Origami Clowns

This clown is a simple origami project that can be completed in about five minutes. The completed clown figure is then decorated with colored pens, pencils, or markers. If you will be using this project as a child’s birthday party activity, you may want to make several blank clowns ahead of time.

You’ll need a piece of paper that has been cut into a true square, scissors, a ruler, a pencil, and colored pencils, pens, or markers. You can practice the model with just about any paper you have on hand a sheet of standard copy paper (or similar) works best. After you have folded the model successfully once or twice, then move on to brightly colored or patterned paper, if desired. Any paper you choose should be able to crease well and retain its folded shape.

To make sharp creases, always fold against a surface that is hard and flat. A table, floor, or hardback book all work well for this. To make creases even sharper, run a pencil or ruler edge over each one as you work.

  • 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, make sure that the side you want for the exterior of the clown is facing down.
  • Bring the left point of the model over to meet the right point. Crease and unfold.
  • Bring the left point of the model over to meet the vertical center crease line made in Step 2. The model’s lower left edge should come over to lie completely along the vertical center crease line, as well. Crease and leave folded.
  • Bring the right point and lower right edge of the model over to meet the vertical center crease line as in Step 3. Crease and leave folded. The model should now be kite-shaped.
  • Bring the top point of the model down to meet the bottom point. Crease just enough to mark the model’s horizontal center and unfold. Do not make a sharp crease.
  • Bring the top point down to meet the edge created by the two triangular flaps that make up the model’s top layer. Crease just enough to leave a light marking line and unfold. Do not make a sharp crease.
  • Bring the top point down to meet the model’s horizontal center crease line. Crease just enough to leave a light marking line and unfold. Do not make a sharp crease.
  • Use a ruler and pencil to measure and mark the midpoint between the first and second horizontal crease lines down from the top of the model. Make one mark on each edge of the model and then draw a horizontal line joining them.
  • Use scissors to cut along the line drawn in Step 8. Cut from the left edge to a point that is halfway between the left edge and the vertical center crease line.
  • Repeat Step 9 for the right side of the model.
  • Bring the top half of the model’s upper-left edge over to a point that is just past the vertical center crease line. Crease and leave folded.
  • Repeat Step 11 for the top half of the model’s upper-right edge so that the two resulting flaps overlap each other evenly to form a triangle.
  • Use a ruler and pencil to measure and mark out the midpoint between the top edge of the two large triangular flaps that make up the model’s first layer and the model’s horizontal centerline. Make a mark along either edge of the model and then draw a line that connects them.
  • Turn the model over and fold it in half, lengthwise, from right to left. Cut a slit along the horizontal line drawn in Step 13, from the right edge toward the left. The slit should be 1/2 the length of the portion left uncut in Steps 9-10.
  • Unfold the model and turn it over.
  • Bring the top point down through the slit created in Step 14. The resulting crease line should meet the upper edges of the two large rectangular flaps that make up the model’s top layer. Crease and leave folded. The model should now be shaped like a triangle.
  • Bring the left edge of the model over to meet the vertical centerline. Crease and leave folded.
  • Repeat Step 17 for the right edge of the model. The model’s left point will extend above the top edge a bit.
  • Bring the model’s two top points down toward the center of the model until a triangular flap appears from behind. The triangular flap should be sitting on top of the resulting fold. Crease and leave folded.
  • Use scissors to cut the bottom point in the half, about 1/4 the way up toward the top of the model. This forms the legs of the clown.
  • Turn the model over to see the completed model. The top triangle is the head and the small triangular flaps to either side of the model are the arms that have been folded behind the clown’s back.
  • Draw the clown’s face, hat, feet, and outfit to complete the model.

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