Picture of Modular Origami Swan
3D Modular Origami/Block Folding/Golden Venture Origami/Chinese Paperfolding is a branch of origami where the piece is not made out of one singular piece of paper, but made with many pieces, each folded the same way. It became popularized in the 1990s, when illegal Chinese immigrants aboard a ship called "The Golden Venture" tried to smuggle into America cleanly and quietly. Each of these Chinese immigrants (about 300 in total) had paid $5,000 and promised an additional $30,000 to be brought to America. Unfortunately for them, they were quickly caught and brought to jail to be detained and later deported. Many of the immigrants sought to soothe their troubles through creative expression. In prison, these immigrants created beautiful and elegant sculptures using everything from magazine pages to toilet paper. The pieces they created, specifically birds, are known as "Freedom Birds". Today, around 30 people from the Golden Venture are living in the US.

This form of origami is absolutely stunning. Each sculpture consists of dozens and dozens of triangular-shaped pieces, but from afar it seems to be one rippling structure. The reason it can stay together is because of the ingenious structural components. 
But bear in mind; this kind of origami is very time consuming! Don't expect to finish a sculpture in 30 minutes or so. Depending on how many pieces you need or how big the sculpture is, it can take anywhere from one hour to more than a week!

I've been making modular origami sculptures for three years now. The design I am going to show you is an adapted version of a modular swan that I created myself. It is very pretty and certainly an eye-catcher. It's not hard to make, is essentially free, and will surely impress!
jbarbosa26 days ago

Very Well.

Vino8398 months ago
Hw's it!
dungzo8 months ago

I've seen these at my relatives house and always wondered how you make it. It just so happens that I need a idea for my appreciation class. thanks! :)

dungzo dungzo8 months ago

yay I'm finally done

AshnilSharma made it!1 year ago

Thanks for the instructions...I managed to make it in my first try!!! For a beginner that was AMAZING!!!!!

First, I made the size specified in the instructions, but my sis wanted something bigger for her room. So I experimented and increased the size of the paper I used from 32pieces small pieces/A4 to 4 pieces per A4. I also used colored ends for the neck to give it a finishing touch from your Mini Swan instructions. Using it as a vase now....

Wondering if I could convert the wings into the one specified in the Mini Swan to give it a more elegant look. Experimenting....Hope it works.

harmenator made it!1 year ago

I made it in 4 hours and 42 minutes!

Not bad for a first try, eh? :-)

brainiac1203 years ago
Swear I never thought of stacking them before using them. I always have trouble since the pockets weren't open but this helps!
brainiac1203 years ago
So true that they take a long time. I spent 2 weeks on my first project like this, an owl.
your instructions are extremely clear and so easy to follow! im not exactly the greatest at origami but i tried it and actually made it successfully! thanks so much :D
YES you should make more ibles!
Foregasm3 years ago
If you're having trouble making the rings, you can put the entire model on a spindle from a case of blank CD's to help maintain the ring-shape. It makes adding the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th layers WAY easier.
Hi I love the Idea but I was wondering, since A4 paper is different than most american regular printer paper, which one do you mean? I know this sounds dumb because you say A4 paper but you also say printer paper...Thanks!
krysteanuh (author)  pedistrarian3 years ago
A4 paper is very very close to American printer paper (only about a 6% difference), and if you make triangles with either size it's fine.
I am in the process of making this and cutting and folding them out for me just dosent work to great so i made some graph paper so it helps me cut faster :D
I love this! But I have a question, using the same concept and steps, could you do the same thing with whole/ half sheets of paper and make a huge swan?
krysteanuh (author)  Keira_Yagami4 years ago
Yes, of course! I've seen it done, it's VERY time consuming, but VERY awesome! If you do it, post pictures!!
azuro4 years ago
Good Work! I am Making this! Please Make More of these!
When I was young, many children waiting for the school bus would take chewing gum wrappers they had saved and fold them in a similar manner and make paper chains. Great attention to details.
=34 years ago
Just pointing out, these exact same instructions are on
And the design for the little paper modules is the same as chasz's Golden Venture folding instructable.
krysteanuh (author)  =34 years ago
Actually, my instructions differ from the one on your website. I use an entirely different design, with a bottom base stand, different tail design, and different number of pieces for each layer. In addition, their design uses 500 pieces while mine uses 200.
There are only so many ways to make the paper modules. It comes as no surprise that my instructions are the same as Chasz's.
Many things have been done by other people already. I'm glad you shared it here as I would have never seen it otherwise. This is always my first stop. Sometimes people will make mention of similar sites ahead of time so then you cover your bases by making a comparison and that you made your design to be easier to make and enjoy. Great Job!
=3 krysteanuh4 years ago
Oh, I see. xD And it's not my site. :P But I see where you're coming from.
i know what I am doing tomorrow!(:
Lettucehead4 years ago
This is AMAZIN!! Great job!!!
kathrynl4 years ago
Wow, this is amazing. Well done!
scoochmaroo4 years ago
um, WOW
Biggsy4 years ago
This is ABSOLUTELY fantastic! Well done... It's well out of my skill range... but I would *LOVE* to see more!

High five for you!