How to make an origami dragonfly

Most origami projects can be completed from a square of paper only. Some designs, however, are unable to achieve a realistic look without the assistance of glue or scissors. This origami dragonfly is one such design – one step requires that two wing portions of the model each be snipped in half.

In addition to scissors, you’ll need a square of paper and a hard, flat surface upon which to work. Use any paper you like for your practice folds. If, however, you plan to make a dragonfly for display or decoration, you may want to consider using a brightly colored paper. Paper made especially for origami is available and each package contains an assortment of pre-cut colored and patterned paper. More economical versions are available, however, in the form of gift wrapping paper and brightly colored wall posters.

You will also need to have access to a hard, flat surface. Sharp creases are a must in origami, and a suitable workspace will help you achieve them. Running a ruler edge or pencil over each crease will also help make your creases as sharp as possible.

  1. Place the square on your work surface, colored side down (if using two-sided, origami-style paper) and position it so that its points are facing up and down, left and right.
  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. Turn the paper over.
  4. Position the square so that the edges are now facing up and down, left and right.
  5. Bring the left edge over to meet the right edge. Crease and unfold. Bring the top edge down to meet the bottom edge. Crease and leave folded. You should now have a rectangular-shaped model.
  6. Grasp the model at its left and right edges and push inward. It should collapse along the pre-existing folds. The result will be a diamond shape that has one folded flap sticking out toward the back of the model and another sticking out toward the front.
  7. Bring the front flap back to meet the left point of the diamond and bring the back flap up to meet the right point. Make sure all of the creases are as sharp as possible and that your model lies as flat as possible. Position the model so that the open end is pointing toward you.
  8. Bring the lower-left edge of the model’s top layer over to meet the vertical center crease. Crease and leave folded. Repeat with the corresponding lower right edge.
  9. Bring the top of the model down to fold along the flaps made in Step 8. Crease and unfold.
  10. Unfold the flaps made in Step 8.
  11. Pull the bottom point of the model (top layer only) up toward the top point. The left and right edges will come together at the center and the top layer should collapse along the existing crease lines as you move upward. Bring the bottom point all the way over to meet the work surface. The result will be a long, skinny diamond shape sitting on top of the diamond-shaped bottom layer. Turn the model over.
  12. Repeat Steps 8-10.
  13. Fold the top point of the bottom layer back to meet the bottom point of the model. Press the model flat.
  14. Locate the right “leg” of the model’s top layer. Place your thumb on the interior left edge of the leg and push up and to the right so that the leg is now flat. The right edge of the model should open up as you do this. Once the leg is perpendicular to the model, rotate it to the back. The result should be a pointed flap that resembles the top half of the model; however, this flap should sit behind the model’s top half. Repeat for the left leg so that the model is symmetrical.
  15. Bring the left edge of the model’s top point over to meet the center vertical line. Crease and leave folded. In the process, you will have to press flat the point where the top point meets the left point you made in Step 13.
  16. Locate the left point’s small top point. This will be located right next to the base of the top point. Fold this point down just enough to blunt the point. Crease and leave folded.
  17. Repeat Steps 14 and 15 for the left side of the model. Turn the model over. You should see a kite-shaped model with three-pointed flaps extending from its top, left, and right.
  18. Bring the lower-left edge of the kite shape over to meet the center vertical line. Crease and leave folded. In the process, you will have to press flat that portion of the pointed left flap that meets kite shape and blunt any small point as you did in Steps 14 and 15. Repeat for the lower right edge of the kite shape. Turn the model over.
  19. Bring the left point over to meet the right point. Crease and leave folded. The wings of the dragonfly will now be to the right of the model.
  20. Position the model so that the wings are now at the top.
  21. Bring the left point down while simultaneously pushing up at its base. This will result in a reversal of the crease that forms the point’s bottom edge. Bring the point down so that it is almost parallel with the center vertical line. Pinch the point at its base to secure.
  22. Fold the point up at short intervals to create the head of the dragonfly. Make each successive crease a sharp as possible and fold up until the head reaches the body.
  23. Use scissors to cut each wing flap in half. Only cut halfway down the length of each wing.
  24. Bring just the tip of each wing half down and out from the model to blunt. Crease and leave folded. Position the model as it was in Step 18.
  25. Bring the top wing layer down as far as it will easily go. Crease and leave folded. Turn the model over and repeat for the remaining wing.
  26. Pick up the dragonfly by the tail and adjust the wings as desired.

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