I have included a video and origami directions with descriptions of each step. I have also added a PDF of the diagrams.
Step 1: What You Need
You can use any paper that you like; origami paper, printer paper, tissue paper etc. I like shiny paper for making dragons, if you don't have any you can use the wrapper from a chocolate bar.
If you are not using origami paper or paper that is perfectly square you will need scissors to cut it.
Making a square
To make a square from a rectangular piece of paper, fold the bottom left corner up to meet the top edge and cut off the bit of paper that is left over (see images below).
Step 2: Bird Base: Crease Paper
To start out making the bird base it is always good to make creases so that subsequent folds are easier to make.
a) Place paper colour side down.
b) Fold bottom edge up to meet top edge, unfold.
c) Fold right edge over to meet the left edge, unfold.
d) Fold bottom left corner up to meet top right corner, unfold.
e) Fold bottom right corner to meet top left corner, unfold.
Tip: One of the keys to making great origami models is to be precise with your folding, making sure that the edges meet perfectly.
Step 3: Bird Base: From Square to Triangle to Square
The next few steps will take us to the "bird base" which is a precursor to a number of origami bird models (hence the name), but its not just limited to that, other models are derive from this base as well, such as my dragon.
(note each numbered step corresponds with an image).
Starting with an open sheet . Fold bottom right corner up to meet top left corner forming a triangle.
Fold the bottom left corner to meet the top right corner, bringing the dots together
forming a smaller triangle.
Open out the top flap and pressing down to form a square by
bringing the top right corner over to the top left corner ( the pink dots come together) and
the centre of the top edge (the yellow dot) becomes the lower left edge of a square.
Repeat step 3 on this side by bringing the top left corner over to the top right corner ( the pink dots come together) and the centre of the top edge (the yellow dot) becomes the lower right edge of a square.
Step 4: Bird Base: From the Square to a Bird Base
We continue on from this folded square to our bird base.
We are making creases again in this step.
- First of all, you need to make sure you have your square facing the right way, such that the corner on the right side can be opened up (its the corner with the pink dot from the previous step).
- Now fold the top tip and upper right edge down on an angle to the centre (yellow dashed) line.
- Then fold the bottom tip and lower right edge up to the centre (yellow dashed) line.
- Fold the left corner (now shaped like a triangle) to the left. See image below.
- Unfold. Your creases should look the same as in the picture.
- Flip the paper over and repeat on the other side.
Grab the top layer of paper from the right corner, and pull it towards the left, folding on the crease running vertically. Press the edges down so that they meet at the centre and fold where the creases were made.
We are repeating step 7 on the other side by pulling the left corner to the right
which opens it up and then press to fold on the creases
This forms our bird base.
Step 5: Beyond the Bird Base
From our bird base double check that it is pointing in the right direction. (see image 10 inset)
Fold the top right edge down and the bottom right edge up
so that they meet at the centre.
Take the right end flap that is underneath the one you just folded
and fold it to the left, by going around the back (follow the pink dot).
Fold the bottom right edge up along the horizontal centre line
so that it meets the top edge.
Fold that top corner down around the back folding along the centre to meet with
the bottom corner ( follow the pink dot).
Step 6: The Dragon Is Starting to Emerge
Hang in there, at the end of these next few steps we will see the neck, wings and tail of the dragon emerge.
Grab that left corner flap and fold along centre so that it meets the right corner
Fold the flap that is underneath on the left side and fold behind along the centre
so that it meets the right corner.
Fold the right flap up along the line indicated to form a right angle.
Repeat step 16 with the other right side flap by folding in behind.
Step 7: The Dragon's Neck
We will be forming the neck of the dragon in the next few steps.
Fold the bottom edge of the front flap(just the top layer) up to meet the top edge, and repeat with the bottom layer, folding around back.
Make a crease running along the same line as the front of the wing, by first folding the neck to the front and then around the back. Unfold.
Make a second crease down at an angle (see image) by folding the neck to the front and then around the back. Unfold
Hold the end of the neck and pull it downward so that it folds at each of the creases. The fold at crease 1 in image below is called a mountain fold, like an upside down V and the fold at crease 2 is a valley fold, like a V.
We need to make another crease to get the neck pointing upwards. So fold the neck up and to the front at the angle shown and repeat folding it to the back. Unfold.
To make this fold you will be turning the part above the crease inside out (see inset) and pressing down to fold at the crease you made in step 22.
Step 8: Dragon's Head
Next we will folding the dragons head. There are two options available to you, one is to have an open mouth, the other is to have a horn at the back of the head (these can be ears too).
About half way up the neck we need to make a crease. So fold the tip to the front at the angle shown in the picture. Then fold it to the back at the same spot. Unfold
The upper part of the neck will be folded inside out along the crease we made in step 24.
Now make a crease on the the end you just folded by folding to the front and then to the back on the angle shown. Unfold
27 Dragon horn/ears
Turn that end inside out and fold back along the top edge of what is to become the head.
28 Dragon mouth
Fold the end back downward and make another fold back at the point were it meets the neck.
Step 9: Dragon's Tail
The next few steps will create the dragon's tail.
Fold the tail back on itself (towards the body) about 1/3 of the way down the length of the tail.
Fold the tail out again on a fold that is slightly closer to the body than what you just did, such that it creates a zig-zag.
Repeat this on a spot 2/3 down the length of the tail, creating another zig-zag.
You can adjust the angles slightly on these folds so that it changes the direction of the tail, whether pointing downward (as shown), upward or straight.
Step 10: Dragon's Wings
The last step is the wings.
32 and 33
In this step we are not actually making any folds we are just shaping the wings with our fingers by gently curving it.
Again we are not making any folds just bending the paper in the shape we want.
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