Japanese Origami Doll Tutorial
These pretty origami dolls are wearing a kimono-inspired outfit. They are perfect gifts for many occasions, such as birthdays, Mothers Day, Valentine's Day, and even weddings.
It's best to use paper that has a color or pattern on one side and a different one on the other, which gives the dress a lovely two-toned effect. For the head, it's ideal if you can find some paper that has a white side and the other side the color of hair.
What You'll Need
Equipment / Tools
- Marker (in hair color of your choice, optional)
- Scissors (optional)
- 2 sheets square paper that's about 6.5 inches by 6.5 inches for the kimono
- 1 sheet square paper that's about 5 inches by 5 inches (for the head)
Outer Kimono Step 1
Begin with the outer part of the kimono.
- Start with your paper white side up. The white will be the color of the collar and belt.
- Fold your paper into an S shape and adjust it into thirds. Slowly shift the layers back and forth until they are equal.
- Pinch the paper once you are happy that they are thirds.
- Place your paper back down.
- Fold the right edge over to the mark that you created.
Outer Kimono Step 2
- Flip the paper over to the other side, from left to right.
- Fold the right edge over to the left edge.
- Rotate the paper clockwise.
- Open out the top flap down.
Outer Kimono Step 3
- Fold the bottom left and right corners diagonally up to meet the crease.
- Re-fold the bottom edge up to the top.
- Fold the right edge over to meet the top of the diagonal line, unfold.
- Do the same with the left edge.
Outer Kimono Step 4
- Open out the right section from the bottom, separating out to the left and right.
- Complete the squash fold, making sure it's neat.
- Repeat the same on the left section.
- Fold what will be the sleeves inward a little, or leave them as they are.
- Reverse fold the little flaps you just made.
Outer Kimono Step 5
- Open out the front of the kimono.
- Unfold the top layer back down, then refold it back up, this time leave a gap at the top. You can make this gap as large as you like, for different end results.
- Re-fold the front flaps.
- You can create different arm positions or fold the arm behind.
- Next, pull the arm back out, leaving a small gap at the bottom point.
- This arm position is the most basic one. You can have the arms folded over to the front, or have one of each if you'd prefer.
Inner Kimono Step 1
Now we will make the inner kimono. Again, start with the white side of your paper facing up.
- Create thirds the same way as you did for the outer kimono.
- Fold the right edge over to the mark you made.
- Fold the left edge over to the right edge.
- Fold the top right corner of the front layer down to the left.
- Open out the front layer to the left, fold the top left corner of the top layer down to the right.
- Re-fold the left section over to the right.
Inner Kimono Step 2
- Open out the outer kimono and insert the inner kimono.
- You can adjust the height of the collar by sliding the inner kimono up.
- Flip the model over to the other side, fold the left and right corners of the collar down.
- Fold the top of the collar down to meet the top of the outer kimono.
- Flip the kimono over, now we can adjust the lower part of the kimono. You can fold the top flap diagonally over to the left.
- In this example, the right section was folded behind and then part of it was folded back out again, on both sides.
Head Step 1
The final part is the head of your origami doll. Start with the paper that is your hair color choice, facing up.
- Create thirds using the method you have used twice previously. Fold the right edge over to the crease.
- Fold the left edge over to the right edge.
- Fold the right edge back to the left.
- Do the same with the flap underneath.
- Open out the paper back to the start and flip it over to the other side.
Head Step 2
- Fold the bottom right corner up diagonally to meet the 'third' crease.
- Create a small pinch by folding the top edge down to meet the horizontal edge of the flap you created in the last step.
- Unfold the bottom right corner and fold the top edge down to meet the pinch you just created.
- Flip the paper back to the other side.
- Re-fold the left and right flaps.
Head Step 3
- Flip the paper over to the other side.
- Fold the bottom edge up to the top and unfold.
- Rotate the paper anti-clockwise (to the left).
- Fold the top and bottom edges to the middle, just the right side as shown.
- Rotate the left side back up to the top. Fold the bottom section up and behind.
- Fold the bottom left and right corners diagonally in, aligning with the crease you made in step 14. Unfold.
Head Step 4
- Flip the bottom edge up, bring the bottom section out from behind, aligning with the top of the diagonal folds you created in the last step.
- Fold the lower right and left sections to the central crease.
- Flatten the little triangles which should magically appear when folding.
- Fold the bottom left and right corners of the top section in diagonally and unfold.
- Grab the top right corner flap and bring it down to the left.
- Put your finger in to make a diagonal crease on the inside.
Head Step 5
- Pull on the flap even more, angling the hair down to the right. If you have trouble with this step, make a small snip with scissors, on the inside.
- Turn the model over to the other side, refold the corner of the face behind.
- Repeat the process on the other side.
- Fold the top left and right corners behind to round out the head. Optionally, you can fold the ends of the hair behind or trim them.
- Finally you can pop the neck into the kimono. Depending on how thick your paper is, you may need a dab of glue to secure the head.