Icosahedron Modular Origami




Create your own nerdy icosahedron with some simple modular origami. Ok, technically it's not "origami" origami because the units are made of rectangle pieces of paper but if you call it origami I won't hold it against you :)

It can take awhile to fold all the units for this little guy but I think the end product is worth it. 

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Step 1: Materials

To make an icosahedron ornament, gather these things:
-5 sheets of green origami paper
-5 sheets of red origami paper
-5 sheets of gold origami paper
-something to hang the ornament with such as some string, a paperclip, or an ornament hook

I used smaller origami paper that was about 3"x3" and it made a model about the size of a bulb Christmas ornament. 

Step 2: The Paper

Fold a piece of paper in half, then unfold. Use the crease line as your guide to cut the paper in half. Repeat on the other 14 pieces of paper.

It can be a little tedious but when you get something that looks like the last photo then meet me at the next step. 

Step 3: Folding the Unit

Phew! Glad you made it, the real fun is about to start. 

Fold the strip in half. Now fold the open end of the flap to meet to folded end as shown in the second picture. Repeat on the reverse side, as picture 3 shows. 

NOTE: To make the colored side (red) show, the units should be folded the same way as the pictures. 

Step 4: Folding the Unit Cont.

Orient the paper so that the folded edge is on the left side, like a book. pull down the top right corner and line so that the corner points to the crease line you made in the last step. Crease! Fold the crease you just made over to meet the crease on the left side so that you get something that looks like picture 3.

Flip the paper over and make the same two folds on this side. Fold down the upper right corner again so that the corner points to the crease line. Fold this over to meet the edge.

Step 5:

Orient the paper as shown in the first picture. You'll see a triangle, noted in the first picture. Fold this triangle in half so it looks like the second picture. Fold the excess paper behind the unit. Flip over and repeat on the reverse side. You'll end up with the unit shown in picture 4 which just so happens to be a completed unit!

Make 29 more units (this could take awhile). 

Step 6: Start Connecting Em

Start the icosahedron by connecting 5 units together. To do this:
-open the middle slit on a gold unit and insert a green one
-insert a red one into the green one
-insert another gold one into the red one
-insert another green one into the gold one
-connect the flap of the first gold one into the green one you just added so that all 5 units are connected as shown in the last picture

This may sound a little complicated but if you look at the units you can tell how they are supposed to be connected and it's really not that complicated. 

Step 7:

Now add more units. You'll know which ones to add because each triangular face has one of each color. Each point of the model will be 5 units meeting up. If you do get stuck then you can look at the pictures and video but if you just remember that each face has the 3 colors you should be fine. 

Put a thread, paperclip, or ornament hook through the model if you want to hang it and admire you're beautiful icosahedron. 

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15 Discussions


Tip 1 year ago on Step 2

In step two its much easyer to use a guilotine than to cut all the pieces by hand.

I saved myself about 30mis id say...


2 years ago

To anyone who is struggling with step 6, I found this YouTube video to be helpful. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7qE_Tc8e4g&index=2&list=PLF68C48227A0E2CD3


3 years ago

Ahhhh. finally figured it out, you have to open them much farther than i originally thought


3 years ago

step 6 is very very unclear


Step 6 doesn't make sense at all. I've been trying for hours but still couldn't connect the pieces.

Easy Model to make and very nice hold when put together. I recommend this modular model to any beginner as a first big project.


6 years ago on Step 5

yeah correct it like forever like it never ends


7 years ago on Introduction

Somebody's got to ask this, so it might as well be me...

Can you make this out of LEGO?


1 reply

That looks awesome! I love putting together little puzzles and this looks like it would be a lot of fun to put together.

1 reply

Thanks. I love little puzzles too and I guess assembling these kind be a bit like that haha. You should totally make one and post pictures. I'll be posting more models like this soon :)

Thank you much. I try to include videos on all my project and this one was a must because the spinning ornament was so mesmerizing