Skip to content

Origami Challenge #5: Start with Another Model’s Crease Pattern

(Identify the models that go with these crease patterns…)

So far, these challenges have been about using familiar models and bases as launchpads for your own creativity. But if you fold enough origami by different artists, you’ll notice that not every model comes out of those traditional structures. 

A Crease Pattern (CP) is the arrangement of creases you see when you unfold a model back to the original square. Every time you add another fold, you install new creases into the paper. Some folders use the CP as a trail of breadcrumbs for how to fold the model, without step-by-step diagrams. Some artists only provide the CP for their models, adding a puzzle element to the folding experience. But this isn’t about deciphering CPs (I’m not especially proficient at it anyway). There are many resources out there about how to fold from CPs. Origami USA’s Winter 2015 edition of The Paper (Issue 118) has a great article by Beth Johnson on reading CPs for beginners (you can pay to download the PDF on their website if you’re not an OUSA member). 

For the purposes of this challenge, we’re interested in CPs for a couple reasons: First, examining CPs is another way of getting under the hood of the car to see how the whole thing works. If you look at CPs for similar models and bases, you’ll find recurring patterns based on the different steps it took to achieve the model. Some artists design models by plotting out the CP first, then collapsing it into the base and shaping from there (Specific shaping isn’t usually included in the CP). Also, many books include CPs of the model on the first page of the diagram. You can either try to create the model strictly from the CP, or make the connection between the recurring patterns and how to achieve certain features. Fumiaki Kawahata’s Realistic Origami Animals is a nice resource to explore this with models that range in complexity. 

CPs also offer reference points we might not have otherwise considered. You could repurpose the creases that are already there or use them to experiment with new creases. Consider the CPs of the traditional Crow (from a Bird Base) and the traditional Starbox (from a Preliminary Base). They look relatively similar, as if bqoth were folded from Bird Bases. But you can’t tell the order of folds from CPs, and they don’t always distinguish Mountain Folds from Valley Folds. 

You could take the CP and play with the creases being Mountains, Valleys, or reversing direction in the middle. You could also find a crease that only goes part of the way across the paper and extend it further. I started with the CP of the traditional Heart, and collapsed the creases that were already as if they were an off-center Preliminary Base. Off-center Bases are a fun way to find new structures that allow you to incorporate the tools you’re already developing. Once I had the Off-center Preliminary Base, I treated the smaller side as a Frog Base, Petal Folded the larger side, and was on my way to a T-Rex model. 

You could also use the creases that are already there as references to install new creases, using an intersection of creases as a reference, or bringing an edge (raw or folded) to one of the creases. I once took the CP of a Kite Base, added a horizontal diagonal crease, and brought the two side corners to where the Kite Folds met the horizontal diagonal. From there, I was on my way to my Flying Goose model. 

Using CPs like this is another way of expanding your designer toolbox and helping you find references and structures that you might not otherwise have explored. It’s another way of finding “left turns” and wondering “what if?”

(The answers…)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *