Origami Guy Fawkes Mask for Bonfire Night

Brian Chan's Guy Fawkes Mask "Origami Guy Fawkes Mask" origamiexpressions.com

Evey Hammond: Who are you?
V: Who? Who is but the form following the function of what, and what I am is a man in a mask.
Evey Hammond: Well, I can see that.
V: Of course you can. I’m not questioning your powers of observation, I’m merely remarking upon the paradox of asking a masked man who he is.
Evey Hammond: Oh, right.

V for Vendetta, 2005

I like to feature a model that relates to a specific event or calendar date if possible. 5 November in the UK is known as Bonfire Night, or Guy Fawkes Day / Night. So the Bonfire Night – themed model I’ve chosen is an origami Guy Fawkes mask designed by Brian Chan.

Guy Who…?  Bonfire What…?

For those readers not from or living in the UK, here’s the 20 second guide to what Bonfire Night is about.  For a more comprehensive explanation, check out the Wikipedia entry.


Guy Fawkes was a Catholic who tried to blow up Parliament in 1605 in protest as it was under Protestant control. The plot failed and Fawkes was executed. Big fires were lit around London in celebration and the anniversary has been marked ever since. On a recent trip to York, I saw the commemorative plaque marking Fawkes birthplace. There’s a traditional rhyme that relates to this:

Remember, remember, the fifth of November
The gunpowder, treason and plot.
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot!

This has evolved into the modern celebration as a community event with a firework show, the usual obligatory burger or hot dog, and a large bonfire with a stuffed ‘guy’ burned in effigy. Most people go along for the fireworks really, but there’s something reassuring about a really big bonfire, and November evenings can be cold!

Fireworks over London "Origami Guy Fawkes Mask" origamiexpressions.com

This picture is a Getty Image taken from the Lonely Planet guide to Bonfire Night. More recently, Guy Fawkes has been recast as an idealist and a rebel. The stereotypical image of a smiling Guy Fawkes has been used as a persona to hide the identity of a political blogger, and the members of a well-known online technology activist group.

The film V for Vendetta also takes this approach. The main character ‘V’ works to start a revolution against a police state & wears a Guy Fawkes mask to conceal his identity. The quote at the top of this page is taken from the scene when Evey meets V for the first time.

Folding the Origami Guy Fawkes Mask

Brian Chan’s origami Guy Fawkes Mask is an intermediate level model, derived from a traditional Fish Base. It takes about 25 minutes to fold.

The paper chosen for this model should be black on one side and white on the other.  Ordinary kami will do. I recommend a sheet that is 20cm x 20cm (about 7.75in x 7.75in) or larger as the finishing folds can get a little fiddly below that size. I folded the model above from standard 15cm x 15cm (6in x 6in) origami paper and some of the finishing is not as precise as I’d like.


There are two video tutorials showing how to make the origami Guy Fawkes Mask.  One is by Brian Chan, who also designed it. The other is by Jo Nakashima, who has produced his video with the permission of the creator. I recommend Nakashima’s video as this is the clearer of the two. Jo Nakashima produces some of the best origami tutorials available and this one is up to his usual standard.

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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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