Traditional Origami Fortune Teller

Completed Fortune Teller

Just about everyone that’s ever attended school in the UK or USA knows this model as the Traditional Origami Fortune Teller, or Cootie Catcher.  While it may have different names just like the pajarita, these days it’s probably best known across the world as a playground toy.  In traditional origami, it’s turned upside down and used as a Salt Cellar. I have no idea if anybody actually used it to put salt in, but that’s it’s purpose.

The paper origami fortune teller is very easy to make (if you can fold the four corners to the center you can make this), and any paper will do, provided there’s enough blank space to write on each of the flaps.  Paper that is different colours on both sides might make it look a bit prettier when playing with it, but it really isn’t necessary.  I made this one out of orange kami as I’ve always got lots of that lying around.

Difficulty: Simple, suitable for beginners or children
Paper: Any
Time to make: Less than five minutes

For instructions on how to play the fortune teller game, see this video.

Traditional Origami Fortune Teller Diagrams

1. Start with a Blintz BaseCompleted Blintz Base
2. Turn the paper overTurn the paper over
3. Blintz this side – fold all four corners to the centreBlintz the reverse side of a blintz base
4. Form into a Preliminary Fold by bringing the four corners togetherFold like a Preliminary Fold
5. Open out the four flapsFold the sides out
6. Unfold to step 3Paper blintzed on both sides
7. Reopen each of the four flaps and write a different prediction on each half of the flapWrite predictions under the flaps
8. Close the four flaps up again and write different numbers of each half of the outside of the four flapsLabel the flaps with numbers
9. Reassemble the fortune teller and write colours on the four visible flapsWrite the names of colours on the outside flaps
10. You have completed the Fortune TellerCompleted Fortune Teller

Get Involved

I’d love to hear your views on this paper fortune teller.  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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