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Origami Models to impress Non-Folders

PostPosted: November 21st, 2017, 1:09 am
by NeverCeaseToCrease
Hi everybody,

I don't know if anyone else has this problem, but sometimes when I tell people that "I do origami," they almost always assume that I do little cranes and Yodas and paper airplanes. I've even been called a "Weeaboo" because "I'm pretending to be Japanese." Or when I'm folding something, they might ask "What are you doing?" and I'll say, "I'm folding an Ancient Dragon." They will naturally assume by "ancient dragon" I mean a simple dragon from a bird base. It's annoying. I'm sure that I'm not the only person that this has happened to, right?

My solution to this is to always carry a small model in my pocket (jacket pocket, not pants pocket). For a while I carried around Robert J Lang's Silverfish (told them it was an earwig), and when I say "I do origami," I would pull out the silverfish and say something like "...and here is what I folded recently." It usually impressed people, but because I had heavily MCed it to let it survive weeks in my pocket, they often assumed that it wasn't paper or I had rolled up paper for the legs and glued them together.

So now, I'm looking for other models I can carry around in my pocket. This model has to be:
1. Simple enough that losing it wouldn't be too bad
2. Simple enough that people would still believe it's origami
3. Strong enough that MC isn't needed, so it stays natural
4. Small enough that it can easily fit in a jacket pocket without creating a bulge, probably no bigger than a tennis ball.
And most of all, it has to be impressive, either by realism, details, or "cuteness."

Here are a few pictures of models I've considered using:
Leaf Katydid by Brian Chan

Tarantula by Robert J Lang

Sea turtle designed by me

Rat designed by me. This is what I currently carry around. It also helps that I can fold this from a post it, and when it comes to animals, the smaller the "cuter."

Does this problem happen to anybody else? What are your solutions?

Re: Origami Models to impress Non-Folders

PostPosted: November 21st, 2017, 1:52 am
by HankSimon
I think simple is better:
1. Origami strawberry using Green & Red strawberry paper.
2. $1 Shirt or $1 Dog
3. $2 Pantsuit
4. Working Flapping Bird with colorful washi
5. A small, The Last Dance, with duo paper [Have a few folded, so ppl can unfold for proof!]
6. Dreaming Dog by Giang Dinh, if you can fold it well.
7. Wet folded simple Mouse by Akira Yoshizawa
8. Traditional frog that jumps

Except for #5, all of these can be folded in less than 30 minutes, they provide a cute or elegant example of the art of Origami, and they can be unfolded by a bystander or by you, without great loss, if desired.

Re: Origami Models to impress Non-Folders

PostPosted: November 21st, 2017, 3:19 am
by Brimstone
I think Yoshimasa Tsuruta's Cow has most of the conditions you ask for.


The CP is at: and the diagram in Tanteidan magazine 158

Re: Origami Models to impress Non-Folders

PostPosted: November 21st, 2017, 9:38 am
by origami_8
Impressing non-folders can be very hard, as they don't see the work that goes into a model. If you show them a complex model, they will oftentimes assume it is made from several sheets of paper with cuts and glue and there is basically no other way to proof them wrong, than unfolding the model.
So maybe a little boxpleated person that you can unfold and refold easily could be a good model to show. But it would have to be made from sturdy paper as the fold unfold process takes its toll on the paper.
But even if you have such a model the question remains whether it really helps impress people.
In the past I had people offering me a fresh sheet of paper after half of the precreases of a model, because mine has already so many folds #-o
I've also been asked in the past where to buy the precreased paper I use and they didn't want to believe me I precreased it myself. Far too accurate to be possible, they told me.
And I know a lot of non-folders who would be impressed by a display that is just colourful and filled with a thousand of the most simple folds. Because they can relate how much work it must be to fold a thousand sheets lets say in half but they don't have an idea how much work it is to fold a single sheet a thousand times to fold a really complex Origami model.
At our zoo they have a world record display of thousands of really simple three legged giraffes that you can hardly recognize as such. Most of them with googly eyes glued on. A friend of mine saw it when we were there and asked me why I don't make such beautiful things instead of folding the boring things I do. I mean really what is an Ancient Dragon for example in comparison to a few thousand hardly recognizable giraffes with googly eyes? Impressing? Not for the big crowd.

By the way, I really like the sea turtle.

Re: Origami Models to impress Non-Folders

PostPosted: November 21st, 2017, 10:55 am
by marsch
Manpei Arai’s Spinning Top is a model I like to fold for non-folders.
It impresses kids as well as adults.
It can be used for spinning competitions, to just watch the run, to „survive“ boring conference calls, … .
It’s small and sturdy enough to be carried in your pocket.
You can unfold it to show: single paper, no cut, no glue, color change - then refold it and spin it like before.
It can be folded while others are watching (less than 15 minutes).

Give it a try.

Re: Origami Models to impress Non-Folders

PostPosted: November 21st, 2017, 6:01 pm
by Gerardo
I vote for Sea Turtle by yourself, Yoshimasa Tsuruta's Cow, and Román Díaz's Cartoon Tuxedo Boy. And I definitely recommend you stop placing them in your pocket unprotected! Place the fold in your wallet or make a little hard cover for it :).

I personally like surprising non-folders with practical models I take with me and really use, like my two folds of Two Pocket Envelope, which I use as a wallet and a folder respectively, Accordion Card Holder, well... for all my cards :P, and Shopping Bag, for unexpected shopping, although I stopped taking a fold of it with me since I currently don't have a big enough material that does last. All three were created by me.

Just my two cents ;).

Re: Origami Models to impress Non-Folders

PostPosted: November 21st, 2017, 7:24 pm
by Baltorigamist
How about "Splash" by Satoshi Kamiya(diagrams in WOSK1)? It's foldable from relatively small paper, has a color-change, and can be partly unfolded and refolded pretty easily.

I have a story related to this as well, actually. I have pictures of my designs saved on my phone, and I showed someone my One-Sheet Rose. He said "Clearly that's two sheets of paper, but it's still impressive."
I don't know if he believed me even when I told him it was one sheet, but I at least know somewhat how you feel.
One possible solution is to carry a small crane as well as something more complex. Pull out the crane first, then surprise them with the other model.

Re: Origami Models to impress Non-Folders

PostPosted: November 21st, 2017, 10:47 pm
by Brimstone
Gerardo's suggestion about Tuxedo Boy is spot on.

It can be folded from the CP at

Re: Origami Models to impress Non-Folders

PostPosted: November 22nd, 2017, 11:29 pm
by NeverCeaseToCrease
Thank you for all your suggestions!

I feel like people wishing to see something unfolded isn't that big of a problem. The bigger problem I see is that most people only know origami as a simple craft that is used to make simple, flat, models that don't really look like their subject (a crane looks nothing like a real crane), or little toys like ninja stars or paper airplanes. And, although impressive, I fear that the suggested cow, tuxedo boy, and even the top might only reinforce these beliefs. I think something more complex could be better.

Gerardo, putting the models in a wallet is a good idea, but it would definitely squish models that aren't already flat. I used to put them into little inflated plastic bags, but the moisture of my breath that I used to inflate it often tore the paper. I have considered carrying the models in a small box in my backpack, which I still do, but the problem with that is that I don't always have my backpack with me when I need to show somebody a model, and the box looks and feels awkward in my pocket.

Balto, the Splash Swan is a great idea! The flat piece of paper for the "water" will probably get crumpled in my pocket, but that's fine. It's probably the simplest model Satoshi Kamiya has, which is both good and bad (perhaps the Tree Frog or Little Bird would work). I like your idea of carrying the simple crane, too.

Another thing that I was thinking of, what about tessellations? They might be rather large but would be able to demonstrate to people that math is actually involved.

Re: Origami Models to impress Non-Folders

PostPosted: November 23rd, 2017, 1:50 am
by Gerardo
I see what you mean about the models we suggested.

OK... I have another idea: a flasher! There are some that have a good number of folds looking impressive as they are unfolded, plus you can keep it for example inside a plastic capsule (like the ones from the chocolate eggs with the toy inside) which can fit in your pocket, and finally, as you unfold it you can tell people about how something similar has been used in different technologies in order to make objects that are too large compact, like that telescope lense in space, that airbag, stent, bullet-proof shield, etc.

Re: Origami Models to impress Non-Folders

PostPosted: November 23rd, 2017, 4:05 pm
by Izyx
I think Jun Maekawa's peacock (the one with more feathers) is pretty good. It looks complex enough and the feathers can technically be collapsed flat and opened out when you show people. It can also be folded pretty small, and is foldable from a square cut from A4 copy paper.

Re: Origami Models to impress Non-Folders

PostPosted: November 24th, 2017, 3:58 am
by thedeadsmellbad
Money folds are always great.

I would also recommend action models, like spring into action by Jeff Beynon. You can fit it into your wallet and it always gets a good reaction.

Re: Origami Models to impress Non-Folders

PostPosted: November 25th, 2017, 6:26 am
by NeverCeaseToCrease
I agree, the flasher and the peacock are a good complexity and size. I think I will try one, or maybe both.

I was also considering cute baby animals, like Saber Tooth Tiger by Ryan Dong. I will use MC to keep it strong.

By the way, welcome to the forum, Izyx!