Origins of Different Types of Origami

I’ve always been fascinated by origami. You start with plain, flat squares of paper and transform them into incredible 3-dimensional shapes. The forms you can make are limited by the material chosen. By size, of course, but also by the physical properties of the paper itself.

I want to go over all of the different types of origami so that my students have a reference (hey guys!) in the future.

Origami is a compound Japanese word, from “ori”, to fold and “kami”, paper. So, it literally means to fold paper.  And it seems as though the Japanese began folding paper for ceremonial purposes as soon as they were introduced to paper in the 6th century.

There have been all sorts of origami developed and designed in the centuries since: from traditional origami to curved folds and origami composed of hundreds of individual units.

Traditional Origami

Traditionally, origami is made from a single, square sheet of paper, and is created without any tearing, cutting, tape, or glue. You know, a thousand paper cranes, each and every one the same.

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Review of Byriah Loper’s Mind-Blowing Modular Origami

Alright, first off, let me tell you that Byriah Loper, the author and designer of all these models, is a genius. He’d only been making origami for five years when he put out this book, and it has the most complex modular origami you’ll see anywhere. I mean, except for on his Flickr. And probably his next book.

The best chunk of this book explains how to make wireframe origami models. You make dozens of little paper modules, and form them into complex 3D sculptures. Making the individual units is pretty easy, almost meditative. The tough part, of course, is trying to assemble all the units.

Wireframe assembles are especially difficult because you have to weave all the pieces together. And these are twelve of the most complicated wireframe origami sculptures that I’ve ever seen. Thankfully, the book gives full color photos and directions on how to actually weave the wireframe shapes together.

There’s a lot to figure out and they are still pretty tricky to assemble, but with the pictures and guides it’s actually possible to work your way through. At least, for the ones I’ve been willing to try. I’m not sure if I’ll ever attempt the giant pieces at the end of the book.

If you’ve never done origami before, I’d say this is the wrong book for you. If you’ve never tried modular origami before, it will be tough, but you’ll learn a ton as you work through the early models. The book starts off easier, and ramps in difficulty, building on what you’ve learned. So don’t expect to jump right in to the complex and beastly wireframes and be able to immediately tame them.

If you are drawn to modular origami at all, or need to get a gift for some origami nerd, this book is awesome.