Origami is the ancient Japanese art of paper folding. Without using glue, tape, or scissors, artists create a huge range of beautiful, symbolic, and sometimes even useful objects. While the results often look complex (and sometimes are!), many patterns are much simpler than they seem. Ready to try your hand at some easy origami? Check out the following beginner patterns.

Easy Origami Step by Step 

easy origami paper boats
Source: pexelsBoats are fun for beginners.

The key to perfecting origami is to follow the instructions step by step. If you try to improvise or jump ahead, you’ll probably find that your cat ends up looking more like a frog, or your frog like a ninja spinner. If things don’t work out quite right the first time, have another go. Once you’ve mastered a few easy patterns, you’ll be able to make some more advanced figures.

Note that the following are simple projects that aspiring artists of all ages and skill levels can tackle. Most people find it much easier to follow the steps visually rather than via written instructions, so we’ve included helpful video tutorials for each project.

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Easy Origami Airplane

easy origami airplane
Without even looking at easy patterns, you might already know how to make a simple airplane.

Chances are you already know how to make this one, or did so as a kid. Paper airplanes are simple to make and a great way to introduce children to origami as they’ll love playing with them after they’re finished. If they’re folded well, they’ll really fly.

Skillshare instructor Slava teaches a tutorial on how to make 20 different kinds of paper airplanes out of ordinary printer paper—no specialist origami paper is required for this one! Why not try making them all to see how well each one flies?

Easy Origami Boats

easy origami yacht
Yachts are a super simple type of boat to make.

Origami artist and Skillshare instructor Kevin Hutson teaches a class on how to make seven different types of origami boats, from very simple to more advanced. And while we wouldn’t expect any of these to last very long if you float them on real water, they can be fun for kids to set sail on a pond or river. Try using thicker paper for a slightly sturdier boat.

The yacht is the easiest boat to make for beginners, so we recommend starting there. 

Easy Origami Flower

folded paper
Flowers look really pretty all together.

Origami flowers are fun to make because as you practice, you’ll create more and more blooms that can be combined into a beautiful bouquet to display. Use a variety of colors and patterns of paper for a striking result.

In this tutorial, you’ll end up with a flower with quite a few petals that can be opened up into what looks like a blooming flower. The process of folding and unfurling each petal gets a bit tricky, but it’s not too difficult as long as you follow along with the steps in the video. 

Easy Origami Dollar Heart

dollar heart
Show your love and appreciation with a dollar bill heart.

While origami is usually done with special paper that’s square in shape, a fun twist on the craft is to make it with dollar bills (you could use bills of any amount, of course, but it’s probably best to start with single dollars!). 

Origami made with dollar bills can be a fun way to give gifts (especially to kids) or tips. Kevin Hutson teaches a tutorial on how to make several items out of dollar bills, including ducks, ninja stars, arrows, and cranes. We like the heart best and think it’s ideal for giving as, or alongside, a gift.

Easiest Origami Animal: Cat Face

One of the easiest animals to make is the cat face.

Animals are some of the most popular objects to make, and some are much simpler than others. A cat face is easy to fold, and once you’re finished, you can add eyes using pen, stickers, or googly eyes

Easy Origami Box with Lid

easy origami box
A beautiful box by Cassie Leicester for Papercraft: Origami Boxes for Gifts & Trinkets.

While many origami objects are purely ornamental, boxes can be used to store small things like jewelry or to present gifts in. Traditional Japanese paper (washi in Japanese) is great for making boxes because it’s made from wood pulp, making it thick and strong but easy to fold. 

If you can’t get hold of kami, try using thin cardstock. You don’t want to use anything too thick because it won’t fold nicely, but if you want your box to be useful, it’s best not to use thin paper. You might want to practice with thin, cheaper paper first and then bring out the special stuff once you’re more confident.

This project is still quite simple, but it’s more complex than others listed here, so try this once you’ve worked your way through the easier projects.

Get Folding for Fun

origami leaf
There’s an endless world to explore.

Origami is a fun creative outlet and, as artist Kevin Hutson says, it can be meditative, too. Whether you want to make decorative objects like animals or flowers, useful objects like boxes or trays, or playful toys for kids like airplanes, boats, leaping frogs, or ninja spinners, there are so many cool items you can learn to make. 

Soon you’ll be progressing from beginner to some truly impressive artwork. Have fun! 

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Written By

Elen Turner

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