Modular origami, or as it’s also called: 3D origami. Instead of folding one piece of paper you use hundreds of small pieces, and you assemble them together to get a figure. The possibilities are endless. I’ve seen flowers, animals, tables and vases created from hundreds of pieces.
In this tutorial you won’t need hundreds of pieces, so this is a good tutorial to start creating modular origami and see if this is something you would like to do more often. One origami butterfly will take about 2.5 hours to make, and that includes folding all the triangles.
What you need
No glue! Origami is all about folding figures without using any kind of glue. Of course you can cheat a little if you really have to, but in this tutorial you really won’t need it. What you do need is:
- 12 pieces of yellow paper
- 10 pieces of black paper
- 50 pieces of light pink paper
- 22 pieces of dark pink paper
- 24 pieces of red paper
You don’t need to fold all of them right away, it will probably get boring quick. Instead I would recommend following the video below and create the pieces as you watch. You’re more motivated when you only need a few more pieces to complete a wing than if you just keep folding triangle after triangle.
Triangles are what you need to fold before you can assemble the wings and body of the butterfly. In the photo above you’ll see how the triangles are made. If you just keep folding an A4 (printer paper-size) you’ll get 16 retangles the size of the retangle you see in step 1. It’s important not to cut away the small traingles you fold inside (see step 7 and 8). Some people cut those pieces away because it’s easier to fold, but the pieces will not be sturdy enough to stay attached to eachother.
Credit: Janessa Munt
I hope you now have a beautiful butterfly in your hands which you can give as a present or just keep yourself (many thanks to Janessa Munt for creating such a clear tutorial). If your butterfly keeps falling apart you can use glue, but if folded correctly like the instructions above you won’t need it. Also, if you would like to keep the colour from fading, a layer of varnish will do the trick (polish or matte, depends on what you prefer).
You can glue this butterfly on a card, pin it to a bouquet with a small card attached to it or hang a few of them on fishing wire. I even saw people fold tons of cranes to create a curtain, so maybe you can do the same with these. Or just put them in a frame, that will look nice as well. Get creative!