Introduction: Modular Origami | Mini Feathered-Tail Peacock | 139 Pieces

About: Salutations! I am a Finance major and origami enthusiast.

3D Origami, Golden Venture Origami, Chinese Paperfolding, whatever you choose to call it, is an intensive form of origami which involves creating many pieces and assembling them together to create shapes, animals, flowers, and much more. To learn about the history, please see my first 3D origami guide.

The circle-tail peacock is the most ideal way to build a peacock in modular origami, because it allows for the full effect of the peacock tail. However, because it requires so many pieces to build such a tail, it can be quite daunting.

This is (yet another) simplified model of my own design. It scales down the size of the body, which tend to use the most pieces, while still including the impressive tail. Since it's no longer a full circle-tail, I have renamed it as the feathered-tail peacock. This model can be made in around 30 minutes.

This model requires 139 pieces. It is beginner to intermediate in terms of difficulty.

I will be using light blue units to denote white units, pink units to denote colored pieces, and green units to denote accent pieces.

Step 1: Materials Needed

To make this model, you will need:

  • 4 sheets of white 8.5” x 11” paper/A4 size paper, each cut into 32 pieces
  • 2 sheets of colored 8.5” x 11” paper/A4 size paper, each cut into 32 pieces
  • 1 quarter-sheet of [a different] colored 8.5” x 11” paper/A4 size paper, each cut into 8 pieces
  • Scissors (optional)
  • Glue (optional)
  • Mod Podge (optional)

Since this model only calls for (really) 3 sheets of colored paper, it should not be difficult to find. Be creative! Use old flyers, raid your office's copy room, etc. You only need 3 sheets, after all!

Step 2: Modular Origami Units 101 | Folding, Anatomy, and Stacking


  1. Start by folding the paper in half lengthwise.
  2. Fold it in half widthwise.
  3. Unfold the widthwise crease. This crease will be your median line.
  4. Now, take the left side and fold it diagonally, lining up with the median line.
  5. Take the right side and also fold it diagonally, lining up with the median line. You should now have a pentagon shape.
  6. Flip the unit over.
  7. Line up the bottoms of the sides with the slope of triangle and crease, creating a diamond shape.
  8. Tuck the top of the corners in under the central triangle.
  9. Bring the two corners up and fold the triangle in half.

Throughout this Instructable, I will be referencing certain parts of modular origami units. Above is a diagram with the parts labeled.

To store the units and keep track, I recommend stacking them in groups of 10. Stacking is useful because it allows you to open up the pockets beforehand—units that have opened pockets are more aesthetically pleasing and structurally-sound.

  1. Put the two points of one unit into the two pockets of another unit.
  2. Continue to do this until you have around 5 units.
  3. Then, take the units with unopened pockets and put them on the front of the stick, giving you a stack with units that all have opened pockets.
  4. After 10 units, switch the direction of the stack (invert the units).

Step 3: Base | 36 Units (36 White)

  1. Create 12 base triplets, and link them all together. A base triplet is comprised of three units, where the right point of one unit is inserted in the left pocket of another unit, and the right point of that unit is inserted in the left pocket of another unit.
  2. To link triplets together, take the two left points of the bottom units, and slot it into the right pockets of the upper units.

Step 4: Chest | 21 Units (13 White, 8 Colored)

We're going to be building up, but reducing the number of units by one with each tier.

  1. For the first tier, place two white units, two colored units, and two white units (6 total).
  2. On top of that, place one white unit, three colored units, and one white unit (5 total).
  3. Next, place one white unit, two colored units, and one white unit (4 total).
  4. Almost done! Place one white unit, one colored unit, and one white unit (3 total).
  5. Place two white units on top of that (2 total).
  6. Last step! Top it off with one white unit (1 total).

Step 5: Neck | 10 Units (8 White, 2 Colored)

  1. Take a white stick, and remove two units.
  2. Top of the stick with two colored units.
  3. Bend the stick gently, creating a curved shape for the neck.

Take the neck
, inverted, and place it on the topmost point of the chest.

Step 6: Tail | 17 Units (11 White, 6 Colored)


  1. Place four white pieces on the back of the swan.
  2. Place three white pieces on top of that.
  3. Place four colored pieces on top of that, using the left and right points form the first tier.
  4. Place three white pieces on top of your colored row.
  5. Place two colored pieces.
  6. Place one white piece.

Step 7: Feathered Tail | 55 Units (30 White, 16 Colored, 9 Accent)

Alright, THIS is the big step that will help your peacock ruffle its feathers! This is a little tricky, but it won't be too difficult!


  1. Make five white base triplets, but invert the first unit. Make four base triplets, with the first two units white and the last unit accent-colored.
  2. Take those triplets, and join them together, alternating white and accent pieces.
  3. From there, remove two units from the left side (as shown), and one unit from the right side (as shown). Remove two more units from the right side.
  4. Add on one white unit on each side, taking care to only use the left or right pocket.
  5. Add on another row of white (10 units).
  6. Add on a row of color (11 units).
  7. Add on an alternating row of accent and color. (5 accent units, 5 colored units).
  8. Congratz! You've made the tail. Place it right on top of the body (no need to slot it in anywhere).

Step 8: Finishing Touches


Here is where you can adjust your tail, add glue in pockets for security, etc!
You can also brush a thin layer of Mod Podge over the unit to give it a nice, glossy sheen!

Let me know if you have any questions at all! Feel free to post pictures of work-in-progress if you have any questions or just want to show it off! My Instructables do take quite a while to make (I make at least three models for each Instructable), so thank you so much for your patience!

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