November 03, 2023

How to Create Transforming Origami


by Ashabul Alam

I wanted to improve my origami skills and find creative ways to use origami to make unique 3D models. Through a lot of Google searching, I discovered an origami technique that can create transforming 3D origami models. Modular origami or unit origami is an origami technique that uses several sheets of paper that are folded individually into multiple units. These units are then assembled together into a three-dimensional structure, creating an origami model that can transform its shape while maintaining its cohesion. Check out Ignite’s Origami Kits and follow along with these steps for the Modular origami technique and learn how to create transforming origami.

How to Create Transforming Origami

Setting up your Origami Units

First things first, you need 6 sheets of 15 cm X 15 cm origami paper and patience to repeat the folding process.

Each of these sheets of paper needs to folded into heart-shaped units that can easily stretch and compress for your model to transform its shape. Here’s a helpful YouTube video I used to help you with the folding process.

Here are a few general tips and tricks I picked up along the way:

  • Take your time to crease your folds. Allow yourself to line up the folds correctly, this will help a lot in the long run!
  • Take extra effort to make sure the corners of your paper do not overlap each other since this can cause issues later in the process.
  • You’ll get better over time after each unit you fold. Even if the first unit you folded wasn’t perfect, don’t fret your project is more than salvageable.
  • Have fun with the process and be patient with yourself!

Once you’re finished with creating your 6 origami units, you’re ready to move on to the next step.

Assembling Your Paper Star

Now that you have all your origami pieces/units folded, you’re now ready to “finish the puzzle.” I went ahead and glued each heart-shaped origami unit together in a row. When I made this, I had some issues with sticking each unit together so make sure you glue each heart together really well to ensure your paper star can transform properly.

Your newly made row of origami hearts should be easy to stretch out to loop around and glue together to finally make your paper star.

The Reveal

Once your paper star is finished and glued together, you’re finally able to transform your 3D origami model as many times as you want. Turning over your paper star inwards or outwards will reveal a new star design with every turn which you can see below in my paper star.

Go ahead and explore how many types of star designs your newly made transforming paper star can make, and share your modular origami artwork with us on the Ignite Community Discussion board. Here are some great creators where you can find inspiration for your next origami project:

Happy Making!