Virginia Tech > College of Science > Physics Dept > Tatsu Takeuchi > Origami
[ What is Origami? | About these classes | Recordings ]

Origami Classes

Offered on Saturdays from 2:00PM to 4:00PM (EDT) via Zoom (470-195-185) until the end of May 2020.

The eight classes that were originially scheduled have concluded.
Email me at takeuchi at vt dot edu if you would like me to host more classes.

Recordings of past classes are available below.

What is Origami?

Origami (おりがみ) is a Japanese term which refers to the art of paper folding. The objective of the art is to fold pieces of paper into pretty decorative objects that represent birds, flowers, animals, etc., or useful objects such as boxes, cups, chopstick supports, etc.

Despite the Japanese term, the art is not indigenous nor unique to Japan. It is said that the art-form originated in China, not surprisingly since that is where paper was invented circa the 2nd century BCE. The art propagated both east (toward Japan) and west (toward Europe) together with the technology of paper-making. It made its way all the way to Spain, the westernmost country in Europe, where it is called papiroflexia.

Today, it is practiced all over the world, with professional Origami Artists creating amazing new folds. Origami techniques have been applied to various technologies in engineering and medicine. A new field of mathematics which studies the geometry of Origami has also been created.

Physicist and world famous origami artist Robert J. Lang gives a class and public lecture on Origami at Virginia Tech, November 2011.

About these classes

In this series of classes, I will demonstrate how to fold various traditional Japanese folds as well as some more modern creations. I will emphasize the importance of mastering a few "Base Folds" from which a miriad of variations can be created. I encourage you to try to create your own folds by tweaking the ones I will show you. After all, what fun is there in just following instructions?

Examples of folds that can be made from the "Carp" base: Carp (a kind of fish), Narwhal, Sea Lion, Sea Horse, Hen
Examples of folds that can be made from the "Butterfly" base: Butterfly, Fish, Bat, Blue Whale, Sperm Whale
Examples of folds that can be made from the "Crane" base: (Left) Crane, Sea Turtle, Dinosaur, Skunk, Doggy, Rabbit, Mouse (with Disney ears), Dolphin; (Right) Pterosaur
Examples of folds that can be made from the "Frog" base: (Left) Frog, Iris (a kind of flower), Rocket Ship, Jet Figher Plane, Ray Gun; (Right) X-wing Fighter
Examples of folds that can be made from the "Crane-Frog Hybrid" base: Mouse, Cat, Dog, Apatosaurus, Elasmosaurus

Disclaimer: The "modern" folds I will show you were cooked up by myself, but they may closely resemble creations by various Origami Artists around the world.
I may not give proper credit to those artists because
1) I'm not aware of any database where I can look up this information, and
2) I will only be showing simple (by professional standards) folds that many people could easily come up with independently.

Toward the end of the series, I will also show you how to fold "Modular" Origami, that is, origami folded into linkable units, which can be linked together into colorful creations.

Examples of Modular Origami. The ball on the left is made from 12 origami units linked together, while the one on the right is made from 30 units.

If you have any questions, suggestions, or requests, please email me at takeuchi at vt dot edu.


mp4 (640 × 360)

  • Origami Class 01 (April 11, 2020)
    Folds shown : flower box (traditional), samurai helmet (兜, traditional), cicada (蝉, traditional), carp (鯉, traditional), pajarita (小鳥, Spanish traditional)
    Folds shown in Class 01
  • Origami Class 02 (April 18, 2020)
    Folds shown : eared box (三方, traditional), butterfly (蝶, traditional), fish (魚), piggy (豚, traditional)
    Folds shown in Class 02
  • Origami Class 03 (April 25, 2020)
    Folds shown : Chinese lantern (提灯, traditional), baby (奴凧, traditional), Japanese trousers (袴, traditional), crane (鶴, traditional), flapping bird (traditional?), star (星), crane (鶴, traditional? advanced difficult version)
    Folds shown in Class 03
  • Origami Class 04 (May 2, 2020)
    Folds shown : Box with lid (箱, traditional), Tulip (チューリップ), Hydrangea (紫陽花), Iris (菖, traditional), Humming Bird (蜂鳥, modern)
    Folds shown in Class 04
  • Origami Class 05 (May 9, 2020)
    Folds shown : Box without lid (箱), Frog (蛙, traditional), Fox (狐, modern)
    Folds shown in Class 05
  • Origami Class 06 (May 16, 2020)
    Folds shown : Dog (犬, modern, 2 types), Unit for Modular Origami (modern?)
    Folds shown in Class 06
  • Origami Class 07 (May 23, 2020)
    Folds shown : How to link modular origami units together, Dog (犬, modern, type 3)
    Folds shown in Class 07
  • Origami Class 08 (May 30, 2020)
    Folds shown : Mexican hat (帽子, modern?), paper balloon (紙風船, traditional), dove (鳩、traditional?), penguin (ペンギン, modern), sea turtle (海亀, modern), dolphin (海豚, modern)
    Folds shown in Class 08 (may require login)