How to Make 3D Origami Units - Quick Tutorial

3D origami is an intriguing form of paper art.

Golden Venture Folding, more commonly known as 3D origami, is an intriguing form of paper art.

This type of origami is made using multiple triangular units that are joined together to form a continuous design. Each triangle is made from a rectangular sheet of paper, which means you can mix multiple colors and patterns to create a more lifelike model.

  • 01 of 09

    How to Make 3D Origami Units - Quick Tutorial

    3D origami
    Joseph Kranak

    Learning how to make the triangular units that form the base of all 3D models is a vital skill for anyone interested in this type of paper art.

  • 02 of 09

    Make the Initial Folds

    3D Origami
    © Dana Hinders

    To make your first 3D origami unit, cut a sheet of square origami paper in half. The exact size of your square doesn't matter, although 6 inches is a good place for a beginner to start. If you use a 6 inch square of paper, you'll have two sheets of paper that are 6 inches long and 3 inches wide.

    Place the first rectangular paper horizontally in front of you. Fold the paper in half horizontally. Make a guide crease by folding in half down the vertical middle, then unfolding.

  • 03 of 09

    Fold the Sides

    3D Origami
    © Dana Hinders
    Fold the left and right sides down as shown in the photo to the left.
  • 04 of 09

    Flip

    3D Origami
    © Dana Hinders
    Flip the paper over. Fold the left and right sides up as shown in the photo to the left.
    Continue to 5 of 9 below.
  • 05 of 09

    Make a Triangle

    3D origami
    © Dana Hinders
    Fold the bottom two points up so you have a triangle shaped paper.
  • 06 of 09

    Complete Your 3D Origami Unit

    3D origami
    © Dana Hinders
    Fold your triangle in half along the middle crease. This completes your first 3D origami unit.
  • 07 of 09

    Tabs vs. Pockets

    3D origami
    © Dana Hinders

    Each 3D origami unit has two sides: the tabs and the pocket. The tabs are the two points that were created by the fold in Step 3. The pockets are the result of the folds in Step 2 and Step 5. To make a 3D origami model, you slip the tabs of the second unit into the pockets of the unit immediately before it.

    Different shapes are created by the angle at which the units are joined together. Depending upon what you are trying to make, glue might be used to keep the units together at the angle...MORE necessary to give the model its completed shape.

  • 08 of 09

    Simple 3D Origami Tree

    3D origami
    © Dana Hinders

    One of the simplest examples of 3D origami is the tree at the left. It is made with five units joined together and finished with a folded rectangular trunk. A small amount of glue is used to ensure that the units remain connected at the desired angle.

    This project could easily be used as a Christmas tree ornament or a gift topper. The tree could be decorated with stick-on rhinestones, markers, or other embellishments, if desired.

    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09

    More 3D Origami Projects

    3D Origami Vase
    Wikimedia Commons

    Many larger Golden Venture Folding origami projects are animals, such as the 3D origami swan on the Origami Resource Center website. One challenge in creating large models like this is that you will lots of paper rectangles that are the same color.

    You can also make functional objects, like this pretty 3D origami vase. A vase or bowl is a good model to make because you can play with different colors and patterns of paper instead of trying to get many sheets of the same paper. Pleasure in Creation ...MOREexplains how to make a 3D Origami Vase that is similar to the one shown in the photo to the left. Art Platter has an excellent tutorial for making a 3D origami bowl.