Origami Car: Test Drive Your Folding Skills

Written by RussellBeginner, Objects


View of the Origami Car from different angles. The model was designed by Iris Walker and folded by Origami ExpressionsTOAD:  I want one of those. Maybe two or three of those. Yes, indeedy. That’s what I want.

RAT: Toad, you don’t know how to drive.

TOAD: I’ll learn.

RAT: Toad, you don’t have a driving licence.

TOAD: I don’t need one.

RAT: Toad, you don’t know anything about cars.

TOAD: I know I want one.

-Kenneth Graham’s Wind in the Willows, dramatized by R. Eugene Jackson

About the Origami Car

This origami car was designed by Iris Walker who sadly died in December last year.  Iris was one of the best-known figures in the British Origami Society and will be sadly missed.  She probably wouldn’t have recognised me or known me from the gate post, but I met her at my first BOS Convention in 2007.

The first people I met were David King and Erica Thomson, who pointed out some of the best-known figures in the BOS – including Iris. She had a notebook and was collecting messages from people there.  I attended several Conventions, before taking a break from for a few years as I just didn’t have time. I started going again in Autumn 2015, and when I went to the 50th-anniversary convention she was there with her notebook, collecting messages! It made me smile. I didn’t feel like I’d ever been away.

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I like this design! It’s simple, clean and effective. Iris Walker’s instructions call for the flaps at the front corners to be folded round to give the impression of headlights, and the matching flaps at the back to be left sticking out. This gives it a bit of post-war Americana feel, with the long bonnet and bits sticking out at the back. I’m almost tempted to fold it out of pink paper and draw a Cadillac badge on it.

I actually prefer it with all four flaps on the corners folded round. This subtle change gives it more of that ‘1960s style sports car’ vibe.  Use red origami paper and you almost have an origami sports car! It’s one of those models that has a real sense of character to it – something that I look for in an origami design.

How to Make an Origami Car

It’s a simple design to fold.  The hardest step is the last one where you lift up the flaps that form the bonnet and boot of the car by changing the direction of a few folds.  It’s pretty obvious how the step goes though, so it really isn’t a problem.  

Other than that – not so much as a reverse fold in sight. That means just about anyone can fold this simple origami car model without a lot of experience. It’s probably not one for young children though, as there are 22 steps so they could lose interest, and they might not be able to do that one unaided. It takes about ten minutes to make this model.

You can use most papers to fold this easy origami car model. The flaps at the front and back aren’t held in place by anything, so avoid papers that are too springy, or the design won’t hold together and the sides will splay out. That will make it look like the suspension is broken! Choose a paper that will hold a crease well, but preferably one that isn’t too flimsy and has some structure to it.  

I’ve made it out of origami paper, kraft paper, and tissue foil –bought from the Origami Shop, not the homemade stuff. My preference is for the tissue foil, but they all looked pretty good.  Click here to check the price and availability for a pack of different coloured foil paper from the Origami Shop.

One thing that might be worth trying is wet-folding. This would hold the flats in place as the paper dries, and the origami car model would look excellent folded out of high-quality thick paper. A 15cm x 15cm (6in x 6in) sheet of paper produces a 3D origami car that is 7cm long and 3cm wide (about 2.75in x about 1.25in).

Origami Car Instructions

There are two places you can get a copy of the diagrams for this model. Members of the British Origami Society are in luck – this paper origami car model is in the February 2018 edition of the BOS magazine! If you’re not a member, then why not join and get yourself a copy?

If you’re not a member of the BOS, this model is included on The Origami World of Neal Elias DVD-ROM which is also available from the BOS Supplies shop.

RIP Iris Walker.

More Origami Car Models

There is also a nice and simple origami car model in Marc Kirschenbaum’s Pure and Simple Origami Book.  It only uses valley and mountain folds.

Get Involved

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

  • Hi
    BOS members can check out the BOS library models (M & J series) which have been uploaded to the members area. Iris’s car, illustrated by Mick Guy, can be found there along with hundreds of other models. A wonderful resource – especially if you are interested in the 1960 – 2000 period.
    I love origami expressions Russell. Keep up the good work.

    • Thanks Dave – and thanks for the link to the resource. There are so many wonderful models out there from years ago that don’t get enough of an airing while everyone chases Satoshi Kamiya’s latest offering.

      Glad you’re enjoying it! I’ll buy you a pint at next convention!

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