How to Fold a Japanese style Origami Box

Origami, the ancient art of Japanese paper folding, allows you to produce functional items as well as decorative ones. Some origami models, like the traditional star box described below, are both. This project is an intermediate one. If you have never done origami before, you may want to try out some beginner models first.

Before you begin your origami box, consider the type of paper you will use. Copy paper or typing paper will do for practice. However, this box is really stunning when made from two-sided paper. Use this if you plan on displaying the box. You can use a paper that is white on one side and colored on the other (like specialty origami paper) or a paper that is colored on both sides.

  1. Begin by placing a square of paper on a flat, hard work surface in front of you. Avoid cushioned or soft-sided surfaces, as these do not give the support needed to make sharp creases and accurate folds. Keep a ruler or pencil on hand to smooth over the creases as you work. This will make your creases even sharper.
  2. Position the square in a diamond shape, points facing up and down, left and right. Start with the exterior color of the box up.
  3. Bring the top point down to meet the bottom point. Crease and unfold. Bring the left point over to meet the right point. Crease and unfold. Flip the paper over.
  4. Position the square so that the edges are now facing up and down, left and right. Bring the left edge over to meet the right edge. Crease and unfold. Bring the top edge down to meet the bottom edge. Crease and leave folded.
  5. Grasp the resulting rectangle at its left and right sides and push inward. The folds you made previously should allow the model to collapse into a diamond shape with one folded flap sticking out towards the front of the model and one sticking out towards the back.
  6. Bring the front flap back to meet the left point of the diamond and bring the back flap up to meet the right point. Re-crease and flatten the model. Position it on your work surface so that the open end is facing up.
  7. Bring the upper-left edge of the top layer of paper over to meet the center crease. Crease and leave folded. Insert your thumb and forefinger into the resulting flap and open it so that the bottom layer of the flap remains at the center vertical crease and the top layer of the flap is returned to the upper left edge. Press flat. A triangular pocket should now be formed on the lower left side of the model.
  8. Fold the top-left edge backward, between the two layers of paper to meet the center crease. Crease and leave folded.
  9. Repeat the two previous steps for the right side of the model.
  10. Flip the model over and repeat the three previous steps.
  11. Make sure the model is positioned so that the narrow point is up and the broader point is facing toward you. Bring the bottom point up toward the center of the model and crease at the point where the left and right lower folds begin. Crease and unfold. Flip the paper over and repeat.
  12. Bring the point of the top layer down towards the center of the model as far as it will go. Crease and leave folded. Flip the model over and repeat. Open up the model just a little bit in the center and repeat with the remaining points of the paper.
  13. Open out the box and flatten the bottom along the creases made in Step 11.

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