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by Kayla Bell

Origami, the Japanese art of paper folding, isn’t just child’s play. It’s a meditative practice that transforms simple squares of paper into stunning creations, from graceful cranes to playful jumping frogs. The beauty of origami lies in its accessibility – all you need is a sheet of paper and a willingness to fold. But for beginners, the crisp lines and seemingly complex figures can feel daunting. Fear not, aspiring paper folders! This guide will equip you with the basic techniques and introduce you to some simple folds to kickstart your origami journey.

The foundation of origami lies in understanding the different folds. The basic fold, the valley fold, creases the paper with the colored side facing inward. Imagine folding a piece of paper in half like a book to create a valley. Conversely, the mountain fold has the colored side facing outwards, like folding a roof. Mastering these two folds unlocks a world of possibilities.

Next comes the crease. A crisp and well-defined crease ensures your folds are accurate and your origami creation maintains its shape. Use your fingernail or a blunt tool like a bone folder to gently but firmly press along the fold line. As you progress, you’ll encounter other folds like the reverse fold (folding in the opposite direction of the previous fold) and the squash fold (collapsing a section of the paper flat). Don’t worry, these folds all build upon the basic valley and mountain folds.

Now, let’s get folding! A fantastic first project is the origami waterbomb base. Start with a square sheet of paper and fold it in half diagonally, then unfold it. Repeat with the other diagonal, creating a perfect X crease in the center. Now, fold each side of the square inwards to meet the center crease, forming a square with triangles on each side. This is your waterbomb base, the foundation for countless origami creations.

With this base mastered, you can create a variety of origami figures. Fold the top layer of the waterbomb base downwards to form a classic origami crane, a symbol of peace and good luck. Feeling adventurous? Try unfolding the top layer halfway and gently pulling the sides outwards to create a majestic flapping bird.

The beauty of origami lies in its endless possibilities. As you gain confidence, explore more complex folds and patterns. Origami books and online tutorials offer a vast library of creations, from elegant flowers to playful creatures. Remember, practice makes perfect. Don’t get discouraged if your first attempts aren’t museum-worthy. Embrace the process of folding, unfolding, and refolding – the journey itself is a form of creative expression and mindfulness.

So, grab a sheet of paper, unleash your inner artist, and embark on the fascinating world of origami. You might be surprised at the intricate and beautiful creations that unfold with each simple fold.

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