Explorations in Origami Design – Origami Pheonix Design

Origami Phoenix Design

I love the challenge of trying to design a few origami model to brief, and for this project there was the extra added twist – it had to be a model I could teach virtually to over 100 beginners in only 30minutes for an event entitled “Rise Up!”, quite the challenge!!

There are a good number of origami phoenix tutorials on YouTube for various models but I didn’t really connect with the easier ones, and things like Satoshi Kamiya’s masterpiece are obviously far far too much (look if up if you’re not familiar!). Plus I always like to use either traditional or original models to respect other designers’ intellectual rights.

As an extra constraint I also wanted to design a model that could be folded efficiently from one sheet of A4/Letter paper, and not end up too small a model when completed.

So with these requirements in mind I started my explorations.

I tried to keep my mind very soft as I tried just walking through a few options. There was some time pressure as I needed to send the client a photo asap, but I tried to just notice that stress and keep my mind soft! Eventually I had the idea of cutting a square from the A4 and using the offcut for the tail – after some experiments it seemed to be a good idea so I explored more and found that by folding the traditional Japanese crane with one little tweak, I could secure a tail, folded from the offcuts folded like a fan, in the back of the model with no glue and complete a really effective model in 30 minutes folding!


The Japanese crane is symbolic of long life and hope, and is often folded in large numbers (1,000s!) by schools and companies in Japan. As such it felt a fitting model to adapt for this Pheonix and in the workshop (which went well, by the way!) I had a good number of people happily completing the final model – so now there are a flock of Phoenixes all down the West Coast of the US, reminding us that we will Rise Up again one day soon!

Origami Phoenix Design
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