Origami, the ancient Japanese art of paper folding, is a hobby that involves the folding and manipulation of paper to create a model of some existing object. The techniques used with origami, however, are not limited to paper. Fabric can also be similarly folded and manipulated. Indeed, the use of fabric allows for some techniques that would not be possible with paper. For example, a paper model may be more difficult to turn inside out than a fabric model.
The origami mouse presented below is most easily folded from a square handkerchief, scarf, or cloth dinner napkin. If you choose to fold this model from paper, use an 8” (at least) square of newsprint or a similarly pliable paper. Furthermore, when using paper, do not make sharp creases. Crease the paper just enough for it to retain its position. Creases are unnecessary if using fabric.
This is a beginner-intermediate level project that should take approximately five minutes to complete. Read through each step carefully before attempting it and only move on to the next step when you are sure that all previous steps have been accurately executed.
- Position a square handkerchief or piece 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 or fabric, make sure that the color you want for the exterior of the mouse is facing down.
- Bring the bottom point up to meet the top point. Crease (if using paper) and leave folded.
- Use the top point as a guide to determine the midpoint of the model’s bottom edge. The measurement does not have to be exact.
- Bring the right point over to the left, along the bottom edge, just past the midpoint determined in Step 3. Crease (if using paper) and leave folded.
- Repeat Step 4 for the model’s left point. The left and right points folded over in Steps 3 and 4 should create two flaps that overlap one another.
- Bring the bottom edge up to where the flaps created in Steps 4 and 5 overlap and form a “v” at the model’s lower center. Make sure that the folded portion is even all the way across the bottom of the model. Crease and leave folded.
- Continue folding the strip created in Step 6 upward until its upper edge (on both sides) reaches the point where the flaps created in Steps 4 and 5 begin to fold inward. The folded strip should protrude a bit from either side of the model. Make sure to crease (if using paper) after each fold upward. The result will be a triangular shape with a folded strip at its bottom edge
- Turn the model over and repeat Step 3.
- As you did in Steps 4 and 5, bring the model’s left and right sides inward so that they overlap. Crease (if using paper) and leave folded. The edges of strip that was folded up in Step 7 should be visible.
- Fold up the edges of the strip that was folded up in Step 7. Crease (if using paper) and leave folded.
- Tuck the top point of the model into the pocket created in Step 10.
- Insert your thumbs into the pocket that has formed at the bottom of the model and place your middle and forefingers at either edge of the top pocket. Very carefully turn the model inside out. Keep turning it inside out until one end of cloth (or paper) emerges from either end of the model. These protrusions form the mouse’s head and tail.
- Grasp one edge of the protruding piece between each thumb and forefinger. Roll the piece back toward the center of the model until two tight points have been created. Gently tie the points into a knot to create the mouse’s head and ears.