Modular Origami Dragon by Namer




This will show you step by step, with photos( a million of the dang things) how to fold this dragon I designed. It may look complicated but trust me, if you can fold a crane you can make this easy. It only looks complicated. Due to time I had to assign multiple pictures to each. Sorry to all the non pro members out there. if enough people want it I will do a video tutorial on the dragon. Let me know what you think.If you have any questions let my know,I will try to answer them as best that i can. Cheers!...     I will post another instructable on this that will be easier for the non pro community members to use. Sorry guys, I had to do it this was to get everything done in time for the contest.


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Step 1: Gathering Supplies

  • This is going to be a busy project. To complete it you will need:

1.  Paper
                   -5 or 6 sheets of regular printer paper, (20lb - 24lb weight) 8.5x11 or type A4, it doesnt metter we will be cutting it.
                     The paper can be colored, or you can paint it when we are done :D
2. paper glue.
                  -Elmer makes an amazing craft bond that you can get at any decent art store. if you cannot get any then regular white glue will                       work fine. Wood glue works very well too but the dry time will be much longer.
3. Cutting tools,
                  -if you have a paper cutter then you are in luck, otherwise an exacto knife and a ruler will work. I definately do not recommed                     using scissors for this.
4. Spraypaint or Clearcoat 

Step 2: Lets Get Cutting and Folding!

you are going to need to cut your paper into small rectangles that are twice as wide as they are tall. For the dragon in the picture I used 2 inch by 1 inch rectangles. You will need about 120 of them, so go get cutting! I will be using a much larger piece for the primary demo to make it easier to see what i am doing.

Step 3: Completed Module

Good Job, you have finished your first modular unit. take note of the two flaps and the pocket in the picture below. Now go make about 120 more of them.

Step 4: Assembling Modules.

Assemble the modules by inserting the tabs into the pockets, as we go this will make more sense, but trust me, it is very simple. You add new modules on to what you are building.


Ok, so you have your modular units, and you have a mildy confused idea of how they go together. Good. The assembly will start making a whole lot more sense when you start doing it. :D 

 ok, lets start with the neck! Aseemble 9 units into a chain formation like below. The units I am using are left over from other projects, so they are all different colored. plus I think the different colored units makes it easier for you to see what i am doing!

Step 6: Starting the Body.

ok, lets change views and start on the hard part.

Step 7: Continuing the Body

Now we need to make a place to add the spikes while continuing the body construction.

Step 8: Hips and Tail

Now to start on the mounts for the rear legs and the tail.

Step 9: Here We Are So Far.

Your model should look something like this by now.

Step 10: Lets Make Some Legs

Now we are going to make the legs, you will need 26 units for this step.

Step 11: Folding the Feet and Horns.

This step shows you how to modify units to make the feet and horns. you will need 5 units for this step. Remember to save one of the claw units for the horns later!

Step 12: Making the Spike Unit

these are more modified units, i call them the spike units. You will need to make seven of them for this dragon. 4 for the back, 2 for the head, and one for the tip of the tail.

Step 13: Making the Horns and Assembling the Head.

Step 14: Finishing the Tail.

It is time to add a spike to the tail. You will need a claw unit for this. 

Step 15: Adding the Feet and Attaching the Legs and Spikes

Now we are going to add the feet to the legs (see i dint forget) and then attach the whole thing to the body. Remember, the front legs were slightly longer then the back legs. We will also attach the spikes to the back. i recommend using glue in all these steps unless you plan on gluing the ENTIRE model together,(see last step) A single drop on each connection point will do.

Step 16: Here We Are!

Your dragon is mostly done! you can paint it at this point or you can try to glue him together! To glue him beak him down into sections. i like to do head/neck, upper body, lower body, then tail and all the legs. take each section, disassemble it, add a drop of glue to the points of each unit, then reassemble IN ORDER. it is as tedious as it sounds. I know what you are thinking, why didn't we just glue it along the way? The paper stretched as you assemble the units, if we tried to glue it during the first build the paper would not assemble right, it would tear, and we would get glue everywhere. trust me on this, I have build dozens of these. See the pictures below for help. it may seem tedious but it doesn't take more then an hour. Put on a movie and relax while doing it.

1 Person Made This Project!


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23 Discussions


1 year ago

like this dragom alot m8


4 years ago on Introduction

Thank you so much for the clear and easy to follow instructions!


7 years ago on Introduction

I loved this one! :D Take a look at my attempt.. the colouring didn't really go all that good. It's my second attempt at Modular Origami, the first one being a swan.


7 years ago on Introduction

holy crap

that is an awesome origami dragon.

and the best tutorial for one.

thank u very much for this.

u r a oragami master. :D


7 years ago on Introduction

Great instructable!!!!!!! tried it, and here is my model, I posted it on Deviantart:


8 years ago on Introduction

Nice job on the idea but for the neck how many units do ya use u didnt say and how did u paint blak and red without it lookin like the paint cans exploded

1 reply

lol thats just a trick of the light. it is just a light coat of red paint, one is a half hearted manner. The color showing through makes it look black in this pick.
As for the number of units...... ummmmmmmm...... a bunch? yeah, that sounds about right. :D


7 years ago on Introduction

cutting the papers is easy but when it comes to folding it is so hard but when assembling it all it was SO EASY!!!, by the way thanks for sharing this


7 years ago on Introduction

This is actually a lot easier to make than it looks. It's not hard just time consuming. Folding all those papers takes a long time! By the time I was done my fingers hurt, but it was so worth it. Your an amazing person for thinking up something as cool as this! ^_^

(As soon as I paint mine I will get a picture posted.)


7 years ago on Step 3

omg 120 more how long did this take you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :( :)

1 reply

8 years ago on Step 14

You made a typo here saying: "stick on the clay unit. its that easy", nut did you mean to say claw unit?


Heres my finished attempt. I added some small wings on it. I ended up using 106 little rectangles, 3 sheets of paper, 5 hours and 100 ml of glue. I am also going to spray paint it gold when i get the chance and put eyes on it and maybe some fire coming out of its mouth.