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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 January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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