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!

Step 1: Materials

The most important thing you  need?
  • Paper! (A4 size, 7 or so sheets for this 'ible)
Now, of course, paper varies. You can use anything from pages of a magazine, notebook paper, useless flyers, etc. The biggest concern is the texture and thickness of your paper. Generally speaking, glossy paper (like magazine pages) will tend to slip more and won't necessarily stay together. If you're using glossy paper, I'd recommend using some kind of adhesive, like glue. Matte paper, like computer paper, tends to stay together well. Another concern is thickness; if your paper is too thick, it won't stay together. If it's too thin, it will rip easily

For this Instructable, I'll be using regular white computer paper, with colored paper to accent certain areas.

  • Glue/Mod Podge - Though this style of origami doesn't require any glue whatsoever, glue helps keep weaker structures together (like the neck), as well as glossier papers (like magazine covers).
  • Scissors - You can cut the paper with scissors if you'd like. I'm used to creasing and ripping them, but scissors are far more accurate and probably won't result in torn-off pieces.
<p>Very Well.</p>
Hw's it!
<p>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! :)</p>
<p>yay I'm finally done</p>
<p>Thanks for the instructions...I managed to make it in my first try!!! For a beginner that was AMAZING!!!!!</p><p>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....</p><p>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. </p>
<p>I made it in 4 hours and 42 minutes!</p><p>Not bad for a first try, eh? :-)</p>
Swear I never thought of stacking them before using them. I always have trouble since the pockets weren't open but this helps!
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!<br>
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!
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<br>
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?
Yes, of course! I've seen it done, it's VERY time consuming, but VERY awesome! If you do it, post pictures!!
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.
Just pointing out, these exact same instructions are on <br>www.origami-resource-center.com<br>And the design for the little paper modules is the same as chasz's Golden Venture folding instructable.
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. <br>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. <br>
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!
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!(:
This is AMAZIN!! Great job!!!
Wow, this is amazing. Well done!
um, WOW
This is ABSOLUTELY fantastic! Well done... It's well out of my skill range... but I would *LOVE* to see more!<br><br>High five for you!
I choose the gifts from myloveedhardy.com. It&rsquo;s really a good choice.
I choose the gifts from myloveedhardy.com. It&rsquo;s really a good choice.

About This Instructable


170 favorites


Bio: Salutations! I am a Finance major and origami enthusiast.
More by krysteanuh: Modular Origami | Mini Feathered-Tail Peacock | 139 Pieces Modular Origami | Mini Winged Swan | 181 Pieces "14 Carrot Gold" Soup
Add instructable to: