Master how to fold a flapping bird (or ‘crane’ as it’s correctly known) and you will always have a dinner party trick up your sleeve. A paper napkin can, with a bit of dextrous folding, be transformed into a thing of wonder. Your fellow diners’ jaws will drop as you crease and sculpt and then reveal a creature whose wings flap when they tug its tail.
One of the marvels of this Japanese art is that all it needs is one piece of square paper. Pre-cut squares, some bi-coloured, some patterned, can be bought at Paperchase, £8.29 for 49 squares, which is not too crippling an expense when you consider that no glue, scissors or tape are necessary. Ingenuity is all that’s needed, that and some good, clear instructions.
Back in the Seventies, the king of origami was Robert Harbin who introduced the word* to the British public via TV programmes and a series of books. His books are still as good a place as any to learn but there is plenty of advice on YouTube and on dedicated websites such as origami-instructions.com and origami.me. The trick is to master a few basic folds (inside and outside reverse, the petal fold, the valley and mountain fold) and a couple of bases (bird base, diamond base, kite base, waterbomb base) and then a world of paper folding will, well, unfold for you. Soon you will be surrounded by ninja stars, hopping frogs and lotus flowers and a circle of slack-jawed friends.
* The word ‘origami’ comes from the Japanese ‘ori’ meaning folding and ‘kami’ which means paper.
Words: Clare Gogerty
Want to try more? Head over to Pinterest where you'll find paper ideas galore.