How to Make an Origami Cup and dish

Origami, the ancient Japanese art of paper folding, provides us with many traditional designs for containers of varying sizes and shapes. The cup and dish described below can be made for display or for everyday use as household containers. The segmented dish is especially useful for keeping small, desktop items (paper clips, tacks, etc.) organized.

For any origami project, you will need to have access to a work surface that is hard and flat. This will give you the sharpest creases possible, which will allow for a more accurately folded model. It is also important that you start with a paper that has been cut into an exact square. If the dimensions are off by even a very small degree, your model may not fold correctly.

You can use any paper you like for your model – copy or typing paper will work well. If you decide to make a cup or dish for display, you may want to explore some more colorful paper options. Paper made especially for origami is available. It is two-sided (white on one side and brightly colored on the other) and comes pre-cut into squares. You may be able to find more economical versions of this paper in the forms of gift wrapping paper and wall posters.

Cup

  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, the exterior color of the cup should be facing down.
  2. Bring the bottom point up to meet the top point. Crease and leave folded.
  3. Bring the left edge of the resulting triangle (top layer only) down to meet the bottom edge. Crease and unfold.
  4. Bring the left point of the triangle up to meet the right edge of the triangle, at the point where the crease line made in Step 3 ends. Crease and leave folded.
  5. Bring the right point of the model over to meet the left point. This will result in a flap symmetrical to the flap made in Step 4.
  6. Bring the top point (top layer only) down as far as you easily can. Crease and leave folded. Turn the model over.
  7. Repeat Step 6.
  8. Insert a finger into the open end of the model and round out the cup form.

Dish

  1. Position a square of paper on your work surface so that its edges are facing up and down, left and right. If you are using two-sided paper, make sure that the main color for your dish is facing up.
  2. Bring the right edge over to meet the left edge. Crease and unfold.
  3. Bring the top edge down to meet the bottom edge. Crease and unfold.
  4. Reposition the paper so that the square’s points are now facing up and down, left and right.
  5. Bring the left point over to meet the right point. Crease and unfold.
  6. Bring the top point down to meet the bottom point. Crease and unfold.
  7. Bring the top point down to meet the center of the paper. Crease and leave folded. Repeat for the remaining points.
  8. Bring the top point folded down in Step 7 back to meet the top edge of the model. Crease and leave folded. Repeat for the remaining three points. The result will be that a square of the bottom paper layer is now visible.
  9. Bring the top edge of the model down to meet the center horizontal crease. Crease and unfold. Repeat for the remaining three edges.
  10. Bring the top edge of the model backward to meet the center horizontal crease along the same crease made in Step 9. Crease and unfold. Repeat for the remaining three edges.
  11. Lift the model up and bring the left and right edges down so that, from the top, the model is rectangular in shape.
  12. Push in at the center of the left and right edges while simultaneously pushing down at the center of the model. The model should collapse along pre-existing crease lines. The resulting model will have the shape of an upside-down rowboat. Position the resulting model so that it lies flat on your work surface, long edge facing toward you.
  13. Push in the slanted right edge of the model so that it, along with the lower right point, folded back into the interior of the model. You will have to open up the edges a little bit in order to complete this step. Repeat for the lower-left point. Turn the model over.
  14. Repeat Step 13.
  15. Open up the top edge of the model (top layer only). Now push up on the lower edge so that it flattens upward into an arched shape. This will result in the formation of a pocket. Repeat for the remaining three sides of the model. The result will be a shallow, square dish with an oval compartment at each of the four sides.

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