models that don’t quite fit with the other categories but are too good to omit.

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Windmill Base Cube ,  Windmill Base Cube 2 ,  Wave

In the entire book, the two easiest models are Windmill Base Cube and Windmill Base Cube 2. Both of these models require 6 easy-to-fold units and 12 super-easy connector units. Assembly is trivial and results are quite satisfying.

Again, straying from the classic “square sheet of paper”, the model Wave uses a rectangle in a 1:6 ratio. The units are very easy to fold; however, assembly of Waves is easier if you use miniature clothespins to hold the units in place during assembly. A stunning model that is relatively easy to make.

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Whipped Cream Star  , Star with Spirals

Whipped Cream Star and Star with Spirals are two delicious models! They are so named because they look like icing on a cake! The models shown use 30 units, are folded from 1:2 ratio rectangles, and are assembled in a dodecahedron manner. Different models can be made with 12 units, 24 units, and variations in assembly.

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3 unit Hexahedron ,  4-unit Tetrahedron   , 6 unit Cube

Lastly, Mukerji offers Whipped Cream Polyhedra: The units are folded like the Whipped Cream unit but assembled like Sonobe units. Easy to assemble and stable too!

Section 6:

Fear not, there is one more section! The last section of the book is a collection of models from origami artists from around the world. The good part of this section is that new artists bring in fresh ideas – something different and a change from the familiar. And, it’s just nice to let other artists have a moment of fame and enjoy the limelight.

The bad part is that the artists do not use the same origami notations as in the rest of the book. In some cases, the location of the pockets and tabs is not shown. In other cases, instructions for assembly is not given. That being said, these origami models can be accomplished if the reader examines the diagrams carefully before proceeding. A select few are shown:

by Daniel Kwan from USA:
    Truncated Rhombic Triacontahedron
    Four interlocked Triangular Prisms (top image)

by Carlos Cabrino (Leroy) from Brazil:
    Chrysanthemum Leroy
    Chrysanthemum Leroy variation
    Carnation Leroy (second image)

by Tanya Vysochina from Ukraine
    Camellia (third image)
    Lily of the Nile

by Aldo Marcell from Nicaragua
    Adaptable Dodecahedron (bottom image)
    Adaptable Dodecahedron2

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All in all, this is a great origami book for those who are dedicated to modular origami. Many of the models require over 30 units to accomplish, thus one must be committed to the process. Although the units are not necessarily hard to fold, some of them are quite involved and require a certain amount of tenacity. This book is not for beginners; it is well suited for intermediate folders who are stout of character and have a strong sense of determination.


    Books with Modular Origami

    • Marvelous Modular Origami by Mukerji
    • Polyhedron Origami for Beginners (Origami Classroom) by M Kawamura
    • Origami Wreaths and Rings by David Petty
    • Unit Origami: Multidimensional Transformations by Tomoko Fuse
    • Unit Polyhedron Origami by Tomoko Fuse
    • Beginner’s Book of Modular Origami Polyhedra: The Platonic Solids by Rona Gurkewitz and Bennett Arnstein
    • 3-D Geometric Origami by Rona Gurkewitz and Bennett
    • Modular Origami Polyhedra (Origami) by Lewis Simon, Bennett Arnstein, and Rona Gurkewitz
    • Multimodular Origami Polyhedra: Archimedeans, Buckyballs and Duality by Rona Gurkewitz and Bennett Arnstein
    • Unfolding Mathematics with Unit Origami by Betsy Franco


    Buy Books with Modular Origami


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