If you’re looking for a way to impress your friends and family with your origami skills, look no further than the origami box. This traditional Japanese art form is not only aesthetically pleasing, but it’s also functional – perfect for storing small trinkets or holding candies. Plus, it’s relatively easy to learn how to make one!
What is origami?
Origami is the traditional Japanese folk art of paper folding. The word “origami” is derived from the Japanese words “ori” (folding) and “kami” (paper). The distinguishing feature of origami is that it is made by folding paper without using scissors or glue.
Origami can be simple or complex, but all origami starts with a single sheet of square paper. The standard size of origami paper is about 6 inches (15 cm) square, but you can use any size of paper. Once you have your square sheet of paper, you can start folding!
The history of origami
The word origami is derived from the Japanese words oru (to fold) and kami (paper). Early origamists folded paper into representational shapes such as animals and flowers. The introduction of Western paper into Japan in the sixth century led to the democratization of origami; anyone, regardless of social status, could afford to practice the art.
The use of scissors and other decorative cutting techniques began in the seventeenth century. The first known graphically decorated origami paper, known as kirigami was created in 1858. These new cutting and pasting skills were used to create nets that could be used to make geometric solids called kusudama.
Origami tessellations—patterns formed by interlocking identical origami components—were first described in a mathematical paper published in 1987. Since then, a wealth of different tessellation patterns have been created by mathematicians and origamists alike.
One of the most influential origami books of all time is Units Origami by Yoshihide Momotani, which was published in Japan in 1986. This book introduced the idea of using food packaging as folding units—a revolutionary idea at the time that has since been adopted by many other origamists.
The basics of origami
Origami is the ancient Japanese art of paper folding. The word origami (from Japanese oru [“to fold”] and kami [“paper”]) has become the generic description of this art form, although some European historians believe it originated in China.
There are two different types of origami: modular and pureland. Modular origami is constructed from multiple identical units joined together to form a three-dimensional shape. Pureland origami uses a single sheet of paper, with no cuts or folds except for those that close the model.
Origami paper is specifically manufactured for folding; it is usually sold in prepackaged squares of various sizes, but you can also find it as large uncut sheets. The most common size square is 6 inches (15 cm) on a side, but you can go as large as 12 inches (30 cm). Smaller squares may be easier to work with if you are a beginner. You can also use regular copy paper, but it will be harder to fold and the results won’t be as nice.
When choosing origami paper, look for one that is colored on both sides so that you don’t have a white back showing when you finish your model. If you can only find white origami paper, you can color it yourself with pencils, crayons, or markers.
How to make an origami box
Origami is the traditional Japanese art of paper folding. This simple how-to will teach you how to make a traditional origami box. All you will need is a single sheet of square paper.
- Begin with your paper square placed horizontally in front of you.
- Fold your paper in half to create a vertical crease, then unfold it back to the starting position.
- Now fold the top and bottom edges of your paper towards the center crease, making sure to align the edges exactly. Crease well and unfold.
- Flatten the top and bottom layers of your paper so that the resulting shape looks like a rectangle with two triangular flaps on top and bottom.
- Next, fold each side edge towards the center line, making sure to align the edges exactly with the center crease as before. Crease well and unfold.
- Once again, flatten the top and bottom layers of your paper so that it resembles a rectangle with four triangular flaps on each side (two on each side should be pointing up, while the other two should be pointing down). At this point you should have a horizontal crease running through the middle of each flap— these will be instrumental in later steps.
- Fold along each horizontal crease so that all four flaps meet in the center of your rectangle; at this point, your folds should form a cross shape when viewed from above. Unfold along all four creases.
- Re-fold along just two opposite diagonal creases so that your flaps once again meet in the center; you can now see the beginnings of your box taking shape. Unfold completely.
- Take one flap and fold it diagonally upwards so that its tip lines up exactly with the outermost corner of another flap. Repeat with the remaining three flaps. You have now created what’s known as a cupboard or AX the foundation—the base upon which we will build our box. Unfold all four folds.
- Starting with any flap, pinch both sides so that it forms a triangle, then tuck this triangle into a pocket underneath another flap directly opposite it. Repeat with all remaining three flaps until you have completed one full rotation around the cupboard, tucking each flap into a pocket beneath its opposite number Your origami box is now complete!
Tips for making origami boxes
Here are some tips to help you make perfect origami boxes:
- Choose the right type of paper. Paper that is too thick or too thin will be difficult to work with and may not give you the results you want. Thick paper is best for beginners, while expert origamists can use thinner paper for more intricate designs.
- Cut your paper accurately. Make sure your paper is cut to the correct size and shape before you start folding. Otherwise, your box may not turn out as expected.
- Follow the instructions carefully. Origami can be tricky, so it’s important to follow the instructions closely. If you’re having trouble, try watching a video tutorial or asking a friend for help.
- Be patient. It takes practice to get the hang of origami, so don’t get discouraged if your first few attempts are unsuccessful. Keep trying and you’ll eventually get it!
Variations on the origami box
There are many variations on the origami box, some with lids and some without, some that open from the top and some from the side. This basic origami box is easy to make and can be adapted to suit your needs.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Make a lid for your box by folding a piece of paper in half along the diagonal and then in half again. Unfold and you will have a crease in the shape of a cross. Place your box so that the opening is at the top of the cross and fold two of the flaps into the center of the box. Repeat with the other two flaps.
- Change the size of your origami box by using a square piece of paper instead of a rectangular one. Start with a square sheet of paper and fold it in half along both diagonals to create creases in the shape of a cross. Fold each flap into the center of the square to create your box.
- Make an origami box that opens from the side by folding one flap into the center of the box and then folding down two opposite sides. Flip your box over and repeat on the other side.
More origami projects
If you’re looking for more origami projects to keep you busy, look no further! Here are a few more origami designs to try:
- Origami crane
- Origami lotus flower
- Origami Dragon
- Origami swan
- Origami cat
Resources for learning origami
There are plenty of resources available for learning origami, from books and websites to classes and kits. If you’re just getting started, we recommend checking out some of the following resources:
OrigamiUSA.org: This website is a great starting point for learning origami. It includes a brief history of origami, instructions for basic origami folds, and a directory of resources for further study.
The British Origami Society: Another great website for learning origami basics. The British Origami Society also has an extensive directory of origami resources, including books, websites, and classes.
Origami Kits: Origami kits are a great way to learn origami if you prefer to have everything you need in one place. Some kits come with paper and instructions for specific projects, while others include a book with general instructions and a variety of papers to use for your own creations.