The Art of Origami

While I have never gotten very good at it, ever since I was a child, I have loved doing origami. There is something about folding a square of paper in to something else that is very logical and concrete, and yet always seems a bit magical. Origami, the art of paper folding, has been practiced for centuries, originating in ancient Japan and traditionally involves only folding, with no cutting or gluing. The word origami comes from the Japanese words “oru” (to fold) and “kami” (paper).

What I think I love about origami is its versatility. It is a creative process, but can also be used to teach logical concepts and math. It can be done with fancy paper created just for origami projects, with scrap paper cut into squares, even with dollar bills! And it is easy to find origami projects that are extremely simple and others that are very complex. It can be done simply to pass the time or can be more meaningful. There is a well known story about origami called Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes based on a legend that says anyone who folds 1,000 paper cranes will get their heart’s desire.

This year, I made a couple of origami bunnies to help decorate my kids’ Easter basket and I would like to share how to make them. This is an easy project for beginners and kids to try and it is fun to get creative with the bunnies’ faces! Follow these steps to make your own origami rabbit:

1. Start with a square sheet of paper. Place it on the table with a corner at the top. If it has a colored side, you want it to be colored-side down.
Rabbit Step 1

2. Fold it in half bottom to top.
Rabbit Step 2
3. Fold it in half left to right and make a sharp crease. Then undo that fold.

Rabbit Step 3
4. Fold up about a ½ inch at the bottom. It should now look a bit like a hat with a brim.
Rabbit Step 4
5. Take the bottom right corner and fold it up so that the bottom right corner touches the top point of the “hat”.
Rabbit Step 5
6. Do the same with the bottom left corner.
Rabbit Step 6
7. Fold the bottom point up just a bit.
Rabbit Step 7
8. Flip your rabbit over so you are looking at the other side.
Rabbit Step 8
9. Fold the top point down, and to the back, a bit as well.
Rabbit Step 9
10. Draw a happy bunny face!
Rabbit Step 10

If you enjoyed this project, check out some of the many books on origami available at our libraries. We have books for all skill levels and aimed at children and adults. Some titles you can find in the children’s section include:

Easy Magician Origami by Christopher L. Harbo

Origami Toys that Tumble, Fly, and Spin by Paul Jackson

Star Wars Origami: 36 Amazing Paper-folding Projects from a Galaxy Far, Far Away by Chris Alexander

Dollar Bill Origami: Another Way to Impress Your Friends with Money by Duy Nguyen

Origami Books
There are also some great stories that incorporate origami for kids of varying ages. Younger kids might enjoy The Origami Master by Nathaniel Lachenmeyer, The Pirate Girl’s Treasure: An Origami Adventure by Peyton Leung, or Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr. Readers in upper elementary and middle school could try The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger.
Instructional books for adults include:

World’s Best Origami by Nick Robinson

10-fold Origami: Fabulous Paperfolds You Can Make in Just 10 Steps! by Peter Engel

Origami for Busy People: 27 Original On-the-go Projects by Marcia Joy Miller

Napkin Origami: 25 Creative and Fun Ideas for Napkin Folding by Brian Sawyer
Adult Origami Titles
Christine C.


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