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5 Ways to Make Awesome Origami


origami medallion
Dana Hinders

Do you want to learn how to make awesome origami? While it takes many years of practice and a great deal of natural talent to become as proficient as someone like the legendary Akira Yoshizawa, you can help take your origami skills to the next level by remembering a few basic tips.

Don't Give Up

The key to making awesome origami is to keep practicing. The best origami artists often began studying their craft as children. They have practiced on a regular basis for decades, so it's unreasonable to expect similarly masterful results from your first try. Be patient and persistent. If you're having trouble deciphering written instructions, look for online videos or origami books that have accompanying videos. As time passes, you'll find the quality of your projects steadily improves.

If you find yourself feeling discouraged, take pictures of your projects or save a few models from your practice sessions to make an "origami scrapbook" that provides concrete evidence of how your skills are progressing.

Personalize Easy Origami Instructions

The Internet is full of easy origami instructions for projects such as an origami heart or an origami flower. To make truly awesome origami, feel free to experiment and tweak the instructions to make them your own. Skip a step, mountain fold instead of valley fold the corners, or start the project with the opposite side of the paper facing up. In many cases, all it takes is a few minor alternations to turn a design into something that is completely new and different.

Traditionally, origami does not involve cutting, folding, gluing, or adding any extra embellishments to your designs. However, a well placed cut or a small detail like google eyes and glittered paper edges can help turn an otherwise ordinary design into awesome origami.

Try Modular Origami

Modular origami is the practice of fitting together several identically folded units to create the final design. The individual units are normally fairly easy to fold, which makes this a great way for novice paper folders to learn how to create awesome origami. Modular origami designs look difficult to create and are guaranteed to impress your friends.

Most introductory origami books have a chapter or two devoted to modular origami. Some examples of modular origami projects include the origami crown and origami wreath.

Use Nontraditional Materials

While origami paper comes in many beautiful colors and patterns, many awesome origami projects incorporate nontraditional materials. For example, Trash Origami describes how to make unique projects folded from candy wrappers, old greeting cards, calendar pages, and soup can labels. In addition to being a thrifty way to enjoy your paper folding hobby, experimenting with non traditional materials can open up new possibilities for origami designs due to the way papers of different thicknesses will hold a specific fold. Since many of these materials are bigger than the standard 6 inch by 6 inch origami paper, they also make it possible to create more useful boxes, envelopes, and origami containers.

Money origami is another interesting variation of typical paper folding projects. Money origami designs have to be created with the rectangular dimensions of the currency, so this allows for designs that would be hard to make with square origami paper.

Connect With Other Origami Enthusiasts

Origami is often thought of as a solitary pursuit, but it can be very beneficial to participate in origami classes and workshops that let you meet other paper folders in your community. Look for classes at your local community college, recreation center, or craft store.

If there are no origami classes in your area, consider using online forums to connect with other origami enthusiasts. About Origami has a forum where you can share ideas, ask questions, and post pictures of projects you have completed.

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