How to make an origami lighthouse

Although this lighthouse-shaped origami project has many steps, it is a relatively simple project and is suitable for beginners. All you need is a square of paper and a place to work. If starting with an 8 ½” square of paper, the finished model will be approximately 5” in height. Adjust the size of your paper square as desired.

You can use any paper you like for your model. The plain, white paper will do for practice. Once you have mastered the folds, though, you might want to make your final version from a special paper. Use any color paper you want. There is specialty paper available at paper stores and online shops made just for origami. These packs of paper are pre-cut into perfect squares and are two-sided. One side is white and the other is brightly colored. You can make your own version of this specialty paper by substituting gift wrapping paper or wall posters.

In origami, the workspace you choose is very important. Your work surface must be hard and flat in order to attain the sharpest creases possible – their sharpness will determine how well your model folds and keeps its shape. Avoid soft, cushioned surface such as couches, pillows, or even your lap. A table is preferable as a work surface, but even a hardback book will do.

  1. Place a square of paper on your work surface 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 upper-left edge over to meet the lower right edge. Crease and unfold.
  4. Use scissors to cut the model into a rectangle, using the crease line made in Step 3 as a guide.
  5. Position the rectangle so that the short ends are facing up and down and the pre-existing crease line extends from the upper left point down to the center of the right edge. If using two-sided paper, make sure that the desired dominant color is face up.
  6. Bring the top edge of the rectangle over to meet the right edge. Crease and unfold. There should now be an “x” shape created by the crease lines at the top half of the rectangle.
  7. Bring the top edge of the rectangle down to meet the bottom edge. Crease and unfold.
  8. Grasp the left and right upper edges of the rectangle and bring them together and down so that the top half of the model collapses along the pre-existing crease lines. Press the top half of the model flat. The model should now resemble a square with a triangle sitting on the top.
  9. Bring the left point of the triangle (top layer only) up to meet the top point. Crease and leave folded. Repeat for the right point to create a small diamond shape.
  10. Bring the top-left point of the diamond shape down to meet the bottom point. Crease and unfold. Bring the top left point backward to fold along the crease line you just made. Crease and unfold. Repeat for the top right point.
  11. Open up the right edge of the left half of the diamond shape just a bit. Push down on the diamond’s top-left point so that it meets the diamond’s bottom left point. The left half of the diamond should collapse into a square shape. Repeat for the right half of the diamond.
  12. Bring the lower right point of the resulting square shape (top layer only) up to meet the square’s upper left point. Crease and leave folded. The interior edges of each square should now form a triangular flap.
  13. Bring the point of the triangular flap up to meet the upper edge line of the two squares.
  14. Grasp each square’s interior top point and pull outward so that the triangular flap opens up into a flat edge and a narrow strip is formed.
  15. Open up the resulting rectangular strip’s right edge and push the lower right point inward, between the strip’s layers. The right edge should collapse inward along previously made crease lines. Press the model flat. Repeat for the right edge. Turn the model over.
  16. Bring the top edge of the model up toward the center so that the resulting rectangular flap will be twice the width of the strip created in Step 14. Crease and leave folded.
  17. Bring the right edge of the model to the back and fold so that approximately 1/4 of the upper right square at the top of the model will also be folded back (the right point created in Step 15 is not folded back). Crease and leave folded. Turn the model over.
  18. Pull the bottom right corner of the model’s narrow bottom strip down as far as it will go. Press flat. This will create a flap that extends past the bottom of the model.
  19. Use scissors to trim this flap so that the entire bottom edge of the model is straight. Do not trim the paper that extends past the left edge of the model.
  20. Bring the right edge of the model over to meet the folded left edge. Crease and leave folded. Make sure that the square that is opposite to the one folded back in Step 17 is folded back, as well.
  21. Pull the bottom left corner of the model’s narrow bottom strip down as far as it will go. Press flat.
  22. Trim the resulting extended flap so that the entire bottom edge of the model remains straight.
  23. Tuck the bottom left corner of the model’s top layer into the pocket created by the narrow strip at the bottom. Turn the model over to reveal the lighthouse.

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