Craft

Origami for Beginners: Materials and Basic Folding Techniques

Discover the basic materials and folds to get started in this ancient technique with endless possibilities

This traditional and peaceful Japanese art is directly linked to the Japanese mentality regarding reconciliation between countries at the end of World War II. Origami is the art of folding paper without using scissors or glue to obtain figures of various shapes, many of which could be considered sculptures.

“We associate origami with a children's game but it is also a contemporary design technique that inspires functional and decorative products in fashion, furniture, architecture or jewelry", explains Estela Moreno (@cartoncita), an artist that excels at giving modern touches to traditional artisanal techniques.

Estela Moreno shares with Domestika some of the secrets that you should keep in mind when you start out in this ancient art: from the most appropriate materials to basic folding techniques that will help you start building complex creations in paper, like the great masters do.

Origami for Beginners: Materials and Basic Folding Techniques 1
Traditional Origami Figures

What materials do I need to make origami?

To get started in the art of origami, it is important to carefully select the materials and tools that will give you optimal results. They are, however, quite basic. The only essential ones are paper and your hands.

Estela usually uses paper folding techniques to make origami lamps, so this list specifically refers to these types of paper projects and the tools they require; however, they will also help you make other more complex pieces. These are the materials you need to create origami lamps:


  • Metallic ruler

  • Pencil and eraser

  • Box cutter

  • Round tip awl

  • Paper folding guide

  • Hole punch, both professional and basic

  • Double sided tape

  • Hot silicone

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Basic Materials for Origami

Regarding paper, you can use any type, since each one will give your pieces its own unique character and personality. What you should keep in mind is that there are different transparency levels, which is important if you are going to play with light and colors. And remember that the thickness is dictated by the weight. If you are going to do something with many folds, it is advisable to use a smaller weight. For less complex parts, you can use heavier paper. These are the types of paper you can use for your origami:


  • Cardboards of all types of weight, color and texture

  • Wallpaper with different designs

  • Cotton paper

  • Metallic paper

  • Papers with a layer of resin or wax

  • Craft paper

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Estela Moreno

Basic origami folds for beginners

With your materials ready, it is time to learn the basic folds that you will use in most pieces:

- Valley folds: these are done by joining two points of the paper, and folding it in half. In this fold, the vertex is down and the folds go up.

- Mountain folds: the opposite of valley folds, the vertex is up and the folds down. To create origami pieces, the combination of both folds is needed.

- Double folding: A valley fold followed by a mountain fold (or vice versa) in order to give the paper greater flexibility when working.

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Basic Origami Folds. Domestika.

Estela Moreno teaches the Domestika course 'Creation of Origami Lamps with Paper', an excellent option to learn the necessary materials and tools, basic paper folding techniques and diagrams to make your own origami lamps with simple designs and a mix of textures and colors for maximum expressiveness.

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