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How to make Origami Balls - Step-by-step Guide

Modular origami

This is an example of modular origami that requires fastening multiple pieces of paper together.

This is an example of modular origami that requires fastening multiple pieces of paper together.

Origami - Fold Paper Balls

This web page will teach you how to craft several different types of balls out of folded paper using different origami techniques. I put the paper balls order of relative difficulty level.

Each level will also have links to related sites and recommended reading if you want to make things other than balls.

We are going to learn to make the following paper balls:

  • Inflatable paper ball - waterbomb base EASY
  • Spike ball - modular kusudama MODERATE
  • Magic expanding ball/wheel - wizardry HARD

Basic Origami Folds

Just so we're clear, these are some of the basic folds you'll want to be able to do before you can tackle even the easiest of the paper balls.

You need to start off with a square piece of paper. If all you have is 8.5 inch by 11 inch paper, you can fold it and cut it down. Take the top of the paper and fold it inward so that the top is flush against the left side of the page. This makes a square composed of two right triangles and an extra rectangular wedge at the bottom. Cut that wedge off and you've got a square: the basic building block in origami!

Valley Fold: When people talk about folds the direction matters. A valley fold forms a valley (the space between two mountains) by making two ends of your square join above the fold like in the diagram to the right.

Mountain Fold: The mountain fold is going to be the opposite orientation of a valley fold. It's an upside down valley fold. This doesn't matter with just one fold by itself, but it becomes very important later on because the orientation of the folds in relation to each other will completely determine the overall shape and resistance of the paper square.

Accordion Pleat: This series of creases is mountain valley mountain valley mountain valley mountain. It shows how the folds start to work together. See how different it would be if you made it valley valley valley as opposed to valley mountain valley?

Blintz Fold: This one requires a little more effort but it's important to a lot of designs. You fold the four corners inward to meet in the middle of a second concentric square. If you're not good with words or geometric descriptions, see the full-sized diagram above by clicking on the small thumbnail all the way to the bottom right underneath the image, and it should make a lot more sense.

Inflatable Waterbomb Paper Ball

Inflatable Origami Waterbomb

This design uses just one square (almost all origami designs use square sheets of paper) and can be inflated at the end of assembly to create a sphereoid box. It's not going to be perfectly round and it's more accurately described as a bulging box than a ball, but it's still a lot of fun.

This ball will have a small opening in the end which makes it perfect to use as a paper lantern (3 to 5 inch squares can be made to fit snugly over a set of Christmas lights, or you can make a huge ball and put an entire small string of lights into it as long as the paper is thick enough to resist catching on fire).

You can also make these into crafty water balloons. You can even fill these paper bombs with substances that are hard to put into a balloon like shaving cream, toothpaste or egg goo (eww). Normally you wouldn't have the pressure it takes to inflate a balloon slightly while putting toothpaste into it. But you can fill this paper ball with anything gooey and icky and bombs away!

Squash Fold

This compound squash fold is one of the only hard parts of the waterbomb base.

This compound squash fold is one of the only hard parts of the waterbomb base.

Description of the waterbomb origami ball

The waterbomb base method for making an origami ball is just a little more complicated than the traditional origami bases (e.g. kite, frog, bird, fish) You'll probably be able to do it just by watching the video above and copying.

If you're into words over images though, this is a verbal description of how to fold the square of paper into a ball. You have to fold 2 perpendicular valley folds down the diagonals of your square. Then fold 2 perpendicular mountain folds across the middle of the square.

These creases can be compressed through the squash fold. You'll have an isosceles-right triangle (a triangle with a 90 degree angle and three sides of different lengths). with four isosceles-right triangular flaps.

Beginners Origami Guides

  • How to Origami for Beginners
    This is a great site with a nice bubbly aesthetic and some good ideas for people just beginning with origami. They've got a gallery, how to guides and much more.

Kusudama

origami-ball

Assembling the Paper Spike Ball without Glue

Modular Origami Kusudama with Glue

Modular Origami

This kind of ball takes more patience because it is constructed from MANY folded squares. Each square is folded into a similar shape that fits in with the other squares to form a geodesic sphere or ball.

Some people use glue. Even though that's kind of cheating, a lot of people just care what the finished product looks like so you can make your own decision. The modular kusudama without glue make each piece to have pockets and tabs. That way the tabs fit into the pockets of adjacent pieces so everything can be very snug and tightly fit.

Advanced origami links

  • Math of Paperfolding
    This wikipedia article details some of the mathematical concepts that go into folding paper. These notions are especially important with modular folding because it's so dependent on tesselations and symmetry.
  • Geometric folding algorhithms
    More on the geometry and math of folding paper. This website has some cool errata from a book that details all the different ways to find symmetry, links and whatnot in paper designs.

Magic paper ball

These are designs that simply exceed my capacity as a paperfolder or or even understanding of the laws of physics. I've included some video links but I have never been able to make these successful. Good luck. You'll need it unless you're some kind of wizard or paper god.

How to make the magic ball

  • How to make the magic ball
    You might be able to decode some mystic paper folding secrets from this forum as others have claimed they found diagrams or English instructions tucked away here

Other crafty paper links

  • Paper roses - How To
    This isn't strictly origami, but it's a beautiful paper craft guide to making a rose out of paper.
  • Folding Paper
    This is another hub that looks at the art of origami and paper-folding. It's got instructions for the basics like paper airplanes and some of the cooler traditional base designs like frog base, kite base, etc.
  • Complicated Geodesic Ball
    This is a flicker photo of a really complicated ball design. If you ever get really ambitious, you can make a ball composed of tons of papers that form triangular faces like the Epcot dome.

Origami clubs and organizations

  • British origami society
    This is a group of people based out of the United Kingdom who are all about folding paper, but they have members around the world who check up on and contribute to the ever-expanding galleries.
  • Origami USA
    This is the largest group of folders in the United States. They are a great place to get new ideas based on what's happening in the world of origami today.
  • Origami Forum
    This is a sweet forum where people are very willing to share advice and they'll keep helping until you figure it out and send them picture proof! Good place to go once you've mastered the top part of this site.

Comments

Aj on October 19, 2013:

Thanks!

hey on May 22, 2013:

cool one really hard

nicole on August 27, 2012:

how do you make the magic expanding ball/wheel?

michael groves on April 11, 2012:

i like it i made it on the first try

lili on February 24, 2012:

its so hard to make a magic ball i have tried a billion times already

smona on January 27, 2012:

i don't like it don't give it you too much information i don't like it

jacob on January 21, 2012:

how do you make the magic ball

makayla on December 01, 2011:

origami is my Favorite thing

Robin on November 09, 2011:

Thank you for the wonderful information. I use fabric to make origami ornaments and was looking for a new challenge. Many thanks!

alivia on July 16, 2011:

haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa very funny

Emma from Houston TX on March 19, 2011:

Useful article.I love your humor.Its really a creative hub that widen my knowledge.Very big challenge to me and i love challenges.

awsomeperson7643 on February 21, 2011:

OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D

sooooo cool :) but the magic ball is soooooo freaking hard!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! >:(

i cant collapse the waterbomb bases :(

but still awsomely cool!!!!! this is sick!!!!!!!!!! peace out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :P :D :)

Stranger on February 20, 2011:

*Kusudama

spelling correction

Stranger on February 20, 2011:

Kudusama is pretty easy, but annoying because you have to make a ton of those little paper things, and connect them together later. The magic ball is so freaking hard! I can't even make it. I'm having trouble collapsing the little water-bomb bases.

David on February 20, 2011:

Great page! Would love to see something on origami roses!

http://www.love-of-roses.com/origami-rose.html

emmettpeck on February 08, 2011:

i love using it its great thanks!!!!!!!!!

Taligher on January 12, 2011:

what istructions do you look at to do the Kusudama ball?

Jed on December 22, 2010:

Didn't like it....:(

Gypsy Willow from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand on November 12, 2010:

Well done for bringing this art to our attention. I remember the water bomb and the bird from my childhood, now I'll try some more. Thank you for a great hub

Lily! on November 07, 2010:

amazing how people create these things. I'm making things for a pond scene and it's taking me forever!! I wonder how long it would take me to make these........

Susan Hazelton from Sunny Florida on September 23, 2010:

I love the looks of the Kusudama ball. I wonder if you could make smaller balls ande use them as Christmas ornaments. Rated up, useful and bookmarked. Thanks for sharing.

Christopaz >:D on August 18, 2010:

I'm making origami magic ball in school.. when i was on the waterbomb parts... someone crisped it... >:O so angry.. well gonna do it now hahahahaha

xorigami_loverx on August 15, 2010:

greatr instrution but i like it on the video. i don't really like to read it.>=) but still love the instrutions. THX!!! HAPPY TIMES WITH ORIGAMI!!! =)

sdof on August 15, 2010:

great!!! =)

jane on August 12, 2010:

nice thing

pop on August 07, 2010:

i now another site origamifun

torki on June 22, 2010:

this is great it taught me how to make an origami ball and i thought it was very creative

donovan on June 12, 2010:

This is ecellent!!!!!

Miki on June 07, 2010:

This is a great site. I couldn't remember how to make the water bomb, and your instructions and video were perfect! I plan to learn the other things too. Thanks.

donovan on May 24, 2010:

This is cool !!!

loveable on May 07, 2010:

I love your website and your awsome origami designs! also the magic ball is great i play with it all day. its so addicting up and down, up and down, up and down. i love it! also the inflatable ball it great. thxz Hub!

larry nowles on March 31, 2010:

whoa awesome but what the heck its hard to do dudi hard

armstrong on March 20, 2010:

LEARNT TO MAKE A PAPER BOX , THIS IS JUST A BEGINNING.

Manyfaces:>:D:P on February 25, 2010:

this video suckedddddddddddddddddddddddd,but i lovvvvvvvve origami!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

bob on February 23, 2010:

that is stooped\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\

=) on February 15, 2010:

This video sucks!

shana76 on February 11, 2010:

umm........

cobra00 on January 30, 2010:

please make easyer paper balls

sarina on December 30, 2009:

that's so cool i love it and its easy well for me

danial hakeem on December 29, 2009:

how to make it?????? :3

papecraftcentral on December 27, 2009:

Nice, I made one and posted in my blog http://www.papercraftcentral.net thank you so much

says: says: on December 06, 2009:

cool. :D

none on December 06, 2009:

i like pie O_o

sarah on December 03, 2009:

this is so cute! and i love it x]

ma on December 02, 2009:

help icant do it and looks awesome not on video

Origamiluver on November 12, 2009:

The crumple fold on the magic ball is sooo hard and the instructions are in Japanies!!! >=(

ianbrad55 on October 30, 2009:

really informative hub for an interesting craft project

aakarsh on October 27, 2009:

That was great

LazarDRod on October 26, 2009:

Origami is awesome. I was addicted to it as a kid, always folding shapes and whatnot. You're going to get me back into it!

juliapecce on October 24, 2009:

this sucked really bad like i will waste ppaper

besse on October 16, 2009:

I cant't follow along the kusudama origami one. the hands

are blocking so i can't really see what's going on.

luthfia on September 23, 2009:

where did you learned about it???!!!

it's awesome!!

tiny on July 31, 2009:

I enjoyed the to i am looking forward to trying to my some more origami balls,birds,cats,dogs,flowers and more i really enjoy origami

ngoc on July 25, 2009:

I am very like origami ball

sewin220 on May 30, 2009:

i love origami. i can make a fake bubble gum pack.

mari on May 21, 2009:

i want to know how to make origami not to read about it

tinkerer from Portland Oregon on May 18, 2009:

This hub is cool because there are links to all the other how-tos. Thanks for putting together all this information.

karibaskets on May 14, 2009:

LOVE the origami magic balls! I'll be back to watch more of the videos!

laringo from From Berkeley, California. on April 27, 2009:

These are very pretty. I am going to bookmark this and try making the Kudusama with my granddaughter.

C on April 21, 2009:

Your video "Assembling the Paper Spike Ball Without glue" isn't very good. I watched it eight times and I still can't follow along. The screen phasing to the next step while the hands are still folding is disorienting, it blurs what they were doing at the end of one step and what they're doing at the beginning of the next step. I can't even tell what you're doing at 0:46, even following along with my own piece of paper it doesn't look like that. You should have used paper with color on one side for this, it would have made it easier to see as the white just all fades together and it's impossible to see what and where you've folded.

gigi on April 10, 2009:

wowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww i made it

Anna on March 03, 2009:

When I tried it, it didn't help me.

moonlake from America on January 18, 2009:

I loved this my granddaughter is crazy about origami. I'll have to show her this.

Dottie1 from MA, USA on December 05, 2008:

Very informative hub. I learned origami from a Japanese friend that I hung out with in the 3rd grade and have been paper folding ever since. My latest book I bought was "Origami with Dollar Bills".

Debby Bruck on December 02, 2008:

Excellent page. Loved it. I'm now a fan member.

joonjohn on November 15, 2008:

ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

June Campbell from North Vancouver on October 31, 2008:

That modular ball is STUNNING! I could never make anything so intricate, but I admire those who can. Your hub is beautifully done, also. You have put so much care and detail into it. I'm giving it a Stumble!

aniket on October 19, 2008:

Fantastic work

profiler from Currently in this universe on October 03, 2008:

Great hub!

I'm also an Origami Lover! In fact I recently did a hub on how to impress girls by making origamis!

Check it out https://hubpages.com/art/How-to-impress-girls---le...

yoursolutions from Mc Allen TX on September 02, 2008:

Eh your are a very focus hobbiest i want make a proposal i dare you if you can build a figher plane with origami in just 20 minutes all the video intructions are here just go to http://origamistepsblog.findfastr.com

Starrborn on August 19, 2008:

I wonder if I have the patence,Its cool tho...

mae_rein on July 29, 2008:

.....it's too fast that i can't almost understand the other steps..... hands are blocking.....

eswar from India on July 02, 2008:

That's really nice made me kid, love to see other shapes also.

OLivia on June 24, 2008:

Totally COOL!!!

I love this

iloveshawnndjesse from nj on June 23, 2008:

i like this page, very well put together=>

jacinda

Karen Ellis from Central Oregon on June 08, 2008:

I love origami. It's on my 1000 things to learn before I die list.

Sameer on June 07, 2008:

The magic ball was really cool! I really liked it and that's the truth!

Whitney from Georgia on May 30, 2008:

I remember making the origami balls in your very first picture. I have 2 in my room from middle school. I couldn't ever figur out how to put hte pieces together to make the ball, but a friend of mine gave these to me. I still have the pieces I made, too, in the disk shape that is also pictured.

monitor from The world. on May 30, 2008:

Great pictures and ideas on how to make origami, mroconnell! Some of them look really difficult but I feel challenged to give them a try. Thanks for the info!

Your fan.

Mon.

caspar from UK on May 29, 2008:

These are beautiful. I enjoy origami but my results are usually a bit more squashed and crumpled than these!

jzorro from Portugal on May 28, 2008:

I love origami... Yestarday I bought a book and I'm ahving a lot of fun with my kid building animals, airplanes and stuff... I loved your hub!

jzorro from Portugal on May 28, 2008:

:)

Bob Ewing from New Brunswick on May 27, 2008:

excellent hub, I have a book on origami but have not yet done anything, this hub may be the push I need, thanks.

Sherri from Southeastern Pennsylvania on May 26, 2008:

The first instruction, about how to make a square out of 8 1/2 x 11 paper, is just awesome. Sure beats measuring out inches and drawing lines. Such a simple process, and I never saw it before. Wonderful hub.

quiet tracer from South-Asia on May 26, 2008:

What a HUb! Great ;)

Chelle on May 25, 2008:

Those are so pretty and what a great tutorial! I am not very good at folding paper but my hubby loves this kind of stuff...I will have to share with him!

Om Paramapoonya on May 20, 2008:

This is so cool! I think I'm gonna make one tonight :-)

Merle Ann Johnson from NW in the land of the Free on May 20, 2008:

This was great and well done...I have a few books and lot's of paper...But am not very good at following the directions.  It is just too frustrating..You make it seem easy...for you..not me G-Ma :o) hugs

donnaleemason from North Dakota, USA on May 20, 2008:

Great job. I remember the water balloon ones from childhood. Now I can show my kids. Thanks.

Constant Walker from Springfield, Oregon on May 20, 2008:

This is great hub. Waitresses love it when I leave them an origami rose, with tip, of course. The videos are an excellent addition: So much easier to learn by watching, ay?

solarshingles from london on May 20, 2008:

Mroconnell, this hub is so nicely made and very useful. I have always liked origami, yet I haven't been very good at it. It takes time and loads of efforts and practical work to learn it a bit more and the final results are quite artistic. Thank you!

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