Origami Panda


A panda walks into a café. He orders a sandwich, then draws a gun and fires two shots in the air.
“Why?” asks the confused waiter, as the panda makes towards the exit. The panda produces a badly punctuated wildlife annual and tosses it over his shoulder.
“I’m a panda,” he says, at the door. “Look it up.”
The waiter turns to the relevant entry and, sure enough, finds an explanation.
Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves.

Lynne Truss, Eats, Shoots and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation


Everyone loves a Panda!

Every year at around this time, just about every TV channel, radio programme, and magazine looks back over the past year and picks their favourite moment.  The presenters of the BBC’s Breakfast programme decided their favourite clip of the year was the Giant Panda Da Mao playing with a snowman the Toronto Zoo Keepers had made for him.  After watching Da Mao having fun I thought I’d feature Yamaguchi Makoto’s origami Panda for this post.

Of all the origami panda models out there, this one is perhaps my favourite. There’s something about the panda’s pose that gives the design a sense of fun.


Folding the Origami Panda

This is a pretty simple model to fold. In his book ‘The Beauty of Origami’, Yamaguchi Makoto gives this model a 2 out of 5 difficulty rating.  There aren’t any complex steps in this design.  The hardest part about folding this model is that the instructions in the book are in Japanese, so unless you can read the language, you have to fold it from the diagrams alone. Thankfully, the diagrams are clear and easy to understand.

Ordinary origami paper, or kami, is fine for this model.  It needs two sheets of paper – one for the body and one for the head. Two 15cm x 15cm (6in x 6in) sheets of kami will produce a model that stands 11cm (about 4.5in) tall and is 8cm (about 3in) wide. As it’s a panda, the paper should be black on one side and white on the other.  A word of caution though – the quality of origami paper can vary quite a lot.  With poor quality paper, the colour is painted on and can rub off when the paper is folded. This can lead to unsightly white lines along the folds which spoil the look of the final model. The darker the colour of the paper, the worse it looks. I use paper from Folded Square, which is slightly better quality and doesn’t have this problem.


Diagrams for the Origami Panda

Diagrams for Yamaguchi’s Panda are available in his book The Beauty of Origami which is available from origami-shop.com. This is a collection of models from several designers, including Satoshi Kamiya and David Brill. The book is in Japanese and English, although the instructions accompanying each diagram are only in Japanese, so unless you can read the language, you have to be able to fold from the diagrams alone.  Thankfully, the diagrams are extremely clear.


Get Involved

If you like this model or you’ve folded it before, feel free to let me know in the comments below, or you find can me on Instagram or Twitter. Check out my Pinterest boards too!

You can also subscribe to the mailing list by entering your name in the box below:


Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.