How to make an origami windmill

This origami windmill, or pinwheel, can be folded in less than five minutes. Use a pin to mount the finished model to a stick and give it as a toy, place it next to an open window as a wind detector, or use it as garden decor.

Practice folding your windmill with any paper you have on hand. As long as the paper is cut into a true square, it’s usable. Although just about any paper will do, the windmill will look better and last longer if made from paper that is at least as heavy as a standard copy or typing paper. Once you have mastered the folds of this model, move on to brightly colored or patterned paper for your display or gift version.

For the best results, fold against a hard, flat surface. You’ll need this type of work surface in order to make accurate folds and sharp creases. A table or hardback book will do nicely. Keep a pencil or ruler on hand and run one over your creases to make them even sharper.

  1. 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 windmill is face down.
  2. Bring the left edge over to meet the right edge. Crease and unfold.
  3. Bring the top edge down to meet the bottom edge. Crease and unfold.
  4. Bring the left edge over to meet the center vertical crease line. Crease and leave folded.
  5. Bring the right edge over to meet the central vertical crease line. Crease and leave folded.
  6. Bring the top edge of the model down to meet the horizontal centerline. Crease and leave folded.
  7. Bring the bottom edge of the model down to meet the horizontal centerline. Crease and leave folded.
  8. Bring the top edge of the model over to meet the right edge. Crease and unfold.
  9. Bring the top edge of the model over to meet the left edge. Crease and unfold.
  10. Open up the flaps you made in Steps 6 and 7.
  11. Place the tip of your finger just below the horizontal center of the model over both of the existing rectangular flaps.
  12. Open up the top half of the model and bring the top edge down to meet the horizontal centerline. The top half of the model should collapse into a shape resembling the roof of a house. Press flat.
  13. Open up the bottom half of the model as you did for the top half in Step 12.
  14. Bring the top right point of the model up to the top of the model. When you do this, the top right half of the model should collapse along pre-existing crease lines. Press flat.
  15. Bring the bottom point down to the bottom of the model. Press flat to complete the windmill. Mount the windmill to the top of a long stick to make a pinwheel toy, if desired.

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