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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 24, 2021

8 Smart Home Gadgets You Need in Your House

8 Smart Home Gadgets You Need in Your House

We’ve all done it. We’ve gone out and bought useless gadgets that we don’t really need, just because they seemed really cool at the time. Then, we are stuck with a bunch of junk, and end up tossing it or trying to sell it on Ebay.

On the other hand, there are some pretty awesome tech inventions that are actually useful. For instance, many of the latest home gadgets do some of your work for you, from adjusting the home thermostat to locking your front door. And, if used as designed, these tools should really help to make your life a lot easier—and that’s not just a claim from some infomercial trying to sell you yet another useless gadget.

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Take a look at some of the most popular “smart gadgets” on the market:

1. Smart Door Locks

A smart lock lets you lock and unlock your doors by using your smartphone, a special key fob, or biometrics. These locks are keyless, and much more difficult for intruders to break into, making your home a lot safer. You can even use a special app to let people into your home if you are not there to greet them.

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2. Smart Kitchen Tools

Wouldn’t you just love to have a pot of coffee waiting for you when you get home from work? What about a “smart pan” that tells you exactly when you need to flip that omelet? From meat thermometers to kitchen scales, you’ll find a variety of “smart” gadgets designed to make culinary geeks salivate.

3. Mini Home Speaker Play:1

If you love big sound, but hate how much space big speakers take up, and if you want a stereo system that is no bigger than your fist, check out the Play:1 mini speaker. All you have to do is plug it in, connect, and then you can stream without worrying about any interruptions or interface. You can even add onto it, and have different music playing in different rooms.

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4. Wi-Fi Security Cameras

These are the latest in home security, and they connect to the Wi-Fi in your home. You can use your mobile devices to monitor what is going on in your home at all times, no matter where you are. Options include motion sensors, two-way audio, and different recording options.

5. Nest Thermostat

This is a thermostat that lives with you. It can sense seasonal changes, temperature changes, etc., and it will adjust itself automatically. You will never have to fiddle with a thermostat dial or keypad again, because this one basically does all of the work for you. It can also help you to save as much as 12% on heating bills, and 15% on cooling bills.

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6. Smart Lighting

Control your home lighting from your remote device. This is great if you are out and want to make sure that there are some lights on. It is designed to be energy efficient, so it will pay for itself over time because you won’t have to spend so much on your monthly energy bills.

7. Google Chromecast Ultra

Whether you love movies, television shows, music, etc., you can stream it all using Google Chromecast Ultra. Stream all of the entertainment you love in up to 4K UHD and HDR, for just $69 monthly.

8. Canary

This home security system will automatically contact emergency services when they are needed. This system offers both video and audio surveillance, so there will be evidence if there are any break-ins on your property. You can also use it to check up on what’s happening at home when you are not there, including to make sure the kids are doing their homework.

Featured photo credit: Karolina via kaboompics.com

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