The vast majority of origami models are static. That is, they are designed as paper replicas of common, three-dimensional objects and do not include any moving parts. Origami artists and hobbyists create and fold these models for the creative and mathematical challenge they provide and for purposes of display. There are a minority of origami models, however, that is sometimes referred to as action models. Such models fall into two categories: models that move and those that make noise when they move.

The bird with flapping wings, the crawling beetle, the jumping frog, and the spring presented below are all examples of models that move. They move when a designated spot on the completed model is pulled, pressed, or manipulated in a specific way. In a few cases, the model will also make a noise when manipulated. The typewriter, the camera, and the appropriately named banger are all examples of this type of noise-making origami model. Regardless of whether the model makes noise or not, all are similar in that they exploit the surprising level of elasticity found in the paper.

This origami spring project is a very simple one and should take a beginner just a minute or two to complete. You will need paper, a pencil, a ruler, scissors, and a flat work surface. You can use just about any paper you like, however, a standard sheet of copy paper is perhaps the best choice. Its length will allow for the appropriate dimensions of the strip of paper you will begin with and you can make multiple models from just one sheet.

Work on a surface that is hard and flat. Measuring and cutting the necessary strips of paper will be an easy task and you will have a suitable surface from which your spring can move. This model will not move as well if you attempt to launch it from a soft surface, such as a pillow or carpet.

  1. Use a ruler, pencil, and scissors to measure out and cut a strip of paper that is approximately 10 X ľ.
  1. Hold the end of the model between your thumb and forefinger.
  2. Run your opposing thumb and forefinger down the length of the model a few times until the paper begins to curl.
  3. Grasp one end of the model between thumb and forefinger, placing them inward a bit from the model’s edge. Hold the model up so that the opposing edge hangs free.
  4. Bring the top left corner of the model down and to the right while simultaneously curling the top edge inward and under. Continue the curling motion until the entire length of paper is wound into a long, tight spiral. No edge should overlap more than 1/8″ along the model’s length.
  5. Place the narrower end of the model against your work surface and press down on the wider end with your thumb and forefinger. The model should collapse against the surface.
  6. Take your fingers off of the model. It should spring into the air.
  7. Repeat Steps 1-6 as many times as desired.

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