429: Satoshi Kamiya’s Lyrebird

You may have guessed I am a bit of a fanboi when it comes to the works of Satoshi  Kamiya:

As previously stated, my wife and I spent some time in a rainforest cabin and that inspired me to have a go at his Lyrbird – a deliciously complicated crumple that needs to result in a characteristic fan tail, 2 side tail things, wings, legs, body and head.

Continue reading

427: Geiger’s Xenomorph

Anyone who knows me realises I am a huge fan of the Alien movies, the first one is, for me, close to perfect science fiction horror:

I had been aware of Kade Chan’s Alien design for ages, had the crease pattern and wrestled many times trying to make it with no luck. I had relegated this to the “give up on it” pile – there are a few that have just beaten me for the moment.

Kade posted a near complete video tutorial, suddenly this model was back on the radar. The video is pretty clear – you should have a go – it is NOT a beginners model but the techniques for forming the main features are pretty clear.

So I set about a test fold, in Litho paper – the paper gave up half way through, splitting on most major creases, but I learned the basic collapse and some of the featuring before it gave up so resolved to fold it with something more durable.

I cut a 55cm square of Kraft paper off the roll and, very carefully, began folding. This, like most models, relies on accuracy for things to work out – a part of a mm out here and it compounds when you do accordion pleating, and this model has so many layers because of the amount of the sheet that is hidden.

I like that most surfaces provide layers that you can then texture in the modelling, sculpting them in graded steps to create carapace, armour and small beautiful details like the rib cage and prehensile tail.

The alien as envisaged by the movie franchise took on shape and general morphology from the host it bursts through the chest of – this one is fairly certainly humanoid and so posing it I found myself anthropomorphising its stance a little. I used a little MC to ensure the pose was rigid, clamped details in place until the paper was dry, then mounted him on a textured circular base and am quite chuffed with the result.

This was WTF (What’s That Fold) #2 – stay tuned for more paper bending

424: Rudolph the Roosevelt Elk

Looking for something festive, inspired by “Robbie the Reindeer” on the telly, I decided to fold this challenging model by Robert Lang:

Masterpiece of design, I had to measure 13 landmarks (by scaling measurements based on 70ths) and then I folded triangles subdividing the surface, using those landmarks as vertices. Then you bisect every angle in each triangle and that gives you the folds for the base.

After a collapse from hell, and some clever manipulation. accordion folds and sinks to raise the points on the antlers, some shaping and a good measure of swearing, you end up with this magnificent beast.

I love Lang models for all sorts of reasons, not the least of which is that you can “feel” the mathematics in many of his folds. This one was certainly designed using his computer program “treemaker”, and is embodied proof that with a little care it is possible to imagine and design anything of arbitrary complexity in origami.

A glass headed pin to complete the nose and we have Rudolph, then not so much a reindeer as an elk (apparently they are touchy about this – who knew?)

This beautiful model completed my tree setting, bringing in the festive cheer for the family gathering – I hope it found you with similar good will to all mankind.

419: Green Tree Snake Form

I was leafing through my latest Tanteidan Magazing (Japan Origami Society journal) and came across a layer management exercise by Hideo Komatsu:

Having bought a pack of 2-colour (different colour front and back) paper, some green/brown, I was looking for something to try it out on.

This is slightly complicated, but ends up looking a little like a little snake curling back on itself a couple of times – layer management and colour changes mean the snake and it’s background are fairly distinct.

Hideo has many other models, I like the strong style, heavy abstraction and interesting sheet management evident in his work (having a few in the 365+ collection already) – I must track down more of his work.

400: Attack Of The Kraken

There are many of what i would term “legendary” folds in the origami community – few more daunting that Brian Chan’s sculptural masterpiece “Attack Of The Kraken”:

I first saw pictures of this model when trolling around the internet looking for paper challenges: one piece of paper, you bend both a masted ship and a sea monster ripping it asunder – impossible surely. Amidst the turmoil there exists tiny details also – one tentacle contains a shard of ship rigging, another grasps the terrified yet defiant Captain – look closer, is that Captain Jack?

Annoyingly there seem to be no instructions on how to fold this thing – there was, however, a crease pattern adapted from a schematic Brian Chan tantalisingly left beside a display copy of his model so I started working on that. I photo-enlarged sections of the crease pattern and repeatedly folded them until I had discovered what to fold, in what order to make that section of the model work Continue reading

397: Never Smile …


This little beauty started as a crease pattern suggested by Mark Leonard and ended up as this little snapper. The crease pattern suggests folds necessary to form the base, but finishing the model was an interesting challenge.

the feet are really reminiscent of a Joisel fold, and with a nice little tummy-tuck, his body stays round, ridge of roughness along the spine and a lovely head/mouth. Continue reading

372: Satoshi’s Wizard

Now I hate it when things get the better of me. Mid year I tried this model only to have it disintegrate in my hands half-way through amid a flurry of swearing:

This is Satoshi Kamiya’s Wizard – well, my rendition of it at least. It is fairly faithful to the instructions and I am totally stoked I actually made it to instruction 159 with paper largely intact and the resultant tortured mess looking even vaguely wizard-like.

This is a breathtakingly difficult fold – take ONE square of paper and from it fold a man (face, hat, hands with 5 fingers each) in a pleated, swirling robe, and make she he has a full-size staff as well. He free-stands, one hand grips his staff, the other is in mid-conjure and there is a sense of movement and authority about his pose.


This has taken me an age, I have tried not to proceed until I actually understood the next instruction (no mean feat near the end when judgement is more important that reference creases) and for my first successful fold I am totally stoked. I videoed a 1.5 hour section near the middle of this model, last weekend, and thought Australia day (today, a public holiday) was as good a time as any to finally finish it. I did not take into account the effects of the stifling humidity of the paper, making it very brittle, so care, attention and only a little bit of swearing was necessary.

Now I know what ends up where, I suspect the next time i fold this (and yes, I think I will) will go more smoothly I suspect.

367: Lang’s Tarantula

Now that the 365 challenge is over, I am free to fold (or re-fold) whatever takes my fancy:

This lovely critter is Dr Robert Lang’s Tarantula. I had a go at it earlier, using copy paper, and disliked the result so was determined to make a better one. For this fold I chose a 60cm square of brown paper and, over the course of the day, amongst other things, folded the spider.

I am constantly amazed by brown paper – it is tough, takes folds well and is so lovely and thin – making the legs and those torturous accordion pleats are that much easier with the right materials.

No paper fatigue, I like this attempt much better – lovely legs, great abdomen and thorax and some shapely pedipalps and fang-like mouthparts.

365: Turn a New Leaf

Our lives are a lot like a blank sheet of paper – WE decide when to put creases, who adds folds, how permanent they are and we are constantly given a fresh sheet to start over:

This is my interpretation of Eric Joisel’s “Self-Made Man”, a little origami man that is folding himself and I am stoked that this worked, given how little information I had to go on and the scale of the materials.

I started with a 78x130cm rectangle (3:5 for those trying to do the maths) and then transferred a crease pattern (the only clue I had as to how to actually achieve this model) on to the sheet.

The “collapse” was an exercise in self control really as the paper was really brittle and there were some complicated accordion pleats that seemed to turn in on themselves. The aim was to leave a square of paper (26x26cm) unfolded and build the little man (arms, legs, head) to seemingly appear from behind this sheet.

In the end, the layers were thick, it weighs a ton but more importantly he has loads of personality and is a fitting end to my 365 Origami Challenge.

In retrospect, this is an amazing fold and with some careful planning, patience and ample cups of tea I am so very proud to have folded it. Hope you like him too.

This little fellow has a special purpose, so will not be auctioned, sorry.

353: Lang’s Praying Mantis

Wow. You know, sometimes a set of instructions for a model are so well designed that it is a pleasure to fold – time just … goes – so it was with this little beauty:

Robert Lang is a design genius, using mathematical and art sensibilities he has distilled what is essentially “mantis” and worked out ways of folding away everything but this essence.

Six beautiful legs, front two “prayey” ones with claspers, glorious head with inquisitive antennae, approporiate proportioned body and, well, wow, just wow.

I am not going to pretend that I did not struggle with this, but after yesterday’s model I was determined to go for accuracy, so necessary with so many accordion pleats. The legs are soooooo thin – painful to fold but amazingly brown paper survived without any paper fatigue.

I am so please with this model – all aspects of it. I folded opened-out paper clips into the legs to give them strength so she can stand freely and so the “knee” joints stay bent – 20+ layers of paper are really hard to bend and I envisaged accidentally snapping off a leg whilst trying to shape it.

I will fold this again, should I ever get some more suitable paper – needs to be tissue thin but really strong – normal paper will just not work. Bravo Mr lang, your figure is a masterpiece and I for one feel honoured to have folded it.

295: WALL-E

I am an out and proud Pixar fan, they make movies where animation is almost amazing as the story telling and characterisation:

This is Brian Chan’s WALL-E – a lovely model that has taken me simply an age to complete for all sorts of reasons.

I started with a 52cm square (yep, over a half a meter) and a dodgy folding guide (as opposed to complete diagrams) in RUSSIAN and quite frankly I struggled with this one. I must find a way to buy a book that has this model in it, to see how Brian Chan suggests you fold it because I ended up improvising when there were no instructions that I could follow.

I walked away from this model 3 times, unfolded and re-folded the most complex parts a total of 4 times as I tried to make sense of the next stage. That said, I think the final model is quite remarkable. He is free standing (on stunning caterpillar tracks), has the most amazing head/eyes, is just under 10cm tall and I am totally chuffed with how he turned out.

That you can coax a square of paper into such an intricate and completely detailed model is nothing short of amazing – even if it did take me 5.5 HOURS – yes, that is actual folding elapsed time. Words fail me to express the delight when I finally realised he was going to work (having seriously contemplating abandoning the model twice).

This, for me, is a REAL achievement given how much I had to just work out for myself. Folded from my last piece of lithographic paper (thank you school art department). There was NO paper fatigue and that is astonishing given the lengths that the design requires you torture the paper. I must have some more.

289: Satoshi’s Mammoth

I decided today would be another Satoshi Kamiya model (working my way up to the ancient dragon you see) and so selected his Mammoth, figuring “how hard could that be?”:


Wow, no I mean WOW! So much technique packed into such a tiny package, resulting in a lovely little pachyderm.

There is much to love about this model – the curly tusks (think Manny from Iceage), hairy fringe above the eyes, the eyes, the woolly tummy, the cutsey tail, the strong 3d shoulders, toes etc.

This took an age – the exacting pre-creasing alone taking over 1.5 hours. there are some torturous collapses and a bunch of accordion pleats but in the end it looks like a mammoth, which is always a good thing.

I learnt a lot folding this, and am really relieved my first fold worked at all – seriously there were 3 junctures where I got up and walked away from it assuming I had stuffed it up – those terrifying moments in a diagrammed sequence when you get to an impossibly complicated stage and it then says now unfold it all and re-fold it a different way.

251: Infinity

Now in my quest to fold 365 models, one a day for a whole year, it seems like I have been doing this forever already. Not having an infinite amount of time, I thought I wold fold an INFINITY in paper:

this is a rather ingenious pair of interlocking rings, the whole of which (hole … a ring joke there, lol) was folded from a single square, no cuts, no glue.

This ingenious fold is from Jeremy Shafers book “Origami to Astonish and Amuse” and is the first step towards achieving a snarly fold that features EIGHT rings (again, from ONE piece of paper)

A lovely accordion fold and some tidy end pleating and presto, an infinity symbol which I think is splendid. Even the wife did not believe it was only one sheet until I unfolded it and proved it was.

136: Starship Enterprise

..Space, the final frontier. These are the journeys of the Starship Enterprise as she continues her 5 year mission …

Talk about “boldly going where no copy paper has been before”, this delightful little model is the result of wrestling an A3-cut square into something that is 17cm saucer to nacelle.

I really enjoyed torturing the paper to make this model, although paper fatigue and the sheer thicknesses in places caused it’s “structural integrity” to be compromised. I am pleased that it is relatively complete – it has a bridge rather vulnerably perched atop a nice saucer, 2 engineering marvels in nacelles attached rather nicely to the main hull, even a main deflector dish – so cool.

Why an “Enterprise”? Well, my mate and I finished BSG and will, tomorrow night, start the Original Star Trek episodes (Kirk, Spock etc) – both of us are healthily obsessed with all things Trek (we have seen it all, I used to even be able to speak Klingon!). I look forward to our time exploring sci fi so …. two to beam up Mr Scott…

43: An Ant

wow, no I mean WOW! This is a design that, on paper at least, looked impossible. Piotr Pluta designed a way of paper torture (involving 4 lots of 8-way accordion sinking) to extract 6 limbs and 3 body segments typical of an insect – quite honestly I was convinced it could not be done.

…so I cheated and gave parts of it a practice try first – sure I screwed it up (on what are unreasonable first-fold rules) but I learnt something about the successful fold. That said, I am mightily pleased with this one:

Photocopy paper does not withstand being bent so much – at the centre of the thorax (middle body segment) you can see the square’s centre point – a much creased and slightly frayed hole forming from bend fatigue, otherwise it held up remarkably well to a very difficult fold.

Underside and Side view detail

You can see the degree to which the paper has been massaged and tucked away to take an A4-cut square and as if my magic make all the requisite parts of the ant, right down to the mandibles and the puffed out abdomen.

You might like to have a go at this – it is not a beginners fold (and indeed there are aspects of it that I have still to master), but the design is ingenious and worth the time it takes to complete :  ant_diagram