Modular origami involves joining together a number of identically folded units to make one finished model. Stars are an especially popular choice for modular origami projects because each unit can be made into a single point of the finished star.
To make a 16 point modular origami star, you'll need 16 sheets of square paper. Only one side of the paper will show, so you can use paper that is white on the back side if desired. You can use 16 sheets of the same color to make your star or make a... pattern by repeating different colors. This example uses four sheets each of four different patterns. Two of the patterns are primarily red, while two are primarily green. Mixing patterns and/or colors lends an interesting element to an otherwise simple design.
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Choose Your Paper
The size of paper you should use for your project depends upon how large you want the finished modular origami star to be. Using sheets of 3" x 3" square colored notepaper gives you a small ornament that you could hang on your Christmas tree. The 6" x 6" paper used in this example gives you a model that could be used as a tree topper or as part of a mantle display. Using 12" x 12" paper gives you a star that is large enough to hang on your door as a wreath.
Regardless of... what size of paper you use, the paper needs to be fairly thin. Heavyweight paper or cardstock will be too thick to crease sharply.
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Make the Initial FoldsTo begin making your modular origami star, fold your paper in half horizontally. Unfold. Fold the paper in half vertically. Unfold. Fold each corner into the middle. When you're finished, your paper should look like the example in the photo to the left.
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Fold to the Center
Fold the left and right corners into the middle crease as shown in the photo to the left. When you're finished, you'll have a kite base with a double layer of paper.
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FlipFlip the paper over. Fold the larger point down as indicated in the photo to the left. Go over all of the creases with your fingernail or a bone folder to make sure they are nice and sharp.Continue to 5 of 7 below.
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Complete the First UnitFold the paper in half. This completes the first unit of your design. Repeat Steps 2-4 until you have a total of 16 identically folded units. Double check each unit to make sure they are all folded exactly the same before you begin assembling the finished model.
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Join the Units TogetherTo join the units together, you'll need to insert the front and back layers of the second unit into the two sides of the pocket created by the folds at the bottom of the first unit. The model will stay together without any glue, but you might want to add a bit of adhesive if you're worried about the long term durability of the design.
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Complete Your Origami Star
Keep adding units using the process described in Step 6 until your star is complete. Remember to push the units together as far as they will go so that the circle in your star is nice and even when you are finished. If desired, add a ribbon hanger to your star or tape a photo to the back to use it as a picture frame.
If you would like to try additional modular origami projects after completing this model, try this self-closing origami box.