The Post-it Peacock




Introduction: The Post-it Peacock

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

Got a lot of Post-its? Need a new paperweight? Just have too much time at the office doing nothing?

If you answered yes to any of these three questions, the Post-it Peacock could be for you!

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.

3D Origami is notorious for its time-consuming nature. Sculptures can require thousands of pieces, like this 1300-piece peacock made by a blind man. But some of us just don’t have that kind of time, energy, patience, or amount of colored paper!

This sculpture only requires 122 pieces total, and is a great beginner sculpture. 122 pieces can be folded easily in under an hour (for me, it takes just 30 minutes!), and the materials are easily obtained in any office or stationary aisle.

Note: In this Instructable, as like my others, I will use white paper to denote when a step has ended so the colors do not distract.

Step 1: Ingredients

To make this sculpture, you will need:
  • 35 blue Post-it notes (makes 70 pieces)
  • 18 green Post-it notes (makes 35 pieces)
  • 9 yellow Post-it notes (makes 17 pieces)
  • Glue (to secure some weak spots and prevent breakage)
Super Optional:
  • Mod Podge (to give a nice, shiny finish)
Post-it notes are relatively cheap; you can most likely purchase them for $1 a pack (or swipe them for free in your office supply room!). I managed to get 10 packs for $6! Woo, affordable art!

In every pack of Post-it notes, there are approximately 90 notes, so you could make multiple peacocks from your three Post-it packs!

Step 2: A Note About Post-it Notes (ha)

Post-it notes have a very slight sheen to them, moreso than plain computer paper. You honestly wouldn’t notice it unless you’ve worked with both types of paper extensively, but it’s enough to create a bit of a slide when you’re putting pieces together. This becomes a slight problem because it makes your sculpture less sturdy, and thus can fall apart more easily.

To combat this, we first increase the size of the triangle pieces. The measurement of the initial piece of paper which you will later fold into a unit, is elongated to the maximum length. I will discuss this more in the step, Folding Pieces.

In addition, Post-it notes have a sticky side. Thus when folding pieces, fold the paper in such a way to cover it up. This makes the piece usable.

Despite these very minor issues, Post-it notes provide the most affordable way to create colorful origami sculptures on a small scale. They also offer a wide range of bright colors, allowing you to use a variety of shades without spending a small fortune.  I myself started out making colored sculptures using Post-it notes; colored paper can be expensive and can usually only be purchased in bulk.

Step 3: Prepare.

To create the rectangle shape needed to fold the pieces, we must cut them from the Post-it notes, which are square. Basically, you'll be separating the Post-its in half.

This is very simple and does not require any measuring. I find it easiest to keep the Post-its on the stack.
  1. Take the bottom of the note and line it up with the top (where the Post-it notes are held together).
  2. Crease.
  3. Rip.
  4. Peel the remaining note off the stack and repeat.
You can also use scissors to cut the pieces instead of ripping them.

Step 4: Fold.

Pieces folded from a half-square are more secure during assembly. This is because there is no risk of the piece unraveling because of the excess paper.

As mentioned before, this the maximum length that a piece can be folded with. Because of the excess paper, we have to change how the triangle is folded to make up for it.
The instructions are as follows. The pictures should help you understand them more.
  1. Hold the rectangle sticky-side up (if applicable).
  2. Fold the rectangle in half lengthwise.  
  3. The sticky side should be enclosed (if applicable).
  4. Fold the rectangle in half widthwise.
  5. Unfold the rectangle widthwise.
  6. You should now have a skinny rectangle with a crease down the middle. Take one half and fold it along the middle to make a 90 degree angle.
  7. Fold the other half along the middle, so that you have a pentagon shape. Make sure that the two sides meet and that there are no gaps.
  8. Flip the piece over so you have a triangle and two squares.
  9. Tuck the squares in so that they become two triangles.
  10. Fold the two triangles up.
  11. Fold the triangle in half.
  12. Complete!

Step 5: Stack.

Stacking pieces allows you to organize them and keep track of how many you’ve folded. In addition, it also opens up the pockets, which makes the sculpture more secure and stronger.

Each triangle has two pockets and two points. So, to stack these pieces, slide two points from one triangle into the two pockets of another triangle, and repeat.

Since these triangles are so large, I like to stack them in groups of 10.

Step 6: Gluing to Secure

Gluing isnot a necessary step. In fact, your peacock should stay together just fine without it. However, if you are clumsy like I am, gluing pieces keeps weak areas together and prevents that awkward moment when someone’s checking out your handiwork and the neck falls off.

The two weakest points on the peacock are the neck and the tail. The wings are also relatively weak. 

To add glue to a triangle, hold it so that the opened pockets are facing you. Squeeze a tiny dot of glue into each of the pockets and place as usual. Once it dries, it will be very sturdy. 

However, please be aware that if you place a triangle in the wrong spot, this will make it next to impossible to remove

I have added glue checkpoints in the instructions so that you know when to glue pieces down. 

Step 7: Putting It Together - the Body (56 Blue Triangles)

Bases are made by combining pairs of triangles. Because Post-it textures are different from computer paper textures, instead of putting them in pairs to build the base, we have to make triplets.

How does this work? Take triangle 1. Slide the right point into the left pocket of triangle 2. Take triangle 3, and put the right point of triangle 2 into triangle 3's left pocket. Huzzah! Triplet!

Put together 14 triplets. 

Then, start linking them together to create the body. Basically, you'll want to slot the triplets together so that they are all on the same level. The left pockets of a triplet should slot into the right points of another triplet. Continue until you use all your triplets, then connect them in a ring.

Finally, top off the base with one row of triangles

Step 8: Putting It Together - the Chest (9 Yellow Triangles)

To make the chest of the peacock, remove three pieces from the top layer, then two pieces from the next layer, and one piece from the next layer. This will create an empty area that resembles an inverted triangle.
  1. Fill in this cavity with yellow triangles.
  2. Add two yellow triangles on top of the three.
  3. Add one more yellow triangle on top of that.
This should create a diamond shape, which is the chest of the peacock.

To finish it, outline the yellow with the blue pieces you removed earlier. The top should have two triangles, not one.

Step 9: Putting It Together - the Wings (6 Blue Triangles)

This is a tiny detail that will make your sculpture look more like a peacock.

Hold your peacock so that the chest is facing away from you.

Glue checkpoint! You may want to glue the wings down to keep them from flying away (badum, tch).
  1. Place two blue triangles on each side of the chest. It should be inverted from the front.
  2. Place one more blue triangle on top of the two blue triangles.

Step 10: Building Up: Increasing Number of Triangles Per Row

The tail is probably the most complex part of the entire sculpture and introduces a new method of placing triangles.

The way 3D origami works is that you can create pyramid-like structures by building up. However, you can also create inverted triangle-like structures by building up as well.

Peacock feathers fan out when they’re open. To create a similar effect, we will build up the tail to look like an inverted triangle. We do this by using only one pocket of a triangle instead of two. Don't worry though, this will only be used on the ends of the rows. 

Step 11: Putting It Together - the Tail (35 Green Triangles + 7 Yellow Triangles)

Oy vey! Here comes the hardest, and most fun part!
  1. Tier one:Place six green triangles onto the body, facing inverted. (Glue checkpoint! If you don’t glue your tail down, it will fall off)
  2. Tier two:On the first triangle on the far left, slide the left pocket of agreen triangle onto the left point. Do not slide anything into the right pocket of the triangle
  3. Add a yellow triangle onto the next two points. Then, alternate green triangle, yellow triangle, green triangle, yellow triangle. You should be left with one point.
  4. Slide the right pocket of a green triangle onto the leftover point. Do not slide the left pocket of the triangle onto anything.
You have successfully added on your first two tail layers! You’re going to do the same thing again for the next two rows. So,
  1. Tier three: Slide the left pocket of a green triangle onto the left point of the second-tier triangle. Fill the row in with more green triangles.
  2. End the row by sliding the right pocket of a green triangle onto the right point of the second-tier triangle.
  3. Tier four: Slide the left pocket of the green triangle onto the left point of the third-tier triangle. Alternate green and yellow triangles until there is one point on the end. Slide the right pocket of a green triangle onto the point.
You’re done with tail expanding! Yay!
  1. Tier five:Ignore one point on the fourth level, and place a green triangle
  2. Add six more green triangles.
  3. Add the final green triangle for the row, which should sit on a yellow point and a green point.
  4. Tier six: Ignore one point on the fifth tier, and place a green triangle.
  5. Skip two points, add a triangle. Repeat two more times. The top row should have four triangles.

Step 12: Putting It Together - the Neck (8 Blue Triangles + 1 Yellow Triangle)

Ah, the final touch! Take your last stack of blue triangles and pop a yellow one on there.

Glue checkpoint! The neck is probably the most vulnerable part of the peacock. Prevent decapitation with some glue.

Go back to the chest of the peacock, and slide the two pockets of the neck onto the two innermost points of the top of the chest.

Step 13: Shine It & Admire

You can choose to add a glossy sheen to your peacock for a final touch.
Take a brush and cover your peacock in Mod Podge. Allow to dry overnight.
This is totally optional, and I usually don’t  cover my sculptures in Mod Podge, but it adds a nice finish if you have some handy.

Sit back and admire your handiwork! You’ve got a new, handmade paperweight!

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    9 years ago on Introduction

    Can you make a video? It was hard to get the part where you add more tiers.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Congratulations on the win. Your peacock is awesome! The next slow day at work I’ll try and build it.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Loved your last 3d origami instructable. Ended up making 5 and only 1 was for me.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    this is cool! i've made 4 swans out of 250 pieces each a while ago, but using post it notes is a good idea


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks! And I totally get you, it's so easy to make the 250-piece swans even though folding takes forever. I have an entire box full of swans in my house! Drives my parents crazy, haha.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    haha! you must have the patience of no other.. i endeavored on this project this summer and i almost died from a boredom induced coma. :D at least they look cool!


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    haha! you must have the patience of no other.. i endeavored on this project this summer and i almost died from a boredom induced coma. :D at least they look cool!


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Haha thanks! I thought it would add a little quirky flair :)

    Such amazing directions! I just love how you put what you had already done in white and what you were doing in color. Makes it so easy to follow along :D


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Haha thanks! I actually originally took photos without doing the white, and it was absolutely impossible to decipher which layer was which. I'll definitely be using this method from now on! :)


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Love this! Wish I had some post-its! I want to make a ton of these--great work! :)