How to Fold an Origami Fortune Teller

This paper fortune teller seemed to be everywhere in elementary and junior high school. You probably either made one yourself or had one thrust at you at some point in your youth. If you’ve forgotten how to make one or how it works, take a few minutes to fold one now!

You’ll need one piece of paper cut into a 6 square (don’t go any smaller than this). The paper can be any color you like. You will be writing words and numbers on it, however; so, make sure that you’ll be able to see the pen marks on the paper you choose. For example, you won’t be able to see black ink on black paper, but you will be able to see it on white paper.

You’ll also need a hard, flat work surface to fold against. Avoid soft, cushioned surfaces like carpets and pillows they don’t give the stability you need to make accurate folds and sharp creases. Use a table or hardback book for the best results. Run a pencil or ruler edge (or similar object) over all creases to make them even sharper.

The directions given for using the fortune teller can be altered or modified as desired, or as you remember.

  1. Position a square of paper on your work surface so that its points are facing up and down, left and right. If you are using two-sided paper, then the color you want for the exterior of the fortune teller should be face down.
  2. Bring the left point over to meet the right point. Crease and unfold.
  3. Bring the top point down to meet the bottom point. Crease and unfold.
  4. Bring the top point down to the center of the square, using the intersection of crease lines made in Steps 2 and 3 as a guide. Crease and leave folded.
  5. Repeat Step 4 for the remaining three points. Turn the model over.
  6. Repeat Steps 4 and 5 for the remaining three points. Re-position the model so that its edges are now facing up and down, left and right.
  7. Bring the right edge over to meet the left edge. Crease and unfold.
  8. Bring the top edge down to meet the bottom edge. Crease and leave folded.
  9. Insert a thumb and forefinger into the square-shaped flaps that make up the top layer of the model. Insert your other thumb and forefinger into the identical flaps located on the back of the model.
  10. Operate the fortune teller by bring the thumbs and forefingers together, then apart vertically, then together again, then apart again horizontally.
  11. Lay your completed fortune teller flat on your work surface.
  12. Write a number (1-4) on each of the four square flaps at the back of the model.
  13. Write the names of four different colors on the four flaps at the top of the model.
  14. Write different fortunes under each of the four colors. These can be phrases such as yes, no, not sure never, etc.
  15. Position the model on your fingers as you did in Step 9.
  16. Ask another person to ask the fortune teller a question. Next, have them pick a number between 1 and 4. Open and close the fortune teller (as described in Step 9) that many times.
  17. Have the person pick one of the two colors written on the visible flaps. Count the number of letters in the chosen color and open and close the fortune teller that many times.
  18. Have the person pick one of the two colors written on the visible flaps and ask a question.
  19. Lift the flap under the chosen color to reveal the fortune.

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