How to make an origami carp

This traditional origami model, the carp, is a very simple model that should take the beginner approximately five minutes to complete. Follow all the instructions carefully and move on to the next step only when you are sure that all previous steps have been correctly completed.

The only items you’ll need in order to begin folding this fish model is a piece of paper that has been cut into a true square and a place to work. Use any paper you have on hand for practice a square cut from a standard sheet of copy paper works well. Once you have successfully completed the model once or twice, then move on to colored or patterned paper, if desired. You can also experiment with varied square sizes.

You will also need to find a workplace that will provide you with a smooth, flat, stable surface (table, floor, hardback book, etc.). This type of surface will allow you to make the even folds and sharp creases necessary for an accurately folded model. Run a ruler or pencil edge over each crease as you work to make them even sharper.

  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, make sure that the color you want for the exterior of the carp is facing down.
  2. Bring the left point of the model over to meet the right point. Crease and unfold.
  3. Bring the lower-left edge of the model over to meet the vertical center crease line made in Step 2. Crease and leave folded.
  4. Repeat Step 3 for the lower right edge of the model to create a kite shape.
  5. Turn the model over and position it so that the narrow point is facing toward you.
  6. Bring the top point of the model down to meet the bottom point. Crease and leave folded.
  7. Bring the lower-left edge of the model over to lie along the center vertical crease line. Crease and leave folded.
  8. Repeat Step 7 for the model’s lower right edge.
  9. Hold the layers of the model secure at the bottom point and reach in between the paper layers at the upper edge. Locate the two free points at the interior and pull them out. Press the model flat to form a kite shape.
  10. Bring the bottom point of the model (top layer only) up and over to touch your work surface. Press flat. The top of the model should now have a smooth surface.
  11. Bring the left point of the model over to meet the right point. Crease and leave folded.
  12. Locate the triangular flap at the center of the model. Bring the flap’s upper edge down to lie along the model’s center horizontal crease line. As a result, the top point will extend past the left edge of the model. Crease and leave folded.
  13. Turn the model over and repeat Step 12. This creates the fins of the carp.
  14. Turn the model over and rotate it so that the fins are pointing toward you.
  15. Hold the layers of the model secure, halfway between the right point and the center. Separate the layers of the upper-right edge and push up along the bottom right edge. Push until the right point flattens out and angles upward. Reverse the point’s existing crease line and press flat so that the base of the point is in between paper layers. This completes the carp’s tail.
  16. Hold the layers of the model secure at the center. Separate the layers of the upper-left edge and push up along the bottom left edge. Push up until the left point flattens out and reaches the interior center of the model. Press flat to complete the carp’s head.

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