Choose your Origami Dragon!

Written by RussellAdvanced, Fantasy, Models


Kade Chan's Fiery Dragons

Be kind to Dragons, for thou art tasty when roasted, and good with ketchup
Sherrilyn Kenyon, Dragonswan

About the Fiery Dragons

I’ve reviewed a dragon model on this site before, so why am I doing them again when there are so many other origami subjects and models out there? There’s a couple of reasons really. Firstly, because they are Kade Chan models and I really like his designs. He taught a squirrel design at the OrigamiUSA Convention. Also, these are Fiery Dragon versions 1 & 2. Putting them both together is a good way of showing how origami designers develop their models over time. Finally, because as I have said before, things with wings and spikes and horns generally make good origami designs and I think both of these look great.

The dragon folded from brown paper is Fiery Dragon v1. The red one is Fiery Dragon v2.

Differences between the two Dragons

Fiery Dragon 1 Head

Although the heads and tails on the two dragon are slightly different, the most obvious way v2 improves on version 1 is the feet. Version 2 has three toes on each foot which adds a satisfying level of detail over the earlier version, which has the kind of basic triangular foot shape you find on so many origami models. For those people that know about origami design, Kade Chan achieves this by building a couple of paper grafts into the base.

Fiery Dragon 2 Head

I like the heads of both origami dragons, and I’m not sure which head I prefer, although I’ve folded the lower jaw better on V2. The horns on the two dragons are different, but I like both of them! I really can’t pick between the two.

I can choose between the tails though. I quite like the idea of the three pronged tail on version 2, but I think the tail on the first version is better. The pleats make it feel more scaly and tactile. That might be partly down to the pose of the model though. I tried to give Fiery Dragon version 1 a dramatic stance to show off the tail, while version 2 stands lower in a more menacing way.

If you are looking for more dragons to fold, check out the Pure Origami book by Red Paper.

Folding the Fiery Dragons

These origami dragon models are not for the beginner. These are complex models, requiring a high degree of accuracy and understanding of origami techniques to complete – particularly open sinks.

I do recommend folding both of them, particularly if you are interested in designing your own models. As you fold the second one, you can see how Kade Chan has modified the folding sequence to achieve the changes to the design. It’s a fascinating insight into the creative process of one of the best origami designers in the world.

Both these models need a fairly large piece of reasonably thin paper. I made both of these out of 60cm x 60cm (24in x 24in) tissue foil from It took me about an hour to fold Fiery Dragon Version 1, and about 2 hours to fold v2.

Origami Dragon Instructions

Kade Chan has made a video showing how to fold version 1 of the Fiery Dragon. The video is reasonably clear, although it is quite fast-paced, so you may well have to pause the video and replay a couple of times on some of the fiddly bits.

Tadashi Mori has put together a video showing how to fold Fiery Dragon version 2, with the kind permission of Kade Chan. This video is well-paced and well explained. This is probably one of the clearest videos I have seen from Tadashi Mori

Get Involved

So which Fiery Dragon do you prefer? Or maybe you like this cute origami baby dragon. Feel free to let me know in the comments below, or you can 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.

    • Thanks for commenting Anisa. I know what you mean about the tail. It looks more substantial than the other one. Not sure whether I like the pose or not though.

    • Hi Paul,

      Thanks for commenting. I know what you mean – the second one looks good in red. I nearly made one red and one black, but I’m saving black for making a Darkness Dragon another time – watch this space!

  • Having folded both, I like them both for different reasons but can’t help but be frustrated by how little paper there is for the arms. Given the detail in the rest of the models, it is a shame that they remain so undeveloped. That said, both have lovely bases that I am sure could be used for other things, and they are really efficient with their use of paper

    • Hi Peter!

      Thanks for commenting. I thought much the same thing – the arms have a bit of ‘Tyrannosaurus Rex’ feeling to them – almost completely pointless! You’re right, the bases are excellent. I’d like to explore what else to do with them if I get the chance.

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