Origami Butterfly, by Akira Yoshizawa


It seemed a shame to let World Origami Days 2015 go by without folding a model designed by Akira Yoshizawa, so for day 16 I am featuring one of Yoshizawa’s butterflies, even though I posted about Michael Lafosse’s butterflies and his Butterfly Design System not that long ago.

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Akira Yoshizawa is the single most influential figure in the history of origami. I will be posting more about Yoshizawa at a later date, so for now I will simply say that he was the inspiration behind what origami is today. He created pioneered new techniques, created beautiful designs, and even helped give origami its language – the system of symbols found in the vast majority of origami books.

Yoshizawa invented many butterfly designs. This is the most famous of all his butterflies– partly I suspect because it is so simple to make. It takes about five minutes to fold this design, and because it is so simple it is a very good model to make with children. This butterfly is so well known that a lot of people believe this is a traditional model.  It isn’t, which is why I have not included diagrams for this model here.

Diagrams for Yoshizawa’s Origami Butterfly

Diagrams for it can be found in Paul Jackson’s book Classic Origami. As I noted in yesterday’s post on Takahama’s Cat, unfortunately, this book is now out of print, but at the time of writing, there were several copies available on Amazon extremely cheaply here.

The British Origami Society Library also has a couple of copies for lending to Society members.

Any square piece of paper will do for this model.  It doesn’t matter whether it is coloured on one side or both. I have made this one out of yellow kami.

Difficulty: Simple
Time to fold: Five minutes
Paper choice: Any.

Get Involved

I’d love to hear your views on this butterfly. 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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