If you want to learn to do origami, you're not alone. Millions of people from around the world have discovered that the art of paper folding can be a highly enjoyable pastime. This article provides a few general tips to help you get started with your origami studies.
What do the experts have to say about learning origami?
Dr. Robert J. Lang, one of the paper folders profiled in the PBS origami documentary Between the Folds, has had over 500 new designs cataloged and diagrammed since he first began practicing origami 40 years ago.
His advise is to focus on precision and control. "You should never make a crease sharp unless you know it's forming in the right place, and you should only make a crease as sharp as its circumstances and context require," he said.
Peter Engel, origami author and architect, believes that patience is the most important trait of someone who is successful at origami. "New folders have a tendency to jump into a complicated book and tackle the model that most appeals to them," he said. "If they get frustrated, they feel like they just don’t have the skill. But developing the capability to fold an intermediate or complex model takes lots of practice, and you should expect to get a less than perfect result the first few times you fold anything. No one sits down at the piano the first time and flawlessly executes Beethoven’s Appassionata Sonata. When you start folding, try the equivalent of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star and work up slowly from there."
Benjamin John Coleman, best known for his origami bonsai models, wants beginning paper folders to know that the experts they admire have devoted many hours to studying the craft. "It's hard to learn at first, especially folding new models. Some models took me hundreds of hours and more than a month to master, but they're worth it," he said.
Origami is a very frugal hobby because all you truly need to get started is some paper to practice with. If you don't want to purchase special origami paper, About Origami has free printable origami paper designs that you can use. Otherwise, you can practice with newspaper, wrapping paper, or magazine pages.
Learn Origami Online
Although many people learn origami from a friends or family member who is proficient in the craft, you don't need to give up your dream of paper folding if you don't have a personal teacher available. There are many excellent resources available to help you learn origami online.
A great resource for learning how to fold origami online is the OrigamiUSA website. OrigamiUSA is the American national society dedicated to origami. Their website has diagrams, tips, and general information for paper folders of all skill levels.
YouTube has many origami videos, although not all of them could be considered high quality resources. Rob's World, I Love Origami, and EZ Origami are three of the most popular channels for origami tutorials, but you may find gems from other producers as well.
If you have a Kindle Fire or an Android tablet, Amazon has several origami apps that you might find useful.
Origami Tutorial is one of my personal favorites.
If you prefer a low-tech instructional method, About Origami has reviews of several origami books that you might find helpful.
Celebrate with an Origami Party
Once you've mastered the basics of origami, consider throwing an origami themed party to teach a few models to your family or friends. The experience of teaching others will give you greater confidence in your own abilities. You may even inspire one of your pupils to begin their own origami journey!
Check out About Origami's article How to Throw an Origami Party for party planning tips.