The heart is a basic shape, but universally recognized as a symbol for love and affection. This makes origami hearts very popular projects for people in search of Valentine's Day crafts, although you can certainly enjoy making hearts on a year-round basis if you wish.
There are several different sets of instructions available for how to fold an origami heart, ranging from simple projects for children to elaborate 3-D hearts. This project is an intermediate level design that features a flower embellishment in the center of the heart.
To make the origami heart featured in this tutorial, you'll need to cut a square of paper in half. This tutorial uses 12 inch x 12 inch scrapbooking paper cut to measure 6 inches x 12 inches to create the finished origami heart, but you can use 6 inch x 6 inch origami paper cut to measure 3 inches x 6 inches if you wish. However, many paper folders find it's easier to complete a project using large paper because the individual folds are easier to manipulate.
The best paper to use for this design is a solid color or subtle pattern on one side and white or a coordinating color on the other side. This will allow for the most possible detail in the finished origami paper heart. Use paper that is fairly thin in order to make the folds as crisp as possible.
1. Begin Your Origami Heart
To begin your origami heart, start with your paper white side up. Fold your paper rectangle in half. Unfold, then fold each side to the center. Unfold. Fold the top left corner to the middle crease, then unfold. Repeat until all corners have been folded and you have a grid of creases that looks like the picture to the left. (You do not need to draw the lines on your paper, they are for demonstration purposes only.)
2. Form a Triangle
Turn your paper vertically, then push in the left and right corners to form a triangle on the top of the paper. Repeat on the other side. When finished, your origami heart should look like the photo to the left.
3. Fold the Flaps into the Center
Take each little flap and fold it toward the vertex of the matching triangle.
4. Make Four Squares
Open up the flaps and press them down to form four separate squares.
5. Create a Heart Shape
Fold back one side of the bigger square, then flip your paper over and fold back the corners slightly. When you're finished with this step, your origami heart should look like the photo to the left.
6. Complete Your Origami Heart
Now, it's time to begin the decorative flower element of your origami heart. Turn your paper back over, then fold the sides of each small square towards the center diagonal line. Open up the new "pockets" you've created, pressing down gently. Your origami heart is now complete.
7. Embellish Your Paper Heart
The origami heart makes a nice decoration for your window or a cute embellishment for a handmade Valentine's Day card. You could also try stringing together several origami hearts made from various sizes and colors of paper to create your own unique Valentine's Day mobile. If desired, you can add a decorative scrapbook brad, button, rhinestone, or silk flower to your origami heart for a bit of extra visual appeal.
If you'd like another fun Valentine's Day origami project to try, consider making a money origami heart to give to your loved one on February 14.