An Origami Turkey Ahead of Thanksgiving

Written by RussellBirds, Intermediate


origami turkey

“TURKEY, n. A large bird whose flesh when eaten on certain religious anniversaries has the peculiar property of attesting piety and gratitude. Incidentally, it is pretty good eating.”

-Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary

Oh look, an origami Turkey!

Some of the models I write about here are old favourites that I come back to and share. Some of them are designs I’ve just come across and think ‘I have to make this’. I’ve got a list of models I want to fold at some point, and another list of stuff that’s going to end up on this blog when I get round to it.

Sometimes though, I come across a design while idly flicking through my collection of origami books and think ‘oh yes, I’d forgotten about that’. That’s what happened last week. I stumbled across this origami Turkey by Gen Hagiwara and thought I’d give it a go.

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I think Gen Hagiwara did a fine job with this design.  The shape of the head makes it instantly recognizable as a turkey.   While the tail is similar to the origami peacock it still works well with the model.

Yes, it’s probably the perfect origami model for Thanksgiving, but I didn’t feel like waiting.  Keep this post handy come November, and then make a few origami turkeys to use as table decorations.  There is also this “origami-inspired” turkey folded out of napkins, that could work well.

Folding the Origami Turkey

This is an intermediate level design. The is one open sink and one closed sink to navigate, but other than that it’s not a difficult model to fold. Hagiwara recommends a 20cm square sheet of yohishi, washi, or biotope paper.

I’ve made this one out of 24cm red and black Thai paper I picked up from here. Oddly, all the dimensions of this Turkey are the same. It is 9cm (3.5in) long, the width is similar, and the height is roughly the same as the length. There are 53 steps to this model and it took me about 20 minutes to fold.

origami turkey in progress

If you want to fold an easy origami turkey, try this model designed by Margaret Van Sicklen.

Diagrams for Gen Hagiwara’s Turkey

The instructions for this origami Turkey are in Gen Hagiwara’s book Spirits of Origami, which is available from here. I’ve folded several models from this book now (including a snake and several kangaroos) and I have to say I’ve enjoyed it. The models are varied, the diagrams are clear and the folding sequences are logical and easy to understand. There are a few more in this book that I’ll get around eventually. Possibly next time I’m browsing through my origami books, looking for some inspiration.

#8 Spirits of Origami

Get Involved

I’d love to hear your views on this 3D origami turkey.  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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