How to make an origami sphinx

This traditional origami model is an intermediate level project that will take approximately ten minutes to complete. Follow all directions carefully and read through each one before attempting it. Only move on to the next step when you are sure that all previous steps have been correctly completed.

One of the great things about most origami projects is that you don’t need any special equipment or supplies in order to get started. You’ll just need a square of paper and a place to work.

Use any sort of paper that you have on hand for practice. Start out with a plain, white copy paper (or similar) first and then move on to special patterned or colored paper, if desired. Any paper you choose should be heavier in weight than the average sheet of lined notebook paper.

Your work surface should be stable, hard, and flat. The appropriate surface will allow you to make the accurate folds and sharp crease needed for the successful completion of your model. Run a ruler or pencil edge over each crease as you work if you want even sharper creases.

  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 sphinx 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. Turn the paper over.
  4. Position the square so that its edges are now facing up and down, left and right.
  5. Bring the left edge over to meet the right edge. Crease and unfold. Bring the top edge down to meet the bottom edge. Crease and leave folded. You will now have a rectangular-shaped model.
  6. 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.
  7. Bring the front flap back to meet the left point of the diamond and bring the back flap up to meet the right point. Make sure all of the creases are as sharp as possible and that your model lies as flat as possible. Position the model so that the open end is pointing toward you.
  8. Bring the lower-left edge of the model (top layer only) over to meet the model’s vertical centerline. Crease and unfold. Fold the lower left edge backward along the crease line you just made. Crease and unfold.
  9. Repeat Step 8 for the lower right edge of the model.
  10. Bring the top point of the model down to meet the bottom edge. Crease just enough to mark the horizontal center. Do not make a sharp crease.
  11. Bring the top point of the model down to the center of the model. Use the crease line made in Step 10 as a guide. Crease and unfold.
  12. Bring the bottom point of the model (top layer only) up toward the top of the model, opening up the top layer as you go. The top layer should collapse along the crease line made in Step 11 and the bottom point should come behind the top point to touch your work surface. The left and right points of the model will meet at the center. The result will be a narrow diamond shape at the top of the model. Press flat.
  13. Turn the model over and Repeat Steps 11-12.
  14. Bring the top point of the model (top layer only) down to meet the bottom point. Press flat. Turn the model over and repeat. You will now have a double-layered kite-shaped model. Position the model so that its narrow point is facing toward you.
  15. Locate the two pointed flaps that make up the second layer of the model. You’ll have to temporarily lift the model’s top flap in order to do this.
  16. Open up the left side of the model a bit and push the left interior flap outward and up at its right edge. Hold the top half of the model secure while you are doing this. The point will flatten out as it rises and its existing crease should reverse. The point of this flap should now be sticking up from between the model’s layers at the top left edge.
  17. Repeat Step 16 for the right interior flap of the model.
  18. Hold the model between thumb and forefinger at the left point of the kite shape. Bring the top left point that was brought up to the top of the model in Step 16 down and to the left until it flattens out and points straight out to the left. Pinch the flap at the point where it protrudes from the model so that its crease is reversed and its tip points down. A very small portion of the flap should still be visible at the upper left edge.
  19. Repeat Step 18 for the right point to complete the legs of the sphinx.
  20. Bring the bottom point of the model (top layer only) up to meet the top point. Crease and unfold.
  21. Bring the lower-left edge of the kite shape (top layer only) up to lie along the horizontal crease line made in Step 20. Crease and unfold. Repeat for the lower right edge of the kite shape.
  22. Bring the left edge of the model’s bottom point over to meet the right edge and crease so that the resulting crease line will run from the bottom point up to the intersection of the crease lines made in Step 21.
  23. Bring the bottom point of the model (top layer only) up to meet the top point. Press flat.
  24. Pinch the point you folded up in Step 23 and bring it back toward you. The paper beneath this point should collapse along the crease lines made in Steps 21-22. The result will be a triangle shape with its base at the horizontal center of the model. The point you brought back toward you should now be sticking straight up from the triangle. Pinch to keep in place.
  25. Hold the layers of the protruding pointed flap secure at the flap’s base.
  26. Push down on the tip of the pointed flap until one half of the flap flattens out and the tip points toward you. Pinch so that the crease of the flattened out portion is reversed and comes to lie within the folds of the flap’s lower half and then bring the very tip back up to lie within the folds you just made. Pinch to keep in place. This creates the head of the sphinx.
  27. Pick the model up and bring its bottom point under and to the back. This creates the rear of the sphinx.
  28. Fold the model in half, lengthwise, so that the front legs come together and its pyramid-like shape is formed.

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