Origami Day

Each year on Origami Day (November 11), people around the globe celebrate the age-old art of paper folding. Scholars speculate that paper folding first began about one thousand years ago in Asia - most likely in Japan. By the eighteenth century, the first instructional guides on paper folding were being published there. One of the most notable books from that time is called Senbazuru Orikata (A Thousand Cranes and How to Fold Them). You can view scans of the full work here in the Metropolitain Museum of Art's digital collection.

Today, learning origami is easier than ever. From videos to online articles to books, there are resources galore. That said, it can still be hard to figure out where to begin. Below are a few of my favorite simple designs to get you started.

Simple Origami to Try at Home

  • Butterfly

    Butterflies are one of the oldest origami designs on record - they're referenced in a poem from 1680! There are many ways to make a butterfly from folded paper. Below is a variation for beginners.

    You Will Need: A square piece of paper of any size.

    Click here to see how it's done!
Image of a blue origami butterfly held by its wings by two hands.
Image of an origami sailboat with yellow sails and a red base. It is held in someone's hands on each end.
  • Paper Crane

    Another classic design, paper cranes might be what you think of when you imagine origami. While a crane can be made from paper squares of any size, I strongly suggest using one at least 5 inches by 5 inches when you are starting out.

    You Will Need: A square piece of paper of any size. Larger paper is preferred for beginners.

    Click here to see how it's done!
A pair of hands holds a red origami paper crane by its base.

Interested in learning more? Click here to see the books about origami available with your library card.

Happy Origami Day - have fun folding!

Amanda Ospina is a Children's Librarian Trainee at the Riverfront Library. She loves both history and crafts, and folded her first origami butterfly over 15 years ago. Her favorite authors include Gail Carson Levine, Emma Steinkellner, and Oge Mora.

Information in this post was sourced from Encyclopedia Britannica.

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