The Public Paperfolding History Project

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Paper Butterflies
This page attempts to record what is known about the origin and history of Paper Butterflies. 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


A design for a Single Sheet Pleated Butterfly appears in 'Origami (Part 1)' by Isao Honda, which was published in Japan in 1931.


In Western Europe / USA


A design for a butterfly, which is developed from the Double Hulled Boat by pulling out the internal flaps, appears in 'Die Frobelschen Beschaftigungen: Das Falten' by Marie Muller-Wunderlich, which was published by Friedrich Brandstetter in Leipzig in 1900.



'Die Frobelschen Beschaftigungen' by Marie Muller-Wunderlich was published by Friedrich Brandstetter in Leipzig in four parts in 1910, contains a picture of a pleated butterfly. I do not know how this design is made.


The Flapping Butterfly - 1932 onwards



A design for a Two Sheet Pleated Butterfly appears in 'Paper Toy Making' by Margaret Campbell, which was first published by Sir Isaac Pitman and Sons Ltd in London, probably in 1937, although both the Foreword and Preface are dated 1936, which argues that the book was complete at that date.



The 1964 Rupert Annual contains instructions for making Yoshizawa's Butterfly under the title 'A Paper Butterfly'. Akira Yoshizawa's authorship of the design is acknowledged.