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by Louise | August 2nd, 2010 | Elementary

There are not too many memories I have retained from my first year in elementary school, but making origami models is certainly one of them. One of my mother’s friends came into the classroom to teach us about origami. Ori means “folding” while kami means “paper.” Quite literally, it is the art of paper folding. She taught us to make several different models. One of the easiest, but most elegant designs was the butterfly. We were allowed to color on the paper to personalize our butterflies, and we were very proud of our work.

In fifth grade, I made a stellated icosahedron (pictured). It’s actually a relatively easy project as far as folding is concerned, despite how it looks. It consists of 30 identical units. You can learn to make them here. The cool thing about these units is that you can make many different shapes with them. All you have to do is memorize how to make this one piece, and you can let your imagination do the rest of the work.

The icosahedron now hangs in my bedroom. You might notice that it is beginning to sag, and the colored pieces of paper have faded quite a bit. To avoid the “decay” of a project, you might want to use real origami paper rather than construction paper. It is available in exciting colors and patterns and is thinner (and thus easier to fold) but stronger than regular paper. It also comes in the standard shape (square), so you don’t have to cut your own pieces. You can find packs of origami paper in general crafts store. However, origami doesn’t have to be limited to paper; learn how to make a t-shirt using a dollar bill here. Anything that is of the right basic shape, flat and able to hold a crease will technically work.

You can find both simple and more complicated free origami instructionshere. There are also page-a-day calendars that you can buy, which provide paper to make an origami model each day of the year. This could be a unique project and collection between a parent and a child.

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