Introduction: Color Changing Bidirectional Tube

About: The BYU Compliant Mechanisms Research Group (CMR) involves students and faculty who strive to make an impact by creating compliant mechanism theories and applications that are novel, used by others, and make a…

This pattern has been studied extensively with initial studies by S. Guest, S. Pellegrino, and B. Kresling. The color changing version was shown by origami artists Tomoko Fuse and Robert Lang.

Variations of the pattern has also been used in origami-based engineering applications by researchers at BYU. To learn more, visit or look at the following citations.

Technical Information

For in-depth technical information, see the following publications:

Butler, Jared, et al. "Highly compressible origami bellows for harsh environments." ASME 2016 IDETC. ASME Digital Collection, 2016.

Sargent, B, et al. “An Origami-Based Medical Support System to Mitigate Flexible Shaft Buckling (in review)” ASME Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics, 2019.

Sargent, B, et al. “Deployable bellows for delivery of a flexible, elongate device and methods of use” US Patent US20190269885A1

To learn more about compliant mechanisms in general, see the BYU Compliant Mechanisms Research (CMR) website or these books: Compliant Mechanisms, Handbook of Compliant Mechanisms


Printer, Scissors

Optional: ruler, blunt object such as a ballpoint pen or stylist

Step 1: Print and Cut Out

Print or copy the fold pattern onto a piece of paper. Cut out the pattern.

Step 2: Optional- Prescore the Creases

Run over the creases with a blunt object like a ballpoint pen. This will help keep the folds crisp and along the lines and make things a lot easier when you move into the folding step.

Step 3: Fold

Fold along the lines. Dashed lines are valley folds, solid lines are mountain folds.

Step 4: Wrap Into a Tube

Wrap the pattern into a tube so the tabs along the left edge are laying on the right edge with the color side facing out. You can tape along the edge or use glue on the tabs to glue into the tube shape.

Step 5: Collapse the Tube

In this step, you are going to make sure all the folds you did earlier are working together. Once you make sure all the folds are going the right way (mountain and valley) you should be able to collapse the tube all the way flat into a small circular stack.

Step 6: Twist and Watch the Color Change

Now you should be able to twist the ends and by twisting in different directions, the pattern will change color!