Origami Heaven

A paperfolding paradise

The website of writer and paperfolding designer David Mitchell


What is this thing called origami anyway?
Origami is a Japanese word meaning 'folding paper' that has been adopted into English and many other languages. The Japanese word origami and the English word paperfolding mean exactly the same thing. Every time you fold a letter to fit it inside an envelope or make a wedge of paper to stop a table rocking or turn down the corner of a page to mark your place in a book you are doing origami. You are also doing origami if you fold paper to make toys or novelties, models of animals, birds and flowers, mathematical models, abstract sculptural forms or even if you just scrunch a piece of waste paper into a ball to throw at a friend.

Origami then is a process, folding, applied to a material, paper. It's as simple and straightforward as that.

Where things get a little more complicated is when you start to combine folding paper with folding other materials, like plastic or metal foils, which fold in entirely different ways, or folding paper with other processes like cutting. There is more information about this in the 'What are the rules of origami?' section of this FAQ