I have selected five origami toys that are fun to make and are also fun to play with afterward! Pictured above are: a tricky boat, a flapping bird, a modular spinner, a spinning top and a magic star. They are listed in order of their difficulty to make, starting with the easiest.
But before we begin making these origami toys, I want to point out that you don’t have to buy special origami paper to enjoy this paper craft. You can use thin paper of any type cut into a square of any size. In fact, you can easily make square pieces of paper from wrapping paper, newspaper, flyers, magazine pages, etc. Below is how you can cut out a perfect square even when the original sheet does not have any right angles or straight edges to begin with!
1. Find a clean area in the sheet of paper you want to use.
Do not worry if the edges of the paper are irregular. (For example, the wrapping paper that I am using has a rip on one edge, but that is not a problem, as you will see later!)
2. Make a diagonal fold across the midsection of that area.
3. Flip the paper over.
Then, fold again along midsection of the folded area, (along the dotted line in the image).
4. Now you should have two folded edges which make a right angle, as shown in the image.
Make sure that the two layers (marked with a green circle) are aligned with each other along the edge.
4. Measure the same distance from the right-angled corner (marked with an arrow in the image) along the two folded edges (highlighted in green), and mark those two points.
To give you an idea of a good size, a typical piece of origami paper measures approximately 10.5 cm (4 3/8″) along those two edges.
5. Now, draw a straight line to connect the two points (the black line).
Note that the rip in the wrapping paper is on the outside of the newly drawn triangle (highlighted in yellow)! Make sure your triangle is clean and without rips.
6. Using a pair of scissors or a cutter knife, cut along the line that you just drew, through all four layers of paper.
7. Unfold the paper.
Ta-da! You have a square sheet of paper ready to use for any of the projects below.
1. Tricky Boat
The tricky boat is very easy to make. This innocent looking boat allows you to play a simple trick on your family and friends! As shown in the stop-motion video below, you first hold onto the front end of the boat and tell your ‘victim’ to grab its mast. Then, you ask them to close their eyes. While they are not looking, you *quietly* flip the back end of the boat. Once the shifting of the boat’s orientation is complete, ask your victim to open their eyes, and say, “didn’t I tell you to grab the mast?!?!” 😉
Click here for step-by-step instructions on how to make this tricky boat.
2. Flapping Bird
The flapping bird is an origami toy, which you can animate to make it seem as though the bird was actually flying! The flapping is very simple. As you can see below, you just have to hold onto the front bottom part of the bird with one hand, while you pull its tail with the other hand!
Click here for a very detailed tutorial on how to make this flapping bird.
3. Modular Spinner
This modular spinner is not difficult to make (though putting together the unit pieces can be a bit challenging), and it spins beautifully.
To make this spinner, you first have to make 6 unit pieces. I used 15-cm (6″) square sheets for the modular spinner in the above image. You can use pieces of any size you like, but all of the them should be the same size.
Here’s how to make a unit piece:
Here is a video on how to put together the unit pieces to make the modular spinner.
4. Spinning Top
This spinning top can spin, and if you spin it well it spins really fast! It is made up of three parts, each folded from a square sheet of paper of the same size. Making each part involves a lot of folding but it is not complicated.
Click here for a video that will take you through the whole process of making this fantastic top.
5. Magic Star
This magic star transforms itself beautifully in form and color as you turn it inside out!
I used 8 sheets of 15-cm (6″) square paper for the larger star pictured above; it has a diameter of about 15 cm (6″). The smaller star measures approximately 7.5 cm (3″), and is made from 7.5-cm (3″) square paper. The larger star was easier to make, but it is more flimsy than the smaller one.
As you can see, the lager star’s inside parts are white, because I used sheets of paper which were colored only on one side. If you want the star’s inner sides to be colored, you can either use sheets which have color on both sides or you can put two sheets with color on one side back to back and use them as one. In fact, the latter is what I did when making the smaller star. I warn you though that folding two sheets of paper together is a bit more challenging because of their thickness.
The unit pieces can come apart while you play with this magic star. If you find it frustrating, you can glue them together.
Here is how to make a magic star!
I hope you have lots of fun making and playing with the origami toys!
Below are a few other craft ideas that you might be interested in: