Gen Hagiwara Origami Snake

I like to keep a bottle of stimulant handy in case I see a snake – which I also keep handy.

-W. C. Fields

About the Origami Snake

There is a very simple traditional origami snake that is basically a square sheet of paper in a diamond orientation, folded over and over like a fan. Throw in a reverse fold to give it a neck and another to make the head. Simple, but effective. If you make it from paper that’s coloured differently on each side you even get a rudimentary pattern on the snake’s body. I first learned to make one of those in school – probably when I should have been paying attention in cookery classes or something.

traditional origami snake model

The origami snake designed by Gen Hagiwara is almost as simple, but has a lot more character! I like origami models that have something ‘extra’ going for them. It’s not enough for it to just be a representation of something – it needs to be engaging in some way. A sense of motion, a story or emotion, or just a quirky sense of fun, like this origami snake. Those big, bulbous eyes and oversized head that looks a bit more like a frog almost make it feel like something out of a cartoon.

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Folding Gen Hagiwara’s Origami Snake

For people who know about these things, this model is basically a Kite Base with a strip graft running down the middle. The shorter point becomes the head, with squash-folds for the eyes and reverse folds added to create the rest of the body. See – I told you it was simple!

kite base used to make origami snake

Ok, that’s a bit flippant, but honestly, I’d say this is a perfect model for anyone that’s got used to doing origami from YouTube videos and is looking to improve their skills by following diagrams. It is easy to make, doesn’t need special paper and the instructions are easy to follow. It takes about ten minutes to make this model.

in process origami snake photo

Ordinary origami paper or kami will do for this model. Use paper that is a different colour on each side, or white on the back. This makes the eyes stand out. As you can see, I’ve used green and yellow paper because I think it makes the eyes look much more interesting than plain white. Green and red paper would give the snake much more of a creepy look.

Unless you are an aficionado of ‘Tinygami’ or you have fingers like toothpicks, don’t go smaller than a 15cm (6inch) square. This will create a snake that stands 4.5cm (just under 2in) tall, and about 10cm (4in) long, depending on where you put the folds that shape the body and make it stand up.

Click on the video for a 360-degree view of Gen Hagiwara’s origami snake.

Diagrams for Gen Hagiwara’s Origami Snake

You can find the origami snake instructions in Gen Hagiwara’s book Secrets of Origami.  This is one of several models from the book that I’m planning on featuring on this site soon. I’ve had this book for ages and actually wrote about a Swallow some time ago, but I’ve recently rediscovered it on the bookshelf and decided to give the models in it the attention they deserve.

#8 Spirits of Origami

This is one of the easier models in the book, and that’s why I say it’s a good stepping stone for anyone who’s looking to advance their skills in origami. The book has a progression of models and this is a good place to start getting comfortable with diagrams before moving onto some of the more complex stuff.

Secrets of Origami by Gen Hagiwara is available from origami-shop.com here, and they ship internationally.

More Easy Origami Snakes

If you enjoyed folding this simple origami snake, you might also enjoy these models:

Get Involved

I’d love to hear your views on this origami snake.  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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