Make a Flying Origami Dragon!

If you love dragons and you like and have the patience to fold origami, then you will love this project. This is an experimental origami dragon that you can create and mess with to make it fly for a short distance. I have experimented many times with this project, and would like the community to experiment with it as well so we can make it fly farther and straighter than before. The body of the dragon is heavy after folding, so the dragon tends to not fly very far until it is cut. This is my first Instructable I have made, and I hope it will be fun for the community.

Before You Start: You will likely need most or all of the the photos to help guide you through the folding process. Some of the steps can be challenging, especially for beginners or people who are not familiar with origami.

Supplies:

All the supplies you need are:

  • A sheet of square paper
  • Scissors
  • Paper clips (optional)
  • Glue, preferably a glue stick (optional)

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Step 1: Start Folding Your Dragon

Start with a simple piece of square paper. The lighter the paper is, the better the dragon will fly at the end. In this example, I used a piece of standard printer paper. If you are using printer paper like I did in these photos, make sure you cut the paper into a square before you start folding your dragon.

Once you have your square paper, you are ready to start folding. Make sure your paper is oriented like the photo shown above. Start with a horizontal fold towards the bottom of the paper, as seen above.

Next, fold that paper to the left. It should form a thick triangle with two layers. Once you have done this step, unfold the top layer and make it stand up vertically, as in the picture shown.

Once your layer is standing up, open the layer that is standing up. Note: Be careful when opening this layer, as the bottom layer could unfold with it. Once the top layer is completely opened, flatten the entire layer down into a diamond shape. Once complete, the paper should currently look like a diamond with a sideways "tail", as seen in the picture above.

Step 2: Continue Folding Your Dragon

The next step in the folding process is to flip the paper over. Then, using the flap that extends from the diamond, repeat the last step you did in the project by opening the top flap and flattening it once again into a diamond shape.

The next couple steps are the trickiest in the folding process, and can take some time and practice. The first part of this fold is to fold the top and side flaps of the sides of the diamond inwards, as shown. These flaps will produce a crease that will help you in the next fold.

Unfold these flaps when you are done. When you are ready, open up the top flap of the diamond. Now perform a petal fold; in other words, fold inwards along the crease that you made earlier, then flatten it.

Turn your paper over, and repeat this fold with the other side of your paper.

Step 3: Fold the Head and Tail of Your Dragon

Now that you have finished your petal folds, we can make the head and tail of the dragon. Let's start with the head.

Take the bottom left side of your paper, and perform an inside reverse fold-in other words, fold the paper up towards the center of your paper. Note: The head should be in between the two layers of the paper, not on the other side of the dragon's body. Make the head extend out and slightly upwards.

Repeat the inside reverse fold with the tail of the dragon, except that the tail should be sticking straight out, unlike the head which is at an angle.

Step 4: Finishing Touches on Your Origami Dragon

The last couple steps to folding are to shape the dragon's head and tail. As in the picture above, hold the neck with one hand and push the head of the dragon down until you see an arrow-like shape. Then flatten the head to shape it. Repeat this process wit the dragon's tail, with the only difference being that the tail's fold is smaller than the head's. Fold the wings horizontally so they are even.

Once this is done, get a pair of scissors and cut an arc in the back, legs, and neck of the dragon to reduce its weight. You can also cut the wings of the dragon slightly so that they have a design/fly better. Note: If you cut off too much from the dragon's wings, the layers in the wings may separate. If this occurs, use a glue stick to glue them back together. If the only glue type that is is available is bottled glue, wait until the wings are completely dry to fly your dragon.

You are finished! If you want to decorate or experiment with the dragon to make it fly farther, go ahead!

Some tips to make it fly farther are:

  • Weight. Sometimes if the weight of the dragon is uneven, paper clips will help to balance it while in flight.
  • Wing length and shape. Bigger wings are better, and a wing shape that is aerodynamic and allows for lift works better.
  • Shape of the dragon. If the dragon is not very aerodynamic, it will not fly far.
  • Angle of wings and the strength of your throw. For me, the dragon flies the farthest when its wings are angled slightly upwards, and if the throw is relatively light.

I hope you have fun making and experimenting with this dragon!!

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