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5 Cute Japanese Origami Ideas For Beginners

5 Cute Japanese Origami Ideas For Beginners

Origami, or the art of paper folding, originated in China around 100 BC and migrated to Japan several hundred years later. The word “origami” is in fact a Japanese word that literally translates to “folding paper.” Origami is sometimes confused with another Japanese paper art, kirigami, which means “cutting paper.” Contemporary origami crafts often incorporate traditional origami and kirigami methods.

Whether strictly traditional or a fusion of several paper-crafting methods, origami is the perfect craft for anyone. From cute animals to home décor, the possibilities with origami are endless. All you need is some paper, your hands, and your imagination.

Helpful Origami Tips for Beginners

If you’re just beginning with origami, keep these tips in mind to make beautiful crafts in no time.

1. Choose papers with interesting prints

Origami paper, known as “kami” in Japanese, comes in a wide variety of beautiful, unique prints in perfectly square shapes. Traditional origami paper sets often include several sizes of paper in a mix of bright and subdued colors, floral and geometrical motifs, and metallic-accented prints. Choosing a stunning print can mask small errors in folding and will make you look like a pro. Be sure to practice with regular paper first to save your budget.

Tip: If you don’t want to buy special paper, make your own unique patterns by drawing on a solid color paper before folding. Or, print origami patterns at home. Origami Way offers free downloadable origami prints, inspired by traditional kami.

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2. Follow origami instructions carefully

Most origami instructions come in diagram or video form. Be sure to carefully read or watch these instructions, as skipping even the smallest step can affect your origami result.

Tip: Use the three-step instruction method. Read the instructions one time, focusing on the steps without trying to fold anything yet. Then read them again, using your hands to fold an imaginary piece of paper. For the third reading, follow along with the instructions by folding a real piece of paper. You’ll be surprised how easy it is!

3. Use a tool to help you fold

Origami projects look much better when the creases are sharp. Sharp folds make it easier to bend the paper into the correct shape, allow the paper to hold its shape longer, and provide an overall cleaner look. You can always use your thumbnail to press firmly and create sharp folds, but having a tool handy will keep your thumb from getting sore.

Tip: A plastic ruler, credit card, or letter opener work well as folding tools. Test these tools out on a small part of the paper first to make sure it doesn’t scratch the pattern surface or tear the paper.

4. Practice, practice, practice. Don’t be afraid to mess up

Like any other art form, origami takes patience and practice to master. Don’t be discouraged if your third, fourth, or even tenth attempt isn’t quite perfect. You’ll get there! Origami-Fun offers a beautiful and apt metaphor for the origami learning process: “The mind needs time to be folded as if it were the paper.”

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Tip: Practicing origami is a great exercise in mindfulness and meditation. Take the time to fold your mind, and the paper will follow.

5. Watch tutorials

The more you read, watch, and practice, the better your origami crafts will become. Videos are especially helpful tools for learning the art of origami.

5 Easy Origami Ideas for Beginners

Here are five of the best origami projects for beginners. Watch the tutorials below, and get started on your paper masterpieces!

Origami Rabbits


These origami rabbits are extremely simple, taking only six folds to make. Draw on your rabbit’s face with a permanent marker, or add pom-poms, pipe cleaners, and googly eyes for a more crafty feel.

View step-by-step origami rabbit instructions from Tinkerlab.

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Origami Jumping Frogs


These origami jumping frogs are slightly more difficult than the rabbits, as they have a more advanced center fold. With a little practice, though, anyone can master these frogs. The best part is that they “jump” when you press down on them!

View step-by-step origami jumping frog instructions from Easy Peasy and Fun.

Origami Envelope


This easy origami envelope is a perfect homemade touch to any gift. Just fold a series of triangles, and secure the last fold with glue if you plan to include heavy items.

View step-by-step origami envelope instructions from Instructables

Origami Crane


The crane is the most traditional and recognizable origami shape. Japanese legend holds that if you fold 1,000 paper cranes, your wish will come. The paper crane has become a worldwide symbol of hope and peace, thanks in part to the moving children’s story Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes.
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View step-by-step origami crane instructions from Origami-Fun.

Origami Rings

These origami rings are surprisingly easy to make and are a cute way to show off your new origami skills. For a fancier feel, try making the metallic origami rings from Zakka Life.

View step-by-step origami ring instructions from Origami Resource Center.

Love crafts? Check out these awesome holiday-themed DIY crafts for Valentine’s Day and crafts for Thanksgiving.

Featured photo credit: Sheila Sund via flickr.com

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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