Easy Traditional Origami Turtle Instructions

easy origami turtle

The Spruce / Chrissy Pk

Project Overview
  • Total Time: 30 mins
  • Yield: 1 turtle
  • Skill Level: Beginner

Learn how to make a cute little origami turtle or tortoise. The technique is officially Kirigami, which involves one cut during the process. 

Kirigami is described as a variation of origami that includes cutting the paper with scissors to reach the result. However, if you search Kirigami online, you may instead find a lot of pop-up cards and other intricate paper creations.

In traditional origami, there are several well-known models where cutting is an integral part of making the origami. If you are looking for some more origami animals to make, check out the origami jumping frog, a traditional origami peace dove, and the ​easy origami fox.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Scissors
  • Craft glue (optional)
  • Marker (optional)


  • 1 Square piece of paper, any size (minimum 5 inch by 5 inch for ease)


  1. Begin to Fold the Body

    1. If your paper is the same color on both sides, it doesn't matter which side you start your folds. If your paper has a white side, start with that side up.
    2. Fold the paper in half diagonally so that you have a triangular shape as shown.
    3. Fold the bottom right corner up to the middle point.
    4. Do the same on the left side.
    easy origami turtle
    The Spruce / Chrissy Pk
  2. Continue Folding the Body

    1. Fold the top of the right flap down to the bottom.
    2. Fold the top left flap down as well.
    3. Fold about one third of the bottom right flap out to the right.
    4. Repeat on the left side.
    easy origami turtle
    The Spruce / Chrissy Pk
  3. Cut Your Design

    1. With scissors, cut the top front layer that has not been folded. Cut from the bottom point to the very center.
    2. You should now be able to move the layers of flaps as shown.
    3. Fold the top layer of bottom flaps to match the ones you have already folded by following mini step number 3 above.
    4. Fold the left and the right points inwards, not all the way to the middle.

    Glue to the Rescue

    You may need to use a bit of glue to make these flaps stay in place.

    easy origami turtle
    The Spruce / Chrissy Pk
  4. Folding the Head

    1. Fold down the top points that you cut.
    2. To form the head, fold those flaps back up, leaving a little gap. (This is called a pleat fold.)
    3. Turn the turtle over to further shape the body. For example, fold it in half a bit for a more three-dimensional look and add eyes with a marker for a fun touch.

    Tortoise Tips

    If you are making a tortoise, fold the points over for a more rounded shell, legs, and head.

    easy origami turtle
    The Spruce / Chrissy Pk