Introduction: Modular Origami

Picture of Modular Origami

Make a stellated octahedron, a stellated icosahedron , or a simple cube using only paper.

Sorry for bad quality pictures!

Thanks to xavtek for the project cover.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

All you need is paper.

Make sure you have several square pieces of the same size. If you are gonna make the cube, you need 6 pieces. For the octahedron, you need 12, and 30 for the icosahedron.

Also make sure you have a lot of patience and free time.

Step 2: The Module

Picture of The Module

This step is the same for the icosahedron, octahedron, or the cube.

Start with a single piece of square paper.

Fold it in half, and then open it again. Fold both ends of the paper so they reach the middle of the square. Turn the paper and fold the sides as seen in the picture. Please note: you can fold either the left side or right side down, but you have to make all of the modules the same, or you are gonna have problems setting up. Ok, then fold the remaining edges up and down, so you get a folded square again, with these edges coming out. Turn it around again to fold it diagonally and your module is ready.

Repeat this step 6 times for the cube, 12 times for the stellated octahedron, ans 30 times for the stellated icosahedron. You can fold more if you want, in case you get some trouble making the whole thing.

Step 3: Setting Up

Picture of Setting Up

After folding all the modules, you get to the part where you set up the real thing. It's simple, you are gonna basically put the tabs in the right pockets.

Take 3 modules and set them up as seen in the pictures.

Keep doing this, having in mind the form you want to achieve.

Check these links to have a deeper idea of what is a stellated icosahedron or octahedron:
Stellated Icosahedron on wikipedia
stellated octahedron on wikipedia

I don't have any strategy for setting up, I just keep going until it's finished.

Step 4: Colorful Patterns

Picture of Colorful Patterns

Try making the modules with papers of different colors, you get nice results.

In the picture you see a stellated octahedron set up with 4 different colors.

Step 5: Done!!!

These polyhedra are excellent for decoration. They also make an incredible DIY present.

Please comment on my first instructable. I couldn't leave notes on the images, please someone tell me how =]


Diaphane (author)2013-12-14

I'm not sure but think this could be it:
(tutorial is on page 2)
Or take a look ot this page:
some of them seem to look like yours.

Diaphane (author)Diaphane2013-12-14

oops... this was supposed to be the reply to jssxxjss' question... something went wrong

jssxxjss (author)2013-12-11

Okay, so I know I'm late to the party in commenting on this and asking a question, but is this the same kind of star ball that can produce balls like this? I cannot find a tutorial on how to get a star ball like this anywhere, and it's driving me nuts. I just really like the points on this. It looks so clean and classy and still like a star. Please let me know, or if it isn't, where I can find that tutorial! I've searched this site and google for "origami star ball" "origami modular star ball" "modular star ball" etc.

Thank you!

andiesasser (author)2011-10-09

I have done 5 times smaller size on the modular. it took forever to fold and put it together, but I lost it in the move. It was fun to do.

PuzzleJenn (author)2011-08-27

I love using Christmas cards (buy a bunch of boxes the day after Christmas for really cheap), cut the picture out in squares, make the units, make the 8 unit stellated octahedron, put a string on it and hang it on your Christmas tree.

I bet these would be awesome folded in tracing paper as shown above, and pushed over the Christmas tree lights.... :)

joel263 (author)2011-08-24

i cant see shir

jaredarm (author)2008-12-08

I used a different module but it folds to the same size in the end. I made mine out of tracing paper and then put an LED in it! Thank you for the inspiration. This instructable got me interested in finding out more and then making one. :D

yvettedq (author)jaredarm2011-02-18

yeah really? it sure looks very polished...

ohhhhh I love the LED inside idea.

dragon0305 (author)2010-12-16

Everyone i know how to make this so if you have any quetions ask me

Runnynose12 (author)dragon03052011-01-25

can you use notebook paper if i were 2 cut them all the same size???

dragon0305 (author)Runnynose122011-01-25

The paper has to be square

Blue Mist (author)2008-11-15

So sweet i used 16 instead of 12 but i couldnt do it and i got this it rules i may even post an instructable about it

Runnynose12 (author)Blue Mist2011-01-25

nice job looks like a book lol

HALOPLAYER101 (author)2010-12-18

Where can u buy origami pieces of paper?

kog103 (author)2010-09-04

I've been making these for a good while now, and they are oh so much fun to do. 90 unit Dodecahedral especially. Just thought I'd post saying that your instructions are really good, and are a good way to help people get into it. Here's a Icosahedral I made today actually

gertth (author)2010-07-16

too hard to understand, make a video

MasterOfNone (author)2009-04-06

Nice job on your Instructable. A slightly different module, along with video instructions, may be found I like the module at the linked site better because it locks together (unless I messed up following your instructions).

umm, it looks like this one wont, but you just have to find the right pocket. the other one is locking because u see the pocket. that's ur problem.

BraisedDuck (author)2009-06-20

There is also the 270-unit Buckyball, 210-unit Snub Dodecahedron and 135-unit Wreath of Cuboctahedra, 150-unit Snub Dodecahedron; 180 and 120-unit Rhombicosidodecahedra, 120-unit Icosidodecahedra, 90-unit Dodecahedra, 84-unit Truncated Octahedra, 60-unit Snub Cube, 60-unit Icosidodecahedron, 48-unit Rhombicuboctahedron, 48-unit Cuboctahedron, 42-unit Truncated Hexahedron, and finally, the 30 unit Icosahedron. And they are ALL made from the same module.

 You can also take 3 and make a hexahedron, it's like a smashed square type pyramid

origamianything (author)2009-11-14

Hey. You can make an even BIGGER (yes, i said bigger) ball with about 270 pieces of paper. A.K.A. the epcot ball. The one that's like a buckyball, with 12 pentagons and lots of hexagons. try making it by putting together a pentagon, then surround it with 2 lines of hexagons and add s'more pentagons. be careful though, because if it's put together wrong, it won't close up.

awsome_guy27 (author)2008-07-16

Your Instructable is amasing. I love origami, but I do think you could have been a little bit more specific in step three on how to finish it. I would tell you how to put notes on if I could but I just joined and don't know how either.

yer i no wat u mean it says to clik n drag on the pic but it doesnt work.... : ( any way i have a programe with origami in it and this specific design is in it and i cant find all the steps so it doesnt make sense to me so thankyou for completing the steps for me... :D

pskim333 (author)2009-04-15

I used this module for the basis of my final project (in architecture school). Ultimately it was the "mistakes" that were made in previous comments that became the most useful models.

urbosssez (author)2008-05-18

sooo awesome! here are mine

Pixel_Master (author)urbosssez2008-06-22

Can someone please send me a video on how to put together those things in the post I replyed to? Cuz mine turned out to be more of a "Stelated and leaning to the left side Cylinder" than these. :(

Check out this website for a video:

one thing to remember is that the biggest one has five points and one hole between them all that helped me out i hope it helps you out too


your welcome put a picture up when your finsh so i could see it

deeifrost (author)2009-03-21

I finally made it!!! thanks for this Instructable, I just finished my icosahedron. First I made the octahedron, but I didn't really like how it looks, so I went for something bigger. (and I'm glad of It, 'cause it's pretty cool) I also used different module, but the final shape is exactly the same, and you were right, there's no strategy for setting it up, it's just a matter of time and patience.

ceciliaa (author)2008-11-29

nossa muito muito bom seu trabalho consegui fazer sem quebrar muito a cabeça so paciencia mesmo *-* valeu (y)

fatking (author)2008-11-28

lol i've made the boxes b4 and i made like 11 wif different sized paper and i put the smaller ones into the bigger ones... i would post a pic of all my boxes but i lost them ages ago and forgot how to make the boxes... thanx for this instructable =]

jonathan111 (author)2007-10-06


ive bult the boxes before

UchihaFan123 (author)2008-02-09

too hard 2 connect make a video

bowow0807 (author)UchihaFan1232008-05-17


darius3 (author)2008-02-24

I like very much this kind of sonobe modul...3papers A4 and you can realise something really atracttive ...great job indeed!Thanks!

UchihaFan123 (author)2008-02-11

i olny know how 2 make da cube

UchihaFan123 (author)2008-02-09

da pics r 2 blurry

unbentcrayfish (author)2008-02-07

redo the pictures, they are hard to see what you realy did...

Braeburn (author)2008-01-17

I made a 30 unit stellated isoscahedron and an inverted 12 piece stellated octahedron

hixair (author)2007-03-04

Hi ! thanks for that awesome instructable : i use to do a lot of these younger. It's great to find back the way to make them. i did that one yesterday :

guilerms (author)hixair2007-03-25

I see some printed stuff near the down-rightest vertex, =P

I love the picture you took.

guilerms (author)guilerms2007-03-25

Do you mind if I use it for the prject cover?

hixair (author)guilerms2008-01-04

sorry, it took so long, you can use my pic as a cover for the project of course ! i would be glad if you do :)

karossii (author)2007-11-05

your pictures are all out of focus, making it hard to follow!

smilgy (author)2007-10-28

i am only able to make the cube :(

LCSoccer5 (author)2007-07-24

It took me awhile to figure out how to put the modules together but after eyeballing it and seeing how I want it to be shaped like, I got it to work. Thanks for the great instructible, I'm gonna try making a bigger one later!

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