Origami Mother and Child


Mother and Child

“Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children”.
William Makepeace Thackeray

About the Origami Mother and Child

This design by Stephen Weiss is a model I’ve been meaning to fold for some time and somehow never got around to it! I like this one for much the same reason I like The Last Waltz by Neal Elias – it is a very strong design that shows how origami models can look gorgeous without being overly technical or detailed.

There’s nothing superfluous in this design. There’s no attempt to form the features of either the mother or the child, the hands and feet are basic shapes without fingers and toes. Instead, the model relies on simplicity – an uncluttered approach and clean, striking lines and the result is dramatic. This is the sort of origami I really like. Extensive technical detail is great and sometimes a model does need it, but often it is possible to create something that looks just as beautiful without that level of complexity – perhaps even more so.

Folding the Origami Mother and Child Model

Mother and Child is an intermediate level design. It’s basically a square of paper that has been pleated into sixteenths, with the pleats on the bottom third of the paper unfolded to form the mother’s skirt, and the rest of the paper used to form the top of the mother’s body through a series of moves known as the Elias Stretch. It sounds more complicated than it actually is, and I’d encourage anyone to give this model a go. The video tutorial on the link below is extremely good and each step is explained in detail.

I have used a square of Tant paper to fold this design. This worked well, but I wouldn’t suggest using anything much thicker. Ordinary origami paper (kami) would produce an acceptable result, but the standard 15cm x 15cm (6in x 6in) square would be too small. I recommend paper that is at least 24cm x 24cm (about 9.5in x 9.5in) a side. This produces a final model that is about 12cm (4.75in) tall. I recommend paper that is the same colour on both sides. If you use paper that is a different colour on the reverse, the mother’s skirt will be a different colour to the rest of the model. You might like this effect, but as I said above, I think this design’s strength comes from its clean and bold lines and the colour change would detract from that.

Diagrams and Video Tutorial

There are both diagrams and a video tutorial available for the Mother and Child. If you like folding from diagrams, these are available in OrigamiUSA’s Annual Collection for the year 2000, which is available as a PDF from the OrigamiUSA website.

If you prefer following a video tutorial, Sara Adams has an instruction video available on her website, or her YouTube Channel. As with all Sara’s videos, the picture and audio quality is excellent, each step is clearly explained, and the video was produced with the kind permission of the designer.

Get Involved

I’d love to hear your views on this origami mother and child 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.

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