How to Fold an Origami Five-Point Star Pattern

    by Sophie Johnson

    About the Author

    Sophie Johnson is a freelance writer and editor of both print and film media. A freelancer for more than 20 years, Johnson has had the opportunity to cover topics ranging from construction to music to celebrity interviews.


    Origami is a paper-folding art that originated in Japan. Special sheets of origami paper, often printed with beautiful colors and patterns, are folded into sculptures ranging from simple boxes to complex representations of animals. Traditionally, origami figures are created only through folding, with no cuts into the paper. Modular origami is a subset of traditional origami, using multiple sheets of paper to create repetitions of the same form and then interlocking those to create one larger form. This origami five-point star pattern is an example of modular origami, using five identical forms to create the star. As you work, refer to the Resources section for help with folding terminology.

    Things You'll Need

    • Five sheets of square origami paper, each sheet having a front and back of two different colors, preferably with the bottom side white
    • Three paper clips (optional)

    Place your first origami sheet color side down. Fold the paper in half from bottom to top with a valley crease, creating a rectangle.

    Fold the left side over to meet the right side with a valley crease.

    Unfold the figure, white side up. Your folds have left the shape of a cross behind.

    Fold the right top corner down so that the corner point meets the center of the cross.

    Fold the bottom left corner up so that the corner point meets the center of the cross.

    Fold the bottom right corner backward in a mountain fold so that the corner point meets the center of the cross on the other side of the paper. Make sure your paper is oriented so that the top half is still on top. At this point, the bottom half of your paper is shaped like a triangle and the top half has a dog-eared right side.

    Fold the properly oriented top half of the paper down over the bottom half. This results in a shape that is square on the left side and triangular on the right with a crease between the two sides.

    Fold the left side bottom corner under in a mountain crease to create one large triangle. The base of the triangle will be at the top and a crease will run down the center to the point on the bottom.

    Unfold the two triangles in the back. You'll end up with a rectangle with a center crease consisting of two equal squares separated by a crease. You have completed your first of five forms.

    Repeat steps 1 through 9 on four other sheets of origami paper.

    Examine one of the forms. You will see that, because of the way the form is folded, both the front and back of the form have a different-colored triangle on one side. Notice that wherever there is a different-colored triangle, there is also a triangle pocket abutting it. Together, the triangle and triangle pocket form a square within the larger rectangular form.

    Place two forms at right angles to one another. Arrange them in an L-shape so that the form making the bottom of the L has its different-colored triangle at the top. Meanwhile, the form creating the vertical part of the L will also have a different-colored triangle at the top. If you peek beneath the bottom right side of the vertical form, you will find another different-colored triangle.

    Slide the form that makes the vertical part of the L down over the form serving as the base. As you slide, the (hidden) different-colored triangle will cover the different-colored triangle on the base. Continue sliding so that the (hidden) different-colored triangle and the base's different-colored triangle tuck into one another's pockets.

    Make sure your two forms are properly interlocked: Looking at the top of your interlocked shape, you should see only one remaining different-colored triangle. If you flip the interlocked form over, you will see there is only one different-colored triangle on the underside, as well.

    Make another interlocked L-shape, using two more of the forms.

    Make sure your new square form is properly interlocked on three of the square's four corners.

    Place the form flat on your folding surface, with the unjoined corner on the lower left side. Hold down the square's right side with the flat of your right hand.

    Grasp the lower left corner of the left side of the square with your left hand, then slide it up and to the right so that the upper left corner pops up to form a triangular sail. Until you master folding the star, clip the sail so that it stays folded.

    Clip the other two joined, flat corners so that they stay interlocked. Looking at the form from above, you still should see a square.

    Interlock the fifth unused form into the larger square you have been building using the same method as before, sliding a (hidden) different-colored triangle over another different-colored triangle and tucking in corners. You have to perform two joinings to close the form completely.

    Remove the clips.

    Sharpen the folds to get the star shape. Do this carefully so that each interlocked corner forms one point of the star. The fold radiating from each of the five points to the center should be a mountain fold, while the folds radiating to the center in between the points should be valley creases.

    • Read the directions once through before starting.
    • Make the folds exact.
    • Make each fold as sharp as possible.
    • It may take several tries to get the star right.

    Photo Credits

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