Introduction: 3D Origami Blue Totoro


In this project you'll learn how to make a 3D origami Totoro. Totoro is a forest spirit that's featured in a Hayao Miyazaki film, My Neighbor Totoro. 3D origami is created by using pieces of paper to make a modular object. The pieces of paper are folded in a certain way so they have a shape of a triangle. This project is very time consuming and would take multiple hours to make.

List of Materials

  • 3 Sheets of white paper (8.5 x 11 in)
    • Creates 79 triangle pieces
  • 7 Sheets of light blue paper (8.5 x 11 in)
    • Creates 223 triangle pieces
  • Scissors or paper trimmer
  • Glue stick (Optional)
  • 2 Googly eyes
  • Super glue

Step 1: Preparing the Paper

Our first step is to create the triangle pieces.

  1. Have a sheet of paper facing you so that the width is greater than the length.
  2. Next fold the paper in half vertically twice so that you’ll have four columns.
  3. Then you’ll have to create 8 rows. So fold it three times in half horizontally. There should be four columns and eight rows now. Which would give us 32 rectangular blocks.
  4. Note: you can fold the sheet of paper anyway you like as long as you end up with 8 rows and 4 columns. Now we’ll cut out each block by using a paper trimmer or scissors. Each sheet creates 32 triangle pieces so make enough rectangular blocks until you create 223 blue rectangles and 79 white rectangles.

Step 2: Folding the Triangles

  1. Orient the paper so that the length is longer than the width.
  2. Fold it in half horizontally
  3. Fold it in half vertically
  4. Unfold it and fold one side to the crease in the middle

5) Repeat it with the other side

6) Flip the paper and rotate it 180 degrees

7) Fold both corners in.

8) Fold the two flaps we just created inwards

9) Fold the paper in half vertically

10) Repeat until you finish folding all the triangles

Step 3: Creating the Base

1. When creating the origami, have 20 white triangles with the flaps point upwards. We’ll add the pieces layer by layer.

2. Have two white triangles next to each other and insert a blue triangle so that all three pieces are connected. The flaps of the white triangle will go into the holes of the blue one. The blue one would flipped in the opposite direction. All pieces from the 2nd layer and up are in this direction.

a. (OPTIONAL) Every time you insert a piece, add glue to the flaps to help support the object. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

b. Note: The base is the hardest part. It’s the most unstable so have a lot of patience to try and make everything stick together. Grab a friend to help you if the pieces keep coming apart

3. Place a white triangle next to one of the white ones and insert a blue piece so that all the pieces are connected. Repeat this step 10 times. You should end up having 12 blue pieces on the second layer.

4. Repeat step 3 except this time you’ll use all white pieces and you’ll only repeat this step 7 times.

5. You should have a small circle of pieces. Now connect the two ends and place a white piece on it so that it forms a circle.

Step 4: Creating Totoro

1. Follow the table above to finish making Totoro. For example In the 3nd layer you’ll need 11 blue pieces, and 9 white ones. All the white pieces should be grouped next to each other. The white pieces would be used to create the belly

2. After finishing the fifth layer, fold the entire thing inward so it looks like one of the pictures

3. For the 7th layer. Around the belly area you'll have one white piece followed by one blue piece. Repeat this until you're out of white pieces.

4. After finishing the head, make the ears. Find a position on the head that’s symmetric on both sides to place the ears. The ears are from layer 15 and up. Note since there's two ears. Each ear should be create using 10 pieces

a. The ears are created by having the pieces stack on each other. It should be 2-2-1-2-2-1.

5. Then add glue on two blue pieces and stick them on the body in between the other pieces for the arms.

a. You can add the arms anywhere you like but try to make it symmetrical

6. Add super glue to the googly eyes and place it on Totoro. Try to make it as symmetrical as possible.