How to make an origami fan

The fan project presented here is a centuries-old, traditional origami model. While most origami models are made from a square of paper, however, this fan is made from a long rectangle. Ideally, the length of the rectangle used should be approximately three times the width. For practice, use a standard sheet of copy paper that has been cut in half vertically. Once you have mastered the folds of the model, then move on to colored or patterned papers that have been trimmed to more accurate proportions.

This project is simple, but the creases and folds you make have to be precise in order for it to fold successfully. The best way to ensure this is to fold against a surface that is hard, flat, and stable. A book, table, or floor all work well. Make your creases even sharper by running a pencil or ruler edge (or similar) over each one as you work.

  1. Position a rectangular piece of paper on your work surface so that its short edges are facing left and right.
  2. Bring the left edge of the model over to meet the right edge. Crease and unfold.
  3. Bring the left edge of the model over to meet the vertical center crease line created in Step 2. Crease and unfold.
  4. Bring the right edge of the model over to meet the vertical center crease line. Crease and unfold. The model should now be divided into four equal sections.
  5. Bring the left edge of the model over to meet the vertical crease line that is closest to the right edge. Crease and unfold.
  6. Bring the right edge of the model over to meet the vertical crease line that is closest to the left edge. Crease and unfold.
  7. Bring the left edge of the model over to meet the first vertical crease line you come to. Crease and unfold.
  8. Bring the right edge of the model over to meet the first vertical crease line you come to. Crease and unfold. The model should now be divided into eight equal sections.
  9. Bring the left edge of the model over to meet the vertical crease line that is closest to the right edge. Crease and unfold.
  10. Bring the right edge of the model over to meet the vertical crease line that is closest to the left edge.
  11. Bring the left edge of the model over to meet the third vertical crease line in from the right edge. Crease and unfold.
  12. Bring the right edge of the model over to meet the fourth vertical crease line in from the left edge.
  13. Bring the left edge of the model over to meet the fourth crease line you come to. Crease and unfold.
  14. Bring the right edge of the model over to meet the fourth crease line you come to. Crease and unfold.
  15. Bring the left edge of the model in to meet the first crease line you come to. Crease and unfold.
  16. Bring the right edge of the model in to meet the first crease line you come to. Crease and unfold. The model should now be divided into sixteen equal sections.
  17. Re-position the model so that one short end is facing toward you.
  18. Bring the bottom edge of the paper under, to the back of the model, along the first crease line up from the bottom. Re-crease and leave folded.
  19. Bring the bottom edge of the model up and over to meet the second crease up from the bottom. Crease and leave folded.
  20. Repeat Steps 17-18 until the remainder of the model has been similarly pleated. The resulting model should resemble a multi-layered rectangular strip.
  21. Re-position the model so that its short ends are facing up and down and the top rectangular layer’s right edge is free.
  22. Bring the right edge of the model’s top layer over to the left and press flat. The top layer of the model should now be wider than the remainder of the model and divided by a crease line into two equal sections.
  23. Bring the upper left corner of the top layer over past the model’s right edge. The resulting crease line should run from the midpoint of the top layer’s bottom edge to the upper right corner. Crease and leave folded. The top layer of the model should be slanted to the right.
  24. Locate the straight, right edge that lies underneath the slanted top layer and bring this edge over to the left as you did in Step 21.
  25. Repeat Step 22, taking care not to include the previously folded layer in the current crease line.
  26. Repeat Steps 23 and 24 until every layer of the model, except the last rectangular panel, has been folded in the same way. Hold the layers of the model secure at the bottom edge as you work. The resulting model should be fan-shaped.
  27. Fold the rectangular panels at either end of the model under and to the back. Press flat to complete the fan.

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