Introduction: How to Make a Secret Message Origami Balloon

This set of instructions will teach you how to create an origami balloon with a special secret message inside. My mom taught me how to make these when I was little, and I'm not the best do-it-yourselfer around, so rest assured this is a really simple project. I'm a big fan of anything homemade, especially little cards and notes, and there's really nothing like the forgotten art of the written word. Tired of Hallmark? This secret message balloon is a perfectly unique replacement for a short, but sweet card for a loved one.

Here's what you'll need:

  • A piece of paper
  • Scissors
  • A marker
  • Your hands!

NOTE: The bigger the piece of paper, the bigger the balloon. I used wrapping paper for this example. Print on the outside and white on the inside makes it easier to see your message. If you choose to use wrapping paper, you may have to fight with it a little to get it to stay flat.

Step 1: If You Don't Have a Square Piece of Paper...

NOTE: If you already have a square piece of paper, skip this step.

I think some of you might know how to turn a rectangular piece of paper into a square, but if not...

a. Take any corner of your paper and fold it to the opposite side, making sure the edges of the paper are aligned. You should be looking at a rectangle and a large folded triangle.

b. Use your scissors to cut the rectangle off.

c. When you open up the folded paper, you have yourself a square piece of paper to work with.

Step 2: Fold Into a Triangle Both Ways

Next, you are going to fold your paper into a triangle two times to make an X-shaped crease going through the entire square.

a. Take a corner and fold it over to the opposite corner. Press flat to sharpen the crease.

b. Open the piece of paper.

c. Take the other corner and fold it over to its opposite corner, again pressing it flat.

d. You should now have an X-shaped crease from corner-to-corner.

Step 3: Write Your Message

a. Make sure that the paper is being held like an inverted pyramid.

b. In the middle of the X, where the creases intersect, use your marker to write a message.

Step 4: Flip Over and Pinch Into a Star

Here, make sure you pay attention to which side your paper is facing.

a. Flip your paper over. It should now look like a regular ol' pyramid.

b. Pinch your fingers on either side of one of the creases, and push the creases into the middle.

c. Fold the paper, pressing it flat with your hands, so you have a triangle with no visible creases.

Step 5: Fold Into a Diamond

a. Take the bottom corner of your paper and fold it to the top point of the triangle.

b. Repeat with the other corner.

c. Flip the paper over and repeat parts a & b so you end up with a diamond shape.

NOTE: Remember to keep pressing the paper flat with your hand so the creases are nice and sharp!

Step 6: Fold Outer Corner of Diamond Into the Middle

a. Take the outer corners of the diamond and fold them so that the point is just touching the middle crease.

NOTE: Please see the shape of the paper in the above photos.

Step 7: Tuck the Loose Corners Into Pockets

Okay, here is where it can get kind of tricky.

a. Take the lose corners at the top points of the shape.

b. Tuck them into the little pockets from the previous fold.

c. Press it flat with your hand.

NOTE: In the last photo, you can see that the corners I tucked in didn't fit completely inside the pockets, so don't worry if it doesn't look perfect.

Step 8: Blow Up Your Balloon

a. Fold the shape you currently have so that the pockets you just made cannot be seen. It's much easier to blow it up when it's oriented this way.

b. On one end of the shape there should be a small opening. Gently blow into it with your mouth.

c. And you have your blown up balloon!

Step 9: See Your Message

After you've blown up your balloon, you can always deflate it again for future use without changing its shape.

Happy Paper-Making!