Origami Heaven

A paperfolding paradise

The website of writer and paperfolding designer David Mitchell


The History of Letterfolds
This page attempts to record a summary of what is known about the origin and history of Letterfolds (although, at present, it is very much a work in progress). Please contact me if you know any of this information is incorrect or if you have any other information that should be added. Thank you.

More details on specific letterfold designs can be found by following the links.


The manuscript 'De Viribus Quantitatis' by Luca Pacioli which was written in or around 1502 gives a desription of three ways to seal a letter without any wax.

a, 'Given a rectangular sheet of paper, one is to fold it widthwise so to obtain a strip of paper. Both ends of the paper are bent in such a way to obtain a similar trapeze standing out to each side of the strip. The side of the trapeze gives the next fold, which is to be folded over until both ends are close enough that after folding them into each other they form a square shape.'

This sounds similar to the Love Knot Letterfold but with the ends tucked in to form a square.

b, 'The second method is by far simpler. Start with a square paper. Fold it diagonally. Next, tuck one of the acute angled tips of the triangle formed into the fold of the other. The right angled tip is then tucked between them and possibly even secured by a single stitch where all of the tips overlap.'

c, 'Another method is to have the letter wrapped around a round piece of leather. It is closed. The way it is closed is not to clear. However, Pacioli, stresses that there are special tongues with rounded tips to crease the letter shut. Upon opening the crease marks will be obvious making it a hard task to restore the letter to shut state.'

It seems to me that the third method is a good description of the Chickenwire Letterfold.