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October 2009
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Origami Bowl Instructions


A happy little riot of bouganvillea from my back yard

A happy little riot of bougainvillea from my back yard


 Check my previous post for a discussion of this project — this post provides the how-to. Don’t be put off by the  length of the photo instructions — I have just tried to be very clear for beginners, as abbreviated or graphical instructions have often frustrated me.

Begin with a rectangular piece of paper – the one used in the photo is 8.5″x11″ and that works very well, yielding a bowl or box that is about 4.25″ on a side. If you are using paper that has a design or different color on one side, start with that side facing down. (For the purpose of learning, if your paper is the same on both sides you might want to use a pencil to shade one side and make that the “right” side which begins facing down) — See figure 1. Remaining instructions are numbered below, corresponding with the photos. The “looped arrow” graphic you see at various points means to turn the whole unit over (horizontally).


1-2. With the “right” side down and the paper facing you as in 1, fold the paper in half from top to bottom. End result is pictured in 2.
3.  Now fold it in half horizontally, as indicated in (3); end result shown in 4.

5.  Unfold the fold just made in 4.
6.  Bring the upper left corner down to meet the center; crease the resulting fold as shown. Do the same on the right hand side, as pictured in 7. Resulting unit shown in 8. Unfold the left folded down corner so that it is once again in the upper left, shown in 9.
Take a deep breath and know that the next step is easier than it looks. The diagram in 10 is intended to show that you are going to lift the TOP LAYER ONLY of the lower left corner (note the white dot), and lift it up and over so that it lies on top of the lower right corner (see other white dot). As you do so, and as is shown in photos 11-13,  “squash” the upper portion (the “right” side of the paper facing up) so that the top edge highlighted in red in diagram 10, with the black arrow pointing at it, will now lie down the center fold. Flatten the unit and crease your folds. The result should look like photos 14 & 15. When you get to this point, turn the whole unit over — we’re going to do one more step and then do the same thing on the other side!


  After turning the unit over, lift the top portion of the left side and fold it over to the right (shown in 17)– you should see the folded-down corner now in the upper right, as in photos 17 & 18.

19. Now lift the upper right corner as we did on the left in 9.  As shown in 20-22, follow the same procedure that we did in 11-14: lift the top layer of the lower right corner and bring it over to lie on top of the lower left corner, at the same time bringing the top point straight down and “squashing” it flat so that it lies along the center fold. Lay it flat and crease your folds. Result shown in 23.
Notice that, in 23, the middle of the bottom is split. We want to change that in a very simple way:
24. Lift the top layer on the right and fold it to the left. (result shown in 25). Turn the whole unit over — result shown in 26. Likewise, on this side, lift what is now the upper layer on the right and fold it over to the left, as shown in 27; the result is shown in 28.
29. Next fold the upper layer of the lower right in to the center, and crease.
30. Do the same on the left side. Fold and crease, and then turn the whole unit over; the result should look like photo 31 (see below).
32-33: Now repeat steps 29 & 30 on this side.


34. We’re almost there!  Fold the top layer of the bottom portion (the white section in 34) up to meet the lower edge of the top section (the red print portion), and crease.

35. Fold that folded-over piece up again, this time coming up over the edge of the top section, and crease. Turn the unit over; it should now look like 36.

37-38: Repeat steps 34 & 35 on this side, and crease.

39. Next fold the top point down to the bottom of the unit; crease the  top fold (40).

Finally, pick the unit up and hold it by the two “handles” — the segments you just folded over on each side. Gently pull them apart from each other — it should begin to look like photo 41.

42. Continue to separate each pair of sides, opening up the inner portion of the bowl as you do.

43. Smooth out your creases and voila, you have your bowl!   44. simply shows what the unit looks like upside down….

Enjoy — and post comments with your own clever ideas or questions!

12 comments to Origami Bowl Instructions

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