Fortune Boats




About: The V&A Museum in South Kensington, London is the world's greatest museum of art and design, with collections unrivalled in their scope and diversity. Discover 3000 years' worth of amazing artefacts, includi...
Follow this instructable by our HSBC Designer in Residence Lao Jianhua and make colourful fortune boats to celebrate the Chinese New Year.

You can read about Lao Jianhua's residency in his Blog:

Victoria & Albert Museum

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Step 1:

Take a square piece of coloured paper. If you want to, you can write a wish for the new year on one side. If your paper is only coloured on one side, make sure you write on the white side.

Step 2:

Place your paper coloured side down and fold it in half to make a triangle.

Step 3:

Unfold and repeat for the opposite side.

Step 4:

Using the previous lines as guides, fold in each of the corners. Repeat for each of the four corners until you form a smaller square.

Step 5:

Take each point and fold it in half inwards.

Step 6:

Fold the whole piece in half, with the folded pieces on the inside.

Step 7:

Fold each side back on itself. You should be able to see the edges of the triangles you made before forming smaller triangles on each of the corners.

Step 8:

Fold each of the four smaller triangles downwards.

Step 9:

Make two diagonal folds from the edges to the middle on each side.

Step 10:

You should now have a big shallow triangle on each side. Take the top point of each and fold it back to the flat edge.

Step 11:

Carefully turn the boat inside-out.

Step 12:

Lift the corners.

Step 13:

Give the final touches by pushing the bottom of the boat out with your fingers.

Step 14:

Ready for sailing!

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    19 Discussions


    2 years ago

    the instructor is nice and easy to do


    2 years ago

    these boats are actually known as sampan


    10 years ago on Step 11

    i failed epically with this.... you seriously consider a video cause that was kinda hard to understand......

    2 replies

    Reply 9 years ago on Step 11

    is pretty simple to do, hope you understand:

    -4th picture, if you are holding it with your thumbs you can see 2 mountains and 1 valley (as it looks in the picture). now pull it with your thumbs until the valley will become a mountain and the mountains will become valleys soryy I think i would be easier if i take some photos but I have no camera...(sad) Keep in mind English is not my first


    9 years ago on Introduction

     i love the lamp i think ill try something like that


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I failed the first time.... but now YaaY!!! I did it I used a regular printer page (A4 cut to a square) ... but I think to make better boats I'm gonaa have to use thinner pages next time The videos is awesome...and really helpful (compared to the other steps with pictures and text)

    1 reply

    Hi, thanks for your comment - yes, thinner paper is probably better. Yes, instructions that are in video form are easier to follow, aren't they!?


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Nice and easy and understandable this other dude tried but failed epically


    10 years ago on Introduction

    This beautiful piece has re-awakened a schoolboy interest I had....,thank you. :-)


    Thanks for all your comments!

    We thought you'd like to know that we have setup a new Flickr Group called ‘Clever Design Solutions’. The group is devoted to ingenious design solutions, professional or amateur, commercial or domestic: wherever you discover clever design, we want to see it. Or maybe you yourself have figured out a new and simple way of solving an old problem. Just capture a good image and add it to the pool! (please include a short explanation if needed).

    Anyone can take part in this project and no invites are needed to join or to add pictures. You only need to have a Flickr account.

    Lao Jianhua, our designer in residence, will be periodically selecting and reviewing the designs on his blog.

    Victoria and Albert Museum Webteam
    London, UK


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Nice! I've got a stack of origami paper sitting around, and that lamp looks great.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    This is cool. I used to be so into origami, I don't remember why I stopped it though. I should start again. It's fun.