This traditional origami turtle is an intermediate level project and will take ten minutes or more to complete. Follow each step carefully and accurately and make sure that all prior steps have been correctly completed before moving on to the next.
As with most origami projects, you’ll need a square of paper and a place to work. Practice with a plain, white sheet of copy paper (or similar) first. Move on to colored or patterned paper, if desired, after you’ve successfully folded this model once or twice. The paper you use should be heavier than the average sheet of lined notebook paper.
Fold your model against a hard, flat surface. This works best for making the sharp crease and accurate folds needed for a successfully completed model. A table, hardback book, or even a floor will do. Make creases even sharper by running a pencil or ruler edge over each one as you work.
- Position a square of paper on your work surface so that its edges 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 turtle is facing down.
- 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 unfold.
- Turn the square over and position it so that its points are now facing up and down, left and right.
- Bring the left point over to meet the right point. Crease and unfold.
- Bring the top point down to meet the bottom point. Crease and leave folded.
- Grasp the left and right points of the resulting triangle and push inward. This will cause the model to collapse along the folds you just made. The result will be another triangle shape with folded flap sticking out from the back of the model and another sticking out from the front.
- Fold the front flap to the left and fold the back flap to the right so that your model will lie flat. Position your model so that is flat against your work surface and the open end is facing toward you.
- Bring the top point of the model down to the bottom edge. Crease and unfold.
- Bring the left point of the triangle (top layer only) up to meet the top point. The left half of the triangle’s bottom edge will come up to lie along the vertical center line. Crease and unfold.
- Repeat Step 10 for the right point of the triangle. Turn the mode over.
- Repeat Steps 9-11.
- Locate the midpoint of the model’s bottom edge. Bring this point (top layer only) up to meet the top point. The top layer of the model will collapse along the crease lines made in Steps 9-12 and the left and right points will come to the bottom center of the model. The resulting shape will resemble a house. Press flat and turn the model over.
- Repeat Step 12.
- Open up the left side of the house shape a bit (top layer only) and push up and in at the lower left corner. The lower left corner will come up to meet the model’s center point and the lower right point of the house shape’s left side will come up to meet the top point. The result will be a triangular shape.
- Repeat Step 15 for the right side of the model’s top layer so that the two sides are symmetrical. Turn the model over.
- Repeat Steps 15-16. The result will be a diamond shaped model.
- Bring the lower left edge of the diamond shape (top layer only) over to meet the vertical center line. Crease and leave folded. Repeat for the lower right edge to create a kite shape. Turn the model over.
- Repeat Step 18.
- Open up the lower flaps of the kite shape just a bit.
21 Bring the left top point (top layer only) of the model to the left so that it extends past the upper left edge. The resulting crease line should extend from the middle of model’s upper left edge to its center point. Crease and leave folded. Repeat for the right top point.
- Close the flaps of the kite shape that were opened in Step 20. Turn the model over.
- Repeat Steps 20-22.
- Fold the top point of the top layer back into the model’s folds. Turn the model over.
- Repeat Step 24. One top point should remain.
- Bring the left leg of the model up and to the left as far as it will easily go. Its point should be jutting up and away from the model. Crease and unfold. Repeat for the right leg.
- Open up the left leg a bit and push it up and to the left until it flattens out. Reverse the leg’s crease. It should take the same position as in Step 26, jutting up and to the left. Use the crease line made in Step 26 as a guide.
- Repeat Steps 26-27 for the right leg.
- Blunt the point of the right leg to form the turtle’s head.
- Flatten the top point of the model to form the body of the turtle. You may find this more easily accomplished if you insert the eraser end of a pencil into the model’s bottom opening and use it to gently open up the model a bit.