How to make an origami umbrella

How to make an origami umbrella

This traditional paper umbrella is made using origami, the ancient art of Japanese paper folding. A decorative umbrella can be made from any paper you like (as long as it is able to crease well and hold its folded shape). If you would like to make an umbrella that can be used in the rain, however, the paper you use should be a heavy waxed paper or something similar.

For the project presented here, you will need the following: 2 10” squares of paper, tape (colored or clear), colored paper scraps, string (optional), a chopstick (or similar), a craft knife or scissors, a ruler, and a pencil. These materials will produce an umbrella that is approximately 5” high, excluding the handle. You can adjust the paper size in order to create a smaller or larger umbrella.

Sharp creases are crucial to the success of this project, so take the time to make each one as sharp as possible. Try running a ruler or pencil edge over each crease as you work for the best results.

  1. Position one 10″ 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 umbrella’s exterior is facing up.
  2. Bring the left point of the model over to meet the right point. Crease and unfold.
  3. Bring the top point of the model down to meet the bottom point. Crease and unfold.
  4. Turn the model over and position it on your work surface so that its edges are facing up and down, left and right.
  5. Bring the left edge of the model over to meet the right edge. Crease and unfold.
  6. Bring the top edge of the model down to meet the bottom edge. Crease and leave folded.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Bring the upper-left edge of the diamond shape (top layer only) over to meet the vertical center crease line. Crease and unfold. Bring this same edge backward along the crease you just made. Re-crease and unfold.
  10. Open up the lower-left edge of the model (top layer only) and push inward at the left point. Push until the point and upper left edge come to lie along the vertical centerline. The result will be an upside-down kite shape as the model’s top layer. Press flat.
  11. Turn the model over and repeat Steps 9-10.
  12. Bring the right point of the model’s second layer over to meet the left point. Press flat.
  13. Repeat Steps 9-10.
  14. Bring all layers of the resulting upside-down kite shape (all three layers) over to the right. Press flat.
  15. Repeat Steps 9-10.
  16. Bring the top two layers of the model’s right half over to the left. Press flat. There should now be four layers of paper on each side of the model.
  17. Bring the upper-left edge of the upside-down kite shape (top layer only) over to meet the vertical center crease line. Crease and unfold. Bring this same edge backward along the crease you just made. Re-crease and unfold.
  18. Open up the bottom-left edge of the model (top layer only) and push inward at the left point. Push until the point and upper left edge come to lie along the vertical center crease line. The result will be a very narrow triangular shape at the center of the model with a slanted bottom edge. The crease line you made in Step 17 should form the triangular shape’s right edge. Press flat.
  19. Turn the model over and repeat Steps 17-18.
  20. Turn the model over and bring the left half of the narrow triangular shape over to meet the right half. Press flat.
  21. Repeat Steps 17-18 until all eight flaps of the model have been identically treated. The result should be a very narrow upside-down kite-shaped model with diagonal flaps that cross at the bottom. There should be eight layers of paper on each side.
  22. Open and close the layers of the model (book-like) until the top layer of either side is composed of a triangular flap with a straight horizontal bottom edge.
  23. Use scissors or a craft knife to cut along the horizontal edge located in Step 22. Also, cut off the very tip of the model. The result will be a multi-layer triangular-shaped model with a blunted tip. Set the model aside.
  24. Repeat Steps 1-23 for the second 10″ square.
  25. Use a pencil and a ruler to locate and mark the midpoint of the model with a horizontal line.
  26. Use scissors or a craft knife to cut a slit (through all layers) on either side of the model, along the line drawn in Step 25. The width of each slit should equal 1/4 the width of the model at its midpoint.
  27. Open up the model so that it forms a pleated circle on your work surface. Reverse each crease, from the point where the slits were cut down to the model’s outer edge.
  28. Raise the center portion of the circle – as well as the outer perimeter – and set the model aside. The outer edge of the model should be pointing straight up.
  29. Open up the second model and insert the first one into it. Insert the bottom end first so that the raised center portion of the first model is pointing down.
  30. Rotate the two models until their pleats line up and fit snugly together. Place a little glue around the edges of the model to secure the layers in place.
  31. Create a hemmed edge for the umbrella by first cutting a very small slit (approximately 1/16 of an inch) on each side of the creases that fold inward. Make all slits uniform in size.
  32. Fold up the edges of the umbrella to the interior and glue the resulting hem into place. The portions of paper in between each pair of slits made in Step 31will remain sticking outward to form tab-like shapes.
  33. Cut off the ends of the chopstick so that the stick is uniform along its entire length. Wrap a piece of tape around one end.
  34. Hold the umbrella in one hand and insert the stick into it from the interior upward. Push the stick up until a small portion of it pokes through the top. Secure this top portion in place with glue and wrap a piece of colored tape – or glue a scrap of colored paper – around it to cap the top. You can also secure the cap with a piece of string if desired.
  35. Wrap a piece of colored tape – or glue a scrap of colored paper – around the other end of the stick at the point where it meets the interior of the umbrella. Do not catch the interior of the umbrella in the tape. The umbrella will raise and lower by sliding its interior up and down along the stick.

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