A Traditional Origami Dragon?

Paul Hanson's Bird Base Dragon

‘ “At times like this it’s traditional that a hero comes forth,” said the President of the Guild of Assassins. “A dragon slayer. Where is he, that’s what I want to know? Why aren’t our schools turning out young people with the skills society needs?” ‘
Terry Pratchett, Guards! Guards!

Yes, yes I know it’s another Origami dragon and I’ve featured several on this blog before (see the KNL Dragon, and the Fiery Dragons), but this one is a little different. It’s a very simple one, and one of the designs available in Paul Hanson’s book Origami Ninjas and other Paper Sorcery 

Note: This post contains affiliate links.  See Disclosure below for more information.

About the Bird Base Dragon

There are countless different types of origami dragons out there – including the eastern dragon, western dragon, a dragon with four feet, and a dragon with two feet. Surprisingly though, there is no such thing as a traditional origami dragon. It doesn’t exist.

I was absolutely amazed by this.  When Paul Hanson told me I was so sure he was wrong I went home and checked my origami book collection. I couldn’t think of one off the top of my head, but I just didn’t believe that there wouldn’t be one. I could find no evidence of a design in traditional origami either, and was forced to conclude that Paul was right: there isn’t one. So Paul decided to invent it.

The concept behind Paul Hanson’s Bird Base Dragon is what a traditional origami dragon might look like. With that in mind, he’s created a simple origami dragon that borrows heavily from traditional designs and techniques.

Folding the Bird Base Dragon

Some of the more observant readers of this page might have guessed by now that this dragon is folded from a traditional Bird Base. In fact, it has the same basic construction as the traditional origami crane. It’s the best origami dragon for beginners because it is very simple to fold.

You can fold the Bird Base Dragon in about five or six minutes. Any colour paper will do, although I recommend paper that is coloured the same on both sides otherwise there will be an unsightly coloured line up the middle of both wings.

I folded the one above from a 15cm x 15cm (6in x 6in) square of red kami, or origami paper because I quite like origami dragons in red.  The finished model measures 10cm (4in) long and 8cm (3in) high. It took ten minutes to fold.

Where to get Bird Base Dragon Diagrams

Paul Hanson's book Origami Ninjas and Other Paper Sorcery

The origami dragon diagram for folding this model is available in Paul Hanson’s recently published book Origami Ninjas and other Paper Sorcery which is available on Amazon here.

Get Involved

I’d love to hear your views on this. You might also like to check out this cute baby origami dragon.  Feel free to let me know what you think in the comments below, or you find can me on Instagram or Twitter. Check out my Pinterest boards too!

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About the Author


Russell has been folding origami since he was 8 years old and has recently written the book, Origami Made Simple. He is on the Council for the British Origami Society and a member of OrigamiUSA. When he is not folding, he enjoys photography and traveling.

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