Types of Origami Bases

Origami bases aren't as much fun to make as folding a cute paper crane or a pretty origami butterfly, but bases are the "building blocks" upon which the study of paper folding is built.

Not all origami models will begin by creating a well-recognized base, but many do. In fact, some resources for more advanced origami enthusiasts will simply say, "Create a bird base" instead of explaining all of the steps that are involved in making this form. Therefore, it is helpful to have a rudimentary understanding of the most popular origami base forms before beginning any serious origami study.

  • 01 of 09

    Shawl Fold

    origami frame
    © Dana Hinders

    A shawl fold is the common first step in many origami projects for beginners. It is created simply by folding your paper in half along the diagonal to make a triangle. Sometimes, the shawl fold is called a diaper fold or triangle fold.

  • 02 of 09

    Origami Blintz Base

    blintz base

    Dana Hinders

    A blintz base is made by folding each corner of a square sheet of paper to the center. Folding and unfolding the reference creases is sometimes recommended to increase the accuracy of the base form. The name for a blintz base comes from the fact that it resembles a pancake-like dish called a blintz that is popular in parts of Eastern Europe.

  • 03 of 09

    Origami Boat Base

    Four Point Star Origami

    Dana Hinders

    A boat base is a modified blintz base. This involves creasing the paper along the diagonals of the four corners, then opening and collapsing the paper until it resembles the form at the left.

  • 04 of 09

    Helmet Base

    Origami Rooster

    Dana Hinders

    A helmet base is made by folding your paper in half diagonally to make a triangle. Bring the left and right comers of your triangle down to make a diamond shape as shown in the photo to the left.

    Continue to 5 of 9 below.
  • 05 of 09

    Organ Base

    Origami Easter Egg Cup

    Dana Hinders

    To make an organ base, place your paper in front of you with the patterned side face down. Fold your paper in half, bringing the top down to meet the bottom edge. Fold your paper in half once more. Crease well, then unfold. Fold the left and right sides in to meet the middle crease. Open the left and right flaps and flatten them with your finger.

  • 06 of 09

    Origami Kite Base

    origami lovebird

    Dana Hinders

    To make a kit base, begin with the back or white side of the paper face up. Fold along one of the diagonals, crease firmly, and then unfold. Fold the left and right lower sides into the vertical center to complete the kite base form.

  • 07 of 09

    Origami Balloon Base

    Origami butterfly instructions

    Dana Hinders

    To fold a balloon base, begin with the colored side of your origami paper face up. Fold in half horizontally. Crease firmly, then unfold. Fold in half vertically. Crease firmly, then unfold. Flip the paper over so the patterned or colored side is facing down. Fold the paper in half diagonally. Crease firmly, then unfold. Fold the paper in half diagonally from the other direction. Crease firmly, then unfold. Using the middle vertical folds, collapse the paper into a triangle shape.

    It is interesting to note that the crease pattern for making a balloon base is the exact opposite of the one for folding a square base. Sometimes, a balloon base is called a waterbomb base.

  • 08 of 09

    Origami Square Base

    Easy Origami Flower

    Dana Hinders

    A square base is also known as a basic flower form because it is used to make many different types of origami flowers. Another common name for the square base is the preliminary base.

    To make a square base, place your paper on the table with the colored or patterned side up. Fold it in half diagonally and open. Then, fold the paper in half along the diagonal the other way. Turn the paper over to the opposite side. Fold the paper in half horizontally, crease well, and open. Then, fold again in the other direction.

    Using these creases, bring the top three corners down towards the bottom of the paper. Flatten the paper to complete your square base.

    Review our About the Origami Square Base slideshow to learn more about this base form and the different projects it can be used to create.

    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09

    Origami Bird Base

    Bird Base

    Dana Hinders

    A bird base is a square base plus two petal folds. It is called a bird base because it is the basis of the origami crane, one of the most famous origami models of all times.

    To turn a square base into a bird base, fold the top triangular flaps into the center and unfold. Fold the top of the model downwards, crease well, and then unfold. Open the upper flap, pressing the sides of the model inwards at the same time. Flatten down, creasing well. Flip the paper over and repeat the petal folds on the other side.

    Learn how to turn a bird base into an origami crane by reviewing our Origami Crane Instructions tutorial.