Origami Water Lily

origami water lily

This origami water lily is a traditional model – this means that it has been around for so long that no one knows who invented it. You would think that such a flower would be dead easy to make given that it has been around for who knows how long. Not necessarily so. This model consists of three blintz folds (easy) and an inversion (not easy). The inversion part is tricky and you have to do it four times! Are you up to the challenge? Let’s see how well you fare with this origami water lily.



Instructions for Origami Water Lily

origami water lily

Step 1:

Start with a square sheet of paper with the white-side facing up.

Fold the paper in half (top to bottom) and unfold. Fold in half again (left to right) and unfold. This gives you an “+” shaped crease.

origami flower

Step 2:

Do the first blintz fold. A blintz fold is when you fold the four corners of the paper to the center of the paper.

origami flower

Step 3:

Perform a second blintz fold: fold the four corners to the middle again.

origami flower

Step 4:

Turn the model over.

origami flower

Step 5:

Perform the third blintz fold: fold all four corners to the middle. Here, the paper is getting a bit thick so take care to make crisp folds.

origami flower
The next few steps are for making the petals.

Step 6:

Partially unfold the two top flaps.

origami flower
From behind, lift and invert the flap of paper so it comes forward.


origami flower
It helps if you run your finger nails along the dotted line. This will guide the paper during the inversion.

origami flower
Bring the two flaps back down. Do this by pulling the two corners together.

origami water lily
In transition…

origami water lily
…done. Turn the model quarter turn clockwise and repeat.

origami water lily
Work on the second petal.

Step 7:

Partially unfold the top two flaps.

origami water lily
Fold up and around a flap of paper from behind towards the front.


origami water lily
Bring the two flaps back down by pulling the two corners together.

origami water lily
In transition…

origami water lily
Second petal is done! Rotate the model quarter turn clockwise and keep going.

origami water lily
Let’s work on the third petal.

Step 8:

Partially unfold.


origami water lily
Invert the paper from behind towards the front.

origami water lily
Bring the two corners together.

origami water lily
Almost there…

origami water lily
done. Quarter turn clockwise to make the last petal.

origami water lily

Step 9:

Unfold slightly,…

origami water lily
Invert layer of paper from behind to the front,…

origami water lily
Bring all 4 points together.

origami water lily

Step 10:

Wait, you’re not quite done yet! Turn the model over.

origami water lily

Step 11:

Peel back the paper as far out as it will go. These will be the second tier of petals.

origami water lily

Step 12:

Turn the model over again.

origami water lily
Top view (left) and side view (right).

origami water lily origami water lily There’s a lot you can do with this origami water lily.

origami water lily origami water lily Left: You can pull the petals up towards the sky so the flower looks more like a bowl rather than a plate.

Below: You can also curl the various flaps so they appear more like curled petals.

origami water lily

  • First panel shows flower right after it has been made.
  • Second panel shows the inner petals molded so they are round and curvaceous.
  • Third panel shows the outer petals after they have have been twirled around a pencil or a wooden skewer.
  • Last panel shows the tips at the center of the model folded up.

origami water lily

In the flower above, I used harmony paper. Harmony paper is origami paper which changes color as it extends from the center to the edges of the paper. This gives the water lily different colors: white for the outer layer of petals, green for the main petals, and blue for the central core.

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