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BOS is 50


Diagram-free Zone

The art of verbal instructions, sometimes known as "over the phone" folding, makes you realise (in my case anyway) what a poor grasp of your native language you have! Phrases like "fold to here" or "this way up" have no meaning. Some years ago I taught a group of blind students who encouraged me (none too gently!) to explain myself clearly. Have a try for yourself - sit back to back with another folder (it's cheaper and more friendly than phoning) and teach them a simple fold. If you have any instructions you'd like to share, please e-mail them to me for inclusion below.

traditional design

Start with a 15cms square (minimum) for the first attempt. The coloured side should be down. Turn the square so that one side faces you. Fold slowly and carefully - the end result will be neater and more impressive!

Fold the nearest edge to meet the opposite edge, forming a 2*1 rectangle

  1. of two layers. Crease firmly.
  2. Take the same edge and fold it back towards you, to meet the folded edge
  3. formed in step 1.
  4. Turn the paper over from side to side. The single layer should be furthest away from you.
  5. Take the single layer and fold it to the nearest (folded) edge, as step 2. Crease firmly and open out again.
  6. There should be a crease running from side to side, marking the half-way point of the 2*1 rectangle. Starting the fold at the end of the central crease, fold in any corner at 45 degrees so it meets the central crease. Repeat with the three other corners. Two corners will be double layers; treat them as a single layer and fold them in together.
  7. The paper should now have two long sides and four short ones in a vaguely hexagonal shape. The edge furthest away should be a single layer. Using the central crease (made in step 4), fold the furthest edge to meet the nearest long edge - folding the paper in half.
  8. The paper should now be "boat-shaped" - a long edge furthest away, two 45 degree sides and a shortish near edge. The long edge is the top of the boat and you can open the "pocket" and round out the inside of the boat.



  1. Start with a rectangle (A4 is ideal). Fold in half, taking the two longs sides together. Open out after creasing firmly.
  2. Fold both long sides in to meet the central crease. Open out.
  3. Fold the two short sides together, crease firmly & open.
  4. Fold both short sides to the central crease. The paper should resemble a cupboard with the doors shut and three creases running side to side.
  5. Starting where an outer crease meets the folded edge, fold a corner in at 45 degrees so that it lies along the crease. NB. It won't reach the central edges. Repeat on the other three corners.
  6. The two original short sides are meeting at the centre. Fold one edge back out to overlap the two triangular corner flaps as far as possible (without tearing the paper! It will overlap nearly half-way.
  7. Fold the other edge back as well. Press these last creases firmly.
  8. The fold is finished, it just needs shaping. Put your fingers underneath the flaps made in steps 6 & 7. GENTLY ease them apart into a box-like shape. Reinforce all the outer edges by pinching them from the outside and you should be able to make the box nice & angular. You can also flatten the fold for storage. Enthusiasts could try making a lid using the same method, BUT instead of folding to the middle in steps 2 & 4, leave a slight gap. This will make the box slightly larger.


Nick Robinson

  1. Start with a square, fold in half both ways & open out.
  2. Fold all four corners to the middle, open two adjacent ones out.
  3. Turn the paper so it resembles a house. Fold one wall to the other.
  4. You have half a house with a crease marking the bottom of the roof. Fold the roof down using that crease, leaving a square/two triangles.
  5. Using the creases made in step 2, tuck the thin triangle inside the thick one. It should go all the way inside.

Finished! Use the same pocket to slide onto the page of your book.


various Start with a rectangle, A4 is ideal.

  1. Fold a short edge to meet a long edge.
  2. Fold the sharp corner back down the folded edge, folding the triangular section in half.
  3. Fold both original corners to meet the lower edge of the triangular flap.
  4. Fold the triangle over on its lower edge, crease firmly & unfold.
  5. Now fold the flap with the two small triangles into the UPPER pocket of the large triangular flap - it should tuck inside completely. Finished!!!!



This fold shows just how easily we can capture the grace and beauty of a living subject with a few simple folds. Start with a square creased along the diagonal.

  1. Starting at one end of the diagonal, fold two sides in so that they line up neatly on the crease.
  2. This is the kite shape that we often see in origami. Turn the paper over.
  3. Fold the long sides of the kite into the centre. This is like step one. Don't let the paper sneak out from underneath!
  4. Take the sharp corner up to the opposite corner and carefully press flat.
  5. Enlarged view. Fold the tip of the sharp corner back down to form the head.
  6. Keeping all the layers in place, fold the paper in half behind.
  7. You should see half of the fold here. Hold the paper gently on the black dots and lift the neck away from the body. When it is roughly in the place shown, press the base of the neck flat.
  8. Do the same with the head, gently easing it out and flattening.
  9. Complete. Open the wings slightly and the swan will stand.

The folds made in steps 4 and 5 will decide wether your bird looks like a swan or not! If you are not happy, change the distances in these steps. Experiment! Try to make the neck lie slightly backwards to suggest a graceful curve.



Start with a square of green paper. Fold in half diagonally (corner to opposite corner & open out.

  1. Fold a side to lie along the crease and repeat symetrically) on the other side to form an ice-cream cornet shape.
  2. Fold a small tip of the "ice cream" back along the diagonal.
  3. Fold the two remaining "raw" (original) sides of the square to meet the diagonal (similar to step 2).
  4. Fold the blunt end over on a crease between the two widest points. This should leave the paper triangular-shaped.
  5. Fold the blunt flap back down leaving a gap of about 1/3 of its length.
  6. Turn over - finished!!


the late Seiro Takekawa

Start with a square, crease in half from side to side.

  1. Fold one side in to the central crease.
  2. Fold the opposite side also, then unfold.
  3. Your paper is now divided into 3 sections, one is two layers thick. Fold the corners of the double layer in at 45 degrees to lie along the inside edge.
  4. Fold the two other (single) corners in to lie along the crease.
  5. The fold should be symmetrical with 6 short sides and two longer ones.
  6. The paper is still divided into three sections. Fold the two longer sides in to meet the inside edge and crease respectively. The central third is still clear.
  7. The paper should have two triangular sections at either (short) side. Fold in the short (raw, not folded) edge at one side making a crease that passes through the inside corners of two triangles. When you do the same on the other side, the two raw edges should meet at the centre.
  8. Open these edges out at right-angles to form a shape like a letter C.
  9. One side of the fold is thicker (extra layers). Stand the fold with this side on top, the sides of the "C" facing away from you. If you (gently) tip the top edge with your finger, it should roll away from you and perform a somersault! Let your friend try it with the THIN edge on top and it won't work (not enough weight).


text/design Marc Kirschenbaum

Begin with a square, white side up.

  1. Valley in half along the diagonal. The fold should extend from the top left corner down to the bottom right corner.
  2. Bring the folded corner at the lower right over to the raw original corners at the lower left. Form a pinch at the bottom and unfold.
  3. Fold the raw edges at the left over to the halfway mark defined by the previous step.
  4. The folded corner at the top will be the head. Fold the head down, such that the fold matches with the folded edge behind.
  5. Add a nose to the head with a small outside reverse fold.
  6. To complete the model, fold the tail upwards to taste.
  7. Your completed *Dog* will stand.


traditional - text Mark Gilcrist

Find the center of a 8.5x11" sheet of paper and fold each long side to the middle.

  1. Fold back 1" off the top of the paper. Crease to the back side.
  2. Bring top corners together to the middle of paper, meeting about 3/4" from top edge. (This makes the shirt collar)
  3. Bring bottom edge of paper up to fit snuggly under collar at the top. Crease the fold.
  4. Re-open the flap just folded. Fold open flaps made from middle crease to lower corners. (These flaps become the sleeves)
  5. Leaving new flaps open, refold lower edge to attach under collar. Sleeves are now present.
  6. Add stamped patterns to shirt and maybe buttons or a tie.


Marc Kirschenbaum

Start with a dollar bill, either side up.

  1. Valley the left short edge down to the bottom long edge.
  2. Near the center, you now have an interior raw edge. valley the bottom raw edge up to lie along this edge.
  3. At the top, you will have a short raw edge - valley it down to meet the very short raw edge at right.
  4. Blunt the left side by bringing the left corner over to the meeting of raw edges.
  5. Turn over and rotate slighly - you now have a fish

Mark designed this model in under 5 seconds. Makes you sick, doesn't it?

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