How to make an origami festival lantern

This traditional Japanese festival lantern is a simple project and can be completed in about five minutes. A second version is described in the final step. Make any number of lanterns to illuminate an outdoor patio or make just one to add to your collection of origami models. You’ll need a square of paper and a suitable place to work in to begin folding.

Practice folding your lantern with a square piece of paper a standard sheet of copy paper works well until you have mastered the folds of the model. Then, if desired, move on to colored or patterned papers. If you are going to be illuminating your lantern with electric light, then look for heat-resistant paper.

You will also need to find an appropriate place to work. Folding against a hard, flat surface (table, floor, etc.) will allow you to make the sharp creases and accurate folds necessary for a successfully completed lantern. Make your creases even sharper by running a pencil or ruler edge over each one as you work.

  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 the color you want for the exterior of the lantern is facing down.
  2. Bring the left point of the model over to meet the right point. Crease and unfold.
  3. Bring the top point of the model down to meet the bottom point. Crease and unfold.
  4. Turn the model over and position it on your work surface so that its edges are facing up and down, left and right.
  5. Bring the left edge of the model over to meet the right edge. Crease and unfold.
  6. Bring the top edge of the model down to meet the bottom edge. Crease and leave folded.
  7. 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.
  8. Bring the front flap back to meet the left point of the diamond and bring the back flap up to meet the right point. Press the model flat and position it so that the open end is pointing toward you.

9 Bring the lower right edge of the model (top layer only) over to meet the vertical center crease line. Crease and unfold.

  1. Bring the lower right edge of the model (top layer only) backward along the same crease line made in Step 9. Crease and unfold.
  2. Open up the bottom-right edge of the model and push the right point over to meet the vertical center crease line. The model’s top layer should collapse along crease lines made in the Steps 9-10; and, what was the upper-right edge of the model will come to lie flat along the vertical center crease line. Press flat. The top layer of the model should now resemble an upside-down kite.
  3. Bring the lower-left edge of the newly formed upside-down kite shape up to meet the model’s vertical center crease line. Crease and unfold.
  4. Bring the lower-left edge of the upside-down kite shape backward along the same crease line made in Step 12. Crease and unfold.
  5. Repeat Steps 12-13 for the lower right edge of the upside-down kite shape.
  6. Open up the upside-down kite shape and lift the free horizontal edge upward, toward the top of the model. At the same time, bring the kite shapes left and right points together to meet at the model’s vertical centerline. Press flat to create a small kite shape that rests atop a narrow diamond shape. A triangular flap should form the top of the kite shape.
  7. Fold the kite shape in half lengthwise, from right to left. Press flat.
  8. Repeat Steps 9-15.

18 Turn the model over and repeat Steps 9-16.

  1. Repeat Step 18.
  2. Turn the model over and repeat Step 16.
  3. Open up the model to form the lantern. The kite shapes should be hidden within the creases of the lantern and the smooth-surfaced diamond-shaped sections should be pressed flat from the interior.
  4. Create a second version of the lantern by hiding the smooth-surfaced diamond shapes within the creases of the lantern. The previously hidden kite shapes. Make each kite shape visible and position each kite’s triangular flaps so that they are sticking straight out from the model.

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