Folding Origami: Beginner Tips

If you are just starting origami you might get overwhelmed with the diagrams and instructions. Origami can be a simple or very complicated paper craft. Here are some beginner tips for folding origami that will help you figure it out.

1. Understand symbols. Many origami books and projects come with a set of symbols, so you can understand the diagrams. If your project uses these, get to know them before starting any project or you might get frustrated. If you’re using a book, usually you’ll find those explanations at the beginning of the book or check the table of contents to find it.

2. Follow the instructions. Origami can get complicated, so read through the instructions completely before beginning your project. The more you study and understand, the more likely it is to come out just right.

3. Practice first: Expect to have to try a project a couple of times before you get it right. If you have special paper you don’t want to waste, do a practice run with scrap paper.

4. Make sure your folds are well creased. Run your fingers along each fold to ensure proper creasing. Proper creases make it much easier to get the desired results.

5. Make sure your folds are precise. In addition to being well creased, your folds should be as precise as possible. Take care and time to ensure folds are done evenly and precisely, so that it’s easier to execute subsequent folds too.

6. Have fun with paper. Traditional origami paper has two different sides. Some are solid colors and some are patterns. Try out different papers for different results.

Understanding Valley and Mountain Folds

There are a lot of different folds in origami, but the two basic ones to understand are the valley fold and mountain fold. The difference between these two folds is actually quite simple.

A valley fold looks forms a valley.

valley origami fold

A mountain fold forms the peak of a mountain.

mountain origami fold

It is simply a way to explain whether you should fold paper forward (valley) or fold the paper back (mountain).

Now you’re ready to start your first folding origami project. Just remember to be patient and most importantly, have fun!

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