How to make an origami penguin

This traditional origami penguin is very easy to fold and should take the beginner only a five minutes or so to complete. Follow the directions carefully and only move on to the next step when you are confident that all previous steps have been correctly completed.

Before you start this project, you’ll need a piece of paper that has been cut into a true square, a pair of scissors and a suitable work surface. Practice with just about any type of paper you have on hand – a sheet of copy paper works well. Practice with inexpensive paper first and then move on to colored or patterned paper once you have successfully mastered the folds of the model.

You’ll also need to find an appropriate surface upon which to fold. Folding against a hard, flat surface works best for making the sharp creases and accurate folds needed for a successfully completed model. A table, hardback book, or even a floor will work. Make 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 that the color you want for the exterior of the penguin is facing down.
  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.
  4. Bring the upper-right edge of the model down to meet the center horizontal crease line. Crease and unfold.
  5. Repeat Step 4 for the upper left edge.
  6. Bring the lower right edge of the model up to meet the center horizontal crease line. Crease and unfold.
  7. Repeat Step 6 for the lower left edge.
  8. Pinch the model at its top and bottom points along the pre-existing crease line. Bring the top and bottom points together at the center. The model should collapse along the crease lines made in Steps 2-7 to form a long diamond shape. The points you are holding will stick straight out from the model. Press the diamond shape flat.
  9. Fold the model in half lengthwise so that the points that are sticking out from the top are now protruding from either side. Re-position the model so that its flat edge is resting on your work surface and the model is standing on its own. The model will now resemble a two-layered pyramid shape that has one triangular flap pointing toward you and another pointing away from you. These flaps will form the penguin’s front flippers.
  10. Open up the model at its top-right edge. Hold the layers of the model together at the midpoint of the model’s right leg. Push upward until the outer portion of the left leg flattens out and points straight up. Reverse the crease of this portion of the leg to form the penguin’s head. Pinch to keep in place. The tip of the head should be pointing up and away from the model.
  11. Use scissors to snip the left edge of the model. This will create the penguin’s feet. Make the feet long enough to support the penguin when you stand it up. Flatten out each foot so that it points toward the top of the model and pinch to keep in place.
  12. Stand the penguin up. Adjust the positioning and length of the feet, if necessary.

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