Origami Heaven

A paperfolding paradise

The website of writer and paperfolding designer David Mitchell


The Blow-Up Frog
This page attempts to record what is known about the origin and history of the origami design known as the Blow-Up Frog. 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.

In Japan

Diagrams for this design first appear on page 47 of the Kan No Mado, written in 1845. It is one of only a handful of designs in this manuscript that is folded from an uncut square.

In the West

The Blow-Up Frog does not appear to be part of the Froebelian repertoire and I cannot find it in any of the early books about Froebelian education.

The earliest diagrams for this design outside Japan appear in 'Houdini's Paper Magic', published by E P Dutton and Company of New York in 1922, where it is called the 'Bullfrog'. Houdini states that he learned this design from an 'Americanised Japanese' (who also taught him the Flapping Bird).

Diagrams for this design also appear, as just the 'Frog', in Fun with Paper Folding, by Murray and Rigney, published by the Fleming H Revell Company, New York in 1928 and in Margaret Campbell's 'Paper Toy Making', first published in London in 1936, as the 'Inflated Frog'.