A Brief Guide to the Different Types of Origami

  • 01 of 07

    A Brief Guide to the Different Types of Origami

    origami cat
    Image courtesy of Flickr user Origamiancy.

    If you are interested in learning more about the art of paper folding, the first thing to remember is that there are actually several different types of origami. Slight alterations in the materials or techniques that are used can open up many interesting possibilities for a skilled folder. This slideshow outlines just a few of the many options to consider.

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  • 02 of 07

    Wet Folding

    Origami Bull
    Image courtesy of Flickr user EmreAyar.

    Wet folding is origami that is done using paper that has been moistened before it is folded. This technique results in origami with a softer, textured look. Many paper folding enthusiasts say wet folding can be considered a cross between origami and sculpture because much of the look of the model comes from the hand manipulation of the paper after the basic folds have been completed

    Wet folding was pioneered by legendary origami artist Akira Yoshizawa. Review our article A Guide to Origami Wet Folding to learn more about how this technique can be used to enhance your origami models.

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  • 03 of 07

    Modular Origami

    modular origami
    Fdecomite/ Flickr/ CC BY 2.0

    Modular origami, sometimes called unit origami, is origami that is made by connecting two or more identically folded units. Sometimes the units are held together by the tension of the folding process, but glue or tape may be used to reinforce the joints if needed. The About Origami How to Fold a Modular Origami Box tutorial provides an example of this type of project.

    The kusudama, or Japanese medicine ball, is a type of modular origami. A kusudama is a paper model that is made by sewing or gluing multiple units together to make a larger spherical shape. Typically, the units are flowers that are made from multiple sheets of square paper. Learn how to make a single kusudama flower by reviewing the About Origami How to Make an Origami Kusudama Flower tutorial.

    Golden venture folding, also known as 3D origami, is another type of modular origami. This origami is made by folding paper into triangular shapes and then joining the shapes to form a 3D sculpture. The 3D Origami Art website has several examples of this type of origami that have been shared by its forum members.

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  • 04 of 07

    Money Origami

    money origami crane
    An Mai/ Flickr/ CC BY-SA 2.0

    Money origami is similar to traditional paper folding, but involves using currency instead of origami paper. It is often called dollar origami or dollar bill origami, but the models can be folded from bills of any denomination if you are looking for a creative way to give a cash gift. The money origami bunny and money origami heart are two popular money origami projects suitable for the beginner.

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  • 05 of 07

    Fabric Origami

    Flower Earrings
    Image courtesy of Flickr user geogami.

    Fabric origami involves creating designs using folded fabric. The fabric is usually starched and pressed with an iron to help the creases hold their shape.

    Fabric origami can be displayed on its own or incorporated into other projects. For example, a fabric origami pinwheel with a button center would be a cute embellishment for a handmade throw pillow. Jewelry making is another common use of fabric origami, as evidenced by the flower earrings shown above.

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  • 06 of 07

    Towel Origami

    Origami towel folds
    Izzyschives/ Twenty20

    Towel origami involves folding washcloths or bath towels into creative shapes. Towel origami is most often seen at fancy hotels or on cruise ships, but can be done at home as a way to surprise visitors or to give towels to someone as a wedding, anniversary, or housewarming present.

    Carnival Cruise Lines is widely known for its use of towel animals as a way to welcome guests.  In fact, Carnival's towel origami creations have become so popular that they've been the focus of an advertising campaign and a Carnival Cruise towel origami book.

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  • 07 of 07

    Napkin Origami

    origami napkin fold

    Napkin origami, sometimes simply referred to as napkin folding, involves folding cloth napkins into decorative designs such as pleats, pockets, and bows. It is done at most often at weddings or fancy corporate events, but can be used to add interest to everyday meals if desired. Top 100 Step-by-Step Napkin Folds by Denise Vivaldo is a good book to review if you'd like to master a few basic napkin folds.