Introduction: How to Make an Origami Dragon

Picture of How to Make an Origami Dragon
This instructable will show you how to fold an origami dragon. This winged dragon is made from only one sheet of paper and is relatively easy to make (compared to some of the other origami dragons out there). This model starts out from a bird base, so if you have ever folded an origami crane, the first few steps will be familiar to you.

I have included a video and origami directions with descriptions of each step. I have also added a PDF of the diagrams.

Step 1: What You Need

Picture of What You Need


You can use any paper that you like; origami paper, printer paper, tissue paper etc. I like shiny paper for making dragons, if you don't have any you can use the wrapper from a chocolate bar.

If you are not using origami paper or paper that is perfectly square you will need scissors to cut it.

Making a square
To make a square from a rectangular piece of paper, fold the bottom left corner up to meet the top edge and cut off the bit of paper that is left over (see images below).

Step 2: Bird Base: Crease Paper

Picture of Bird Base: Crease Paper

To start out making the bird base it is always good to make creases so that subsequent folds are easier to make.

a) Place paper colour side down.
b) Fold bottom edge up to meet top edge, unfold.
c) Fold right edge over to meet the left edge, unfold.
d) Fold bottom left corner up to meet top right corner, unfold.
e) Fold bottom right corner to meet top left corner, unfold.

Tip: One of the keys to making great origami models is to be precise with your folding, making sure that the edges meet perfectly.

Step 3: Bird Base: From Square to Triangle to Square

Picture of Bird Base: From Square to Triangle to Square

The next few steps will take us to the "bird base" which is a precursor to a number of origami bird models (hence the name), but its not just limited to that, other models are derive from this base as well, such as my dragon.

(note each numbered step corresponds with an image).

Starting with an open sheet . Fold bottom right corner up to meet top left corner forming a triangle.

Fold the bottom left corner to meet the top right corner, bringing the dots together
forming a smaller triangle.

Open out the top flap and pressing down to form a square by
bringing the top right corner over to the top left corner ( the pink dots come together) and
the centre of the top edge (the yellow dot) becomes the lower left edge of a square.

Flip over.

Repeat step 3 on this side by bringing the top left corner over to the top right corner ( the pink dots come together) and the centre of the top edge (the yellow dot) becomes the lower right edge of a square.

Step 4: Bird Base: From the Square to a Bird Base

Picture of Bird Base: From the Square to a Bird Base

We continue on from this folded square to our bird base.

We are making creases again in this step.
- First of all, you need to make sure you have your square facing the right way, such that the corner on the right side can be opened up (its the corner with the pink dot from the previous step).
- Now fold the top tip and upper right edge down on an angle to the centre (yellow dashed) line.
- Then fold the bottom tip and lower right edge up to the centre (yellow dashed) line.
- Fold the left corner (now shaped like a triangle) to the left. See image below.
- Unfold. Your creases should look the same as in the picture.
- Flip the paper over and repeat on the other side.

Grab the top layer of paper from the right corner, and pull it towards the left, folding on the crease running vertically. Press the edges down so that they meet at the centre and fold where the creases were made.

Flip over

We are repeating step 7 on the other side by pulling the left corner to the right
which opens it up and then press to fold on the creases

This forms our bird base.

Step 5: Beyond the Bird Base

Picture of Beyond the Bird Base

From our bird base double check that it is pointing in the right direction. (see image 10 inset)

Fold the top right edge down and the bottom right edge up
so that they meet at the centre.

Take the right end flap that is underneath the one you just folded
and fold it to the left, by going around the back (follow the pink dot).

Fold the bottom right edge up along the horizontal centre line
so that it meets the top edge.

Fold that top corner down around the back folding along the centre to meet with
the bottom corner ( follow the pink dot).

Step 6: The Dragon Is Starting to Emerge

Picture of The Dragon Is Starting to Emerge

Hang in there, at the end of these next few steps we will see the neck, wings and tail of the dragon emerge.

Grab that left corner flap and fold along centre so that it meets the right corner

Fold the flap that is underneath on the left side and fold behind along the centre
so that it meets the right corner.

Fold the right flap up along the line indicated to form a right angle.

Repeat step 16 with the other right side flap by folding in behind.

Step 7: The Dragon's Neck

Picture of The Dragon's Neck

We will be forming the neck of the dragon in the next few steps.

Fold the bottom edge of the front flap(just the top layer) up to meet the top edge, and repeat with the bottom layer, folding around back.

Make a crease running along the same line as the front of the wing, by first folding the neck to the front and then around the back. Unfold.

Make a second crease down at an angle (see image) by folding the neck to the front and then around the back. Unfold

Hold the end of the neck and pull it downward so that it folds at each of the creases. The fold at crease 1 in image below is called a mountain fold, like an upside down V and the fold at crease 2 is a valley fold, like a V.

We need to make another crease to get the neck pointing upwards. So fold the neck up and to the front at the angle shown and repeat folding it to the back. Unfold.

To make this fold you will be turning the part above the crease inside out (see inset) and pressing down to fold at the crease you made in step 22.

Step 8: Dragon's Head

Picture of Dragon's Head

Next we will folding the dragons head. There are two options available to you, one is to have an open mouth, the other is to have a horn at the back of the head (these can be ears too).

About half way up the neck we need to make a crease. So fold the tip to the front at the angle shown in the picture. Then fold it to the back at the same spot. Unfold

The upper part of the neck will be folded inside out along the crease we made in step 24.

Now make a crease on the the end you just folded by folding to the front and then to the back on the angle shown. Unfold

27 Dragon horn/ears
Turn that end inside out and fold back along the top edge of what is to become the head.


28 Dragon mouth
Fold the end back downward and make another fold back at the point were it meets the neck.

Step 9: Dragon's Tail

Picture of Dragon's Tail

The next few steps will create the dragon's tail.

Fold the tail back on itself (towards the body) about 1/3 of the way down the length of the tail.

Fold the tail out again on a fold that is slightly closer to the body than what you just did, such that it creates a zig-zag.

Repeat this on a spot 2/3 down the length of the tail, creating another zig-zag.

You can adjust the angles slightly on these folds so that it changes the direction of the tail, whether pointing downward (as shown), upward or straight.

Step 10: Dragon's Wings

Picture of Dragon's Wings

The last step is the wings.

32 and 33
In this step we are not actually making any folds we are just shaping the wings with our fingers by gently curving it.

Again we are not making any folds just bending the paper in the shape we want.



Basibot (author)2016-11-11

I'm stuck on number 14. I can't fold the flap over

ChrysN (author)Basibot2016-11-11

Double check that you did step 10 with it facing the right direction. If done incorrectly it would cause you to not be able to fold the flap over.

OlanaM made it! (author)2015-12-21

great dragon and instructions! Thanks a lot!

Supersonic415 (author)2015-10-28

tried makin it but messed up on the wings

calston made it! (author)2015-08-30

I tried.

Jabez MelkiB (author)2015-06-24

These are just great! I've seen these a few times before but didn't know how to make them. The instructions were really clear, especially the pics.

ChrysN (author)Jabez MelkiB2015-06-25


CrafteroftheArts (author)2015-02-21

Wow! These are THE BEST instructions I have seen on how to make a dragon. After looking for good instructions I have finally found them. Thanks!

Volcora (author)2013-05-20

Some thoughts:
Amazing, you are very descriptive in your instructions, so that makes it infinitely easier for many people to make this astounding design.
The pictures where great too, especially with the little diagrams. I have not checked out the video yet, but if I get stuck, that's what I'll refer to.
Great job, keep up the work!

ChrysN (author)Volcora2013-05-21

Thank you!

HorseyLove21 (author)2013-02-20

This is so COOL!!!!!! Took a while to realise S.3 but after that was flying. After trying loads of sites this was definitely THE BEST :-))) what a great dragon

ChrysN (author)HorseyLove212013-02-20


oburton1 (author)2011-08-16

ugh, I can't view it because i'm not a pro member! jeez, i just want to download a pdf!

HorseyLove21 (author)oburton12013-02-20

i could before i set up my account

Chocoholic154 (author)2012-03-30

Hey awesome finishing design just found it quite difficult to see you doing the head cause ur hands were in the way and it was so tiny but great finishing design

ChrysN (author)Chocoholic1542012-03-30

Thanks, hopefully the diagrams for the head are more helpful.

Polina22 (author)2012-01-17

So easy and the finishing product is a beauty.

ChrysN (author)Polina222012-01-17

Thanks, glad you like it!

zap8005 (author)2011-07-25

instead of cutting the paper with scissors u can just lick the bottom of the fold & tear it

ChrysN (author)zap80052011-07-26

That's smart!

zap8005 (author)ChrysN2011-08-09

it also makes a neater fold compared to scissors

halfpenguinhalflego (author)2011-05-29

After ages of going around websites trying to make an origami dragon I have finally done it thanks to you!
Albeit it is using 6cm by 6cm paper so I had to sacrifice an open mouth on mine, looks amazing though!

abc123haha (author)2011-05-08

I loved the instructions and the result! It ended up really good and having the video with the diagrams was useful.

ChrysN (author)abc123haha2011-05-08

Thanks I'm glad you liked it!

moxiepurple (author)2011-04-19

This was my first attempt at origami, it turned out pretty good I think. I tried to upload a picture three times with my comment, but when I press post comment it takes me to the top of the comments and nothing happens. So, I wish I could show you my picture of your instructable!

ChrysN (author)moxiepurple2011-04-19

That's awesome, most people start with something simple like a crane.

moxiepurple (author)ChrysN2011-04-19

I have no use for a crane, and dragons are much cooler. Thank you for the Instructable!

sweerasooriya (author)2011-03-22

i love this dragon! It's totally awesome! I have done much harder Origami and easier but this beats all of them! So nice,easy to understand with the pics too! This dragon is kinda familiar.maybe it's my thinking but it looks a lot like Draco from Bakugan!

ChrysN (author)sweerasooriya2011-03-22

Thanks! I'm actually not familiar with Bakugan, Draco looks really cool, (after looking it up on Google.)

Dream Dragon (author)2011-03-03

Thank you very much for posting this. I used to like Origami when I was a kid, and there was a time when my world was full of cranes and frogs and flowers, all made of folded paper.

This instructable re-awoke the interest for a while and now I have a selection of dragons made out of folded chocolate paper.


ChrysN (author)Dream Dragon2011-03-03

I'm glad! I was like that as a kid too.

nightsouled (author)2011-01-31

Awesome instructable for a relatively advanced origami model.

The head variations helped a lot too! I already knew about them, but I could never get the open mouth right. Your instructable was the only place where I learned to do it right.

Oh, you should also try pleating the wings instead of curving them, they look more dragon-like in my opinion. ;)

ChrysN (author)nightsouled2011-01-31


beeleigh (author)2009-08-07

omg i can't believe it worked! i suck at making stuff with paper. i can make fortune tellers, water bombs, and sherikins. that's about it. but this is awesome!

chamster (author)beeleigh2010-10-08

Beeleigh, Do you know how to make the donut sheriken that when it's pulled out, it forms a donut, and when you push it in, it forms a shreiken?

miimaster2 (author)beeleigh2010-07-12

It's Shurikens not sherikins...and this is AWESOME! I used a huge sheet and it was awesome!

FrozenIce (author)2010-05-23

 i tried it  and it flew !!!

chamster (author)FrozenIce2010-10-08

It flooped to the ground for me. I didn't make it very well. The most complex thing i have ever made is a crane and a chicken.

ChrysN (author)FrozenIce2010-05-23

It flew? I never tried throwing it.

caityjay (author)2010-08-05

I cannot for the life of me figure out what's going on in Step 21. This is an AMAZING tutorial, so I can't help but feel I'm messing up somewhere.... I'm stumped when I try to pull the neck down, because there are 5 edges inside the neck, and the center one is attached to the body (if I pulled down on the neck, it would rip). Any idea what's going on there? I can make cranes in my sleep, so I think perhaps I've unconsciously taken the crane steps one too far somewhere...? Not sure. Anyway, this is a fantastic 'ible, thanks so much!

ChrysN (author)caityjay2010-08-05

If you look at the diagram at crease #1 you do a mountain fold and at crease#2 do a valley fold. It is actually called an outside crimp fold if you check out this page.

I hope that helps, did you check out the video.

caityjay (author)ChrysN2010-08-05

OH, okay, yes, I see now! I was just trying to make it far more complicated than it actually is. Thanks so much for taking the time to help me out! Again, this is a GREAT instructable!

ChrysN (author)caityjay2010-08-06

Thanks, glad I can help.

100%dragon (author)2010-08-02

Excuse me, but I couldn't find the video for this! I looked on the frist page, unless you mean the page where all the steps are. But I'm only a free member so I can't go that page. Where on the page is it? I'm new to this site. ( In fact, this is my first day!)

ChrysN (author)100%dragon2010-08-02

It's the mpg file on the Intro page, I think you should be able to see it if you are logged in.

xGoldenHeartsx (author)2010-07-17

Very nice and easy to follow once you can see the diagrams. Dragons are definitely my favorite thing to make :D

ChrysN (author)xGoldenHeartsx2010-07-17


jeancarlos_1313 (author)2010-04-25

i dont get it  i am not  a member but i am  interested in origami stuff

ChrysN (author)jeancarlos_13132010-04-25

What part are you having trouble with?

MAANNIK (author)2009-10-04

thank you boy!its loooks to and it is a good show piece also!

About This Instructable




Bio: I like sewing and crafts,and trying new things. I'm vegetarian and always looking for new recipes. My cat's name is Mirko and ... More »
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