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The Origins Of Origami And The Many Beautiful Projects You Can Try

Who doesn’t love origami? This ancient paper art form has been a beloved pastime for centuries — and we can attest to its timeless fun factor with these family-favorite crafts.

Maria Bailey and Sarah Burns

The roots of its name derive from the Japanese words ori (folding) and kami (paper), but the roots of the craft are still up for debate.

While Japan popularized the art form in the 17th century, historians suggest it began much earlier in China — starting with the most vital origami component: paper.


Catherine Falls Commercial / Getty Images

Paper was invented in China around 105 AD, and it is believed the art of folding paper — or zhezhi — was created not long after. It wasn’t until the 6th century, when paper was introduced to Japan by Buddhist monks, that the practice of origami was first viewed as a recreational art form. It’s popularity blossomed during the Edo Period in Japan, from 1608 to 1868.

Now origami is known worldwide and is a popular craft for everyone to enjoy! The timeless pastime is just as much fun now and can be enjoyed by kids and adults of all ages and skill levels. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite origami creations that serve as a wonderful activity for the whole family:

Several sheets

Home Pro Shop Origami Paper

1 pair

1 bottle

Elmer's Liquid School Glue


Ooly Puffy Pens


1. Origami Whales


Having “a whale of a time” is brought to life in this fun and creative project! Whales might be the largest mammals on earth, but this origami project allows you to hold one in the palm of your hands.

Learn how easy it is to make this majestic creature at

2. Origami Birds


There are many kinds of origami birds, but this simple and creative project is made easy for the whole family to enjoy. Watch them take flight by hanging your birds from the ceiling, or perhaps perch them on your Christmas tree this holiday season.

Try it yourself at

3. Origami Boats


It doesn't get any more traditional than origami boats. Not only do they make for great party decorations, but they’re also functional! Head to to learn how to make a simple origami boat that is perfect for holding snacks or setting afloat during bath time.

4. Animal Origami Finger Puppets


Brace yourself for cuteness overload while making these adorable origami animal puppets! Using's method, you can create a variety of different animals; just pick your fave — whether it’s a cat, dog, pig, frog, panda, or another furry friend. The options are endless!

5. Origami Unicorns

super cute origami unicorn directions (1 of 1)

Unicorns don’t just live in fairy tales — these beautiful origami creations bring them to life! Add a touch of fantasy to your craft with Pink Stripy Socks' easy-to-follow method to creating your own magical creatures.