Michael Lafosse Butterfly


For day three of World Origami Days, I have folded some of Michael Lafosse’s butterflies.

Lafosse invented a Butterfly Design System that makes it possible to come up with a range of different variations using the same basic fold sequence.

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This Design System is explained in his kit Origami Butterflies, which is available from Amazon. [easyazon_link identifier=”0804849315″ locale=”US” tag=”origami0b4-20″]Click here to check prices and availability[/easyazon_link].  There are two versions of Lafosse’s Origami Butterfly kit.  One with a DVD and six models, and one with no DVD but with twelve designs. I recommend getting the one with more models as the models are not hard and the diagrams in the booklets are clear. The kit comes with two booklets: Origami Butterflies Books 1 & 2, and a selection of kami to fold the butterflies. Book 1 explains Lafosse’s Butterfly design system and how to vary the folds to create different butterflies, then presents four sample projects using this approach. Book 2 has a further 8 butterfly types to attempt.

All the butterflies in this picture are chosen from the 12 models in Lafosse’s kit.  Working clockwise from the top left, these are:

  • The Baxter
  • Alexander Swallowtail
  • Alexander Aztec Swallowtail
  • The Lillian
  • A Butterfly for Alice Gray

All of the butterflies in Lafosse’s kit are of intermediate complexity, but anyone who is capable of folding reasonably accurately and making a squash fold should find the designs fairly accessible.  They can be folded from most paper types and sizes, in five to ten minutes.  This includes kami – which is included in the kit.

Having said that, the paper included with the kit is very poor quality. It is glossy,  which doesn’t help the butterflies’ final appearance.  Sharp creases can show up as white on the final model.  I find this surprising as Lafosse is known for manufacturing some of, if not the finest origami paper in the world. While the publishing company probably has something to do with the paper in the kit, I am surprised Michael Lafosse is willing to put his name to a kit containing paper that poor. I recommend buying different paper to make these butterflies with.  For best results, the paper should be coloured differently on each side. A standard pack of 15cm duo-coloured kami will do.

Difficulty: Intermediate
Paper: Any paper coloured differently on each side. The paper that comes with the Origami Butterflies kit is not recommended.
Time to fold: Five to ten minutes

Get Involved

I’d love to hear your views on these paper butterflies. 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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