Traditional Origami Dragonfly

Traditional Origami Dragonfly

traditional dragonfly

This is a traditional dragonfly developed so long ago that no one remembers who first invented it. Indeed, in the first book published about recreational origami, Kayaragusa (Window on Midwinter, 1845), there are instructions on how to fold a dragonfly. Thus, it would seem that dragonflies are prominent aspects of ancient Japanese culture as much as cranes and frogs.

Although this design may be old, it is not necessarily easy. There are 20 steps and you start with the Preliminary Base.

Instructions for Traditional Dragonfly

traditional dragonfly

Step 1:

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

Fold and unfold in half along the diagonals in both directions to get an X crease mark.

traditional dragonfly

Step 2:

Turn the paper over. Fold in half from left to right. Unfold.

traditional dragonfly

Step 3:

Fold the paper in half top to bottom.

traditional dragonfly

Step 4:

Push the left and right upper corners of the paper towards one another. At the same time, allow the top layer to come towards you (red dot).

traditional dragonfly

Keep pushing in and allowing the point (red dot) to lift up.

traditional dragonfly
Swivel the front flap of paper towards the right. There should be a similar flap of paper behind the model, fold this one towards the left. This is called a Preliminary Base and it is the foundation to many great origami pieces.

traditional dragonfly

Step 5:

Fold the bottom-left and bottom-right edges of the paper towards the center to meet with the vertical crease line.

traditional dragonfly

Step 6:

Fold the top part of the model downwards as shown.

traditional dragonfly

Step 7:

Unfold the last 3 moves bringing the model back to the preliminary base.

traditional dragonfly

Step 8:

Lift the top layer of paper upwards.

traditional dragonfly
In transition.

traditional dragonfly
Turn the model over.

traditional dragonfly

Step 9:

Repeat steps 5 & 8 on this side of the model. Start by folding in the left and right edges of the model towards the center.

traditional dragonfly
Unfold

traditional dragonfly

Step 10:

Lift the top layer of paper.

traditional dragonfly
Step 11:

This is how the model will look like after you’ve lifted the flap up completely. It is called a Bird Base.

Fold up the bottom flaps so they point towards the sides

traditional dragonfly
Unfold

traditional dragonfly

Step 12:

This step is tricky: swivel the top-right flap towards the left.

traditional dragonfly
Refold the bottom flap like in step 11.

traditional dragonfly
Bring the top flap back towards the right. Allow it to rest on top of the model.

traditional dragonfly

Step 13:

Repeat step 12 on the left side: first, swivel the top-left flap towards the right.

traditional dragonfly
Refold the bottom flap as you did in step 11.

traditional dragonfly

Finally, bring the top-flap back towards the left. This flap should rest ontop of the model.

traditional dragonfly

This is how it looks like when done correctly.

traditional dragonfly

Step 14:

Make the body of the dragonfly more narrow by folding in the sides of the paper so the edges meet in the middle.

traditional dragonfly

You will need to squash the paper at the arrowheads so the wings will stay flat. Try to squash evenly and symmetrically.

traditional dragonfly

Turn over.

traditional dragonfly

Step 15:

Repeat the narrowing processing with the bottom part of the model. Fold the edges in towards the center.

traditional dragonfly

Press down and squash evenly to keep the wings flat.

traditional dragonfly

Step 16:

Fold the entire model in half and rotate quarter turn.

traditional dragonfly

Step 17:

Time to make the head of the traditional dragonfly. First, fold the pointed flap down as shown.

traditional dragonfly

Step 18:

Make an Outside Reverse Fold. To do this, unfold the previous step and….

origami dragonfly

Pry open the two layers of paper. Redo the fold made in step 17 but make it a mountain fold.

origami dragonfly

origami dragonfly

origami dragonfly

Step 19:

Rotate the model so you are looking at it face-on. Fold the tip of the paper up. Fold up again and again until the paper is small enough to be a head of a dragonfly.

origami dragonfly

Step 20:

Fold the wings down so they are perpendicular to the body. Cut the wings in half to give the traditional dragonfly 4 wings.

origami dragonfly

Traditional Dragonfly is Done!

traditional dragonfly

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