Modular Origami




Make a stellated octahedron, a stellated icosahedron , or a simple cube using only paper.

Sorry for bad quality pictures!

Thanks to xavtek for the project cover.

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Step 1: Materials

All you need is paper.

Make sure you have several square pieces of the same size. If you are gonna make the cube, you need 6 pieces. For the octahedron, you need 12, and 30 for the icosahedron.

Also make sure you have a lot of patience and free time.

Step 2: The Module

This step is the same for the icosahedron, octahedron, or the cube.

Start with a single piece of square paper.

Fold it in half, and then open it again. Fold both ends of the paper so they reach the middle of the square. Turn the paper and fold the sides as seen in the picture. Please note: you can fold either the left side or right side down, but you have to make all of the modules the same, or you are gonna have problems setting up. Ok, then fold the remaining edges up and down, so you get a folded square again, with these edges coming out. Turn it around again to fold it diagonally and your module is ready.

Repeat this step 6 times for the cube, 12 times for the stellated octahedron, ans 30 times for the stellated icosahedron. You can fold more if you want, in case you get some trouble making the whole thing.

Step 3: Setting Up

After folding all the modules, you get to the part where you set up the real thing. It's simple, you are gonna basically put the tabs in the right pockets.

Take 3 modules and set them up as seen in the pictures.

Keep doing this, having in mind the form you want to achieve.

Check these links to have a deeper idea of what is a stellated icosahedron or octahedron:
Stellated Icosahedron on wikipedia
stellated octahedron on wikipedia

I don't have any strategy for setting up, I just keep going until it's finished.

Step 4: Colorful Patterns

Try making the modules with papers of different colors, you get nice results.

In the picture you see a stellated octahedron set up with 4 different colors.

Step 5: Done!!!

These polyhedra are excellent for decoration. They also make an incredible DIY present.

Please comment on my first instructable. I couldn't leave notes on the images, please someone tell me how =]

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    73 Discussions


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    oops... this was supposed to be the reply to jssxxjss' question... something went wrong


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Okay, so I know I'm late to the party in commenting on this and asking a question, but is this the same kind of star ball that can produce balls like this? I cannot find a tutorial on how to get a star ball like this anywhere, and it's driving me nuts. I just really like the points on this. It looks so clean and classy and still like a star. Please let me know, or if it isn't, where I can find that tutorial! I've searched this site and google for "origami star ball" "origami modular star ball" "modular star ball" etc.

    Thank you!


    8 years ago on Step 4

    I have done 5 times smaller size on the modular. it took forever to fold and put it together, but I lost it in the move. It was fun to do.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I love using Christmas cards (buy a bunch of boxes the day after Christmas for really cheap), cut the picture out in squares, make the units, make the 8 unit stellated octahedron, put a string on it and hang it on your Christmas tree.

    I bet these would be awesome folded in tracing paper as shown above, and pushed over the Christmas tree lights.... :)


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I used a different module but it folds to the same size in the end. I made mine out of tracing paper and then put an LED in it! Thank you for the inspiration. This instructable got me interested in finding out more and then making one. :D

    2 replies
    Blue Mist

    11 years ago on Step 2

    So sweet i used 16 instead of 12 but i couldnt do it and i got this it rules i may even post an instructable about it

    1 reply

    9 years ago on Introduction

    I've been making these for a good while now, and they are oh so much fun to do. 90 unit Dodecahedral especially. Just thought I'd post saying that your instructions are really good, and are a good way to help people get into it. Here's a Icosahedral I made today actually


    9 years ago on Step 2

    too hard to understand, make a video

    umm, it looks like this one wont, but you just have to find the right pocket. the other one is locking because u see the pocket. that's ur problem.


    10 years ago on Step 4

    There is also the 270-unit Buckyball, 210-unit Snub Dodecahedron and 135-unit Wreath of Cuboctahedra, 150-unit Snub Dodecahedron; 180 and 120-unit Rhombicosidodecahedra, 120-unit Icosidodecahedra, 90-unit Dodecahedra, 84-unit Truncated Octahedra, 60-unit Snub Cube, 60-unit Icosidodecahedron, 48-unit Rhombicuboctahedron, 48-unit Cuboctahedron, 42-unit Truncated Hexahedron, and finally, the 30 unit Icosahedron. And they are ALL made from the same module.