How to Make Origami Soccer Balls

An origami soccer ball is made from black and white folded paper shapes. It is composed of 12 black pentagons and 20 white hexagons. The shapes are arranged in a regular pattern by interlocking the individual pieces. You can make an origami soccer ball in various sizes depending on the size of the paper squares that you begin with. You can also make the soccer ball out of any two colours, not only white and black.

Fold a rectangle of black paper in half, short side to short side. The paper should measure 4 by 6 inches. Crease well.

Place the paper so the open edge is at the top. Fold only the top layer of the upper right corner of the rectangle down past the folded edge. Fold it so that the crease formed starts at the upper left corner and ends at the folded edge on the lower right corner.

Fold the same corner that now juts past the lower folded edge back up to form a small triangular flap whose bottom edge lines up with the folded lower edge of the rectangle formed in Step 1. Now you have a rectangular model with a large triangular flap whose lower point folds back up to form a smaller triangular flap.

Notice the left side of the rectangle has a triangular area that is not covered by the triangular flaps. Turn the paper over and fold this uncovered triangular area toward the middle.

Turn the paper back over and unfold the large triangular flap you created in Step 2. The small triangular flap will now be tucked inside the paper.

Notice the upper right corner of the paper has a triangular area not covered by the flaps. Turn the paper over and fold this uncovered area toward the middle. Now you have a parallelogram.

Turn the paper back over. It should not have any flaps showing. Now the paper is a diamond shape with a crease running horizontally through the middle. Unfold the top layer of the upper half of the paper along the centre crease. You should see a small triangular flap on the lower right half of the paper now.

Fold the lower left edge to line up with the horizontal centre crease. This creates another triangular flap. Crease well and unfold. Repeat for the lower right edge. Crease and unfold.

Fold the right point of the diamond toward the middle so that you make a crease from the top point of the diamond to the right end of the first crease in Step 8. Crease and unfold.

Fold the left point of the diamond toward the middle so that you make a crease from the top point of the diamond to the left end of the second crease in Step 8. Crease and unfold. Notice that the last two creases, along with the horizontal middle crease and the two sides of the lower point of the paper, form a pentagon. This is the pentagon shape that will show on the soccer ball surface.

Turn the paper over so that the pentagon is at the top. You should see a triangular flap at the top left and at the bottom right. Fold it in half from bottom to top along the horizontal crease. Tucked inside the paper are the two triangular flaps that now face each other. Tuck these flaps inside each other to hold the paper closed. Tuck the triangular flap on the back of the paper inside and over the middle layer. Tuck it into the pocket formed by the other two flaps.

Turn the paper over so you can see the pentagonal shape outlined by creases. There will be a triangular flap on two sides of the pentagon. Fold the point of one flap to the corner of the pentagon nearest the flap's open edge. Crease well and unfold.

Open the creased flap slightly and tuck the point inside along the creases you just made. Flatten it inside the paper. This is called squash folding. Fold the other triangle's point to the nearest open-edged corner of the pentagon and squash fold it inside the paper. Now you have the pentagon shape for your soccer ball with two blunt flaps sticking out from it. On the sides with no flaps there are pockets. Make 12 of these pentagons.

Position an equilateral triangle of white paper in front of you with one point up and a straight side on the bottom. Each side of the triangle should measure 6 5/8 inches per side. Fold the top point down to the middle of the bottom straight side. This fold creates a smaller equilateral triangle flap. Crease the fold.

Fold the bottom point of the small triangular flap back to the upper right corner of the crease you formed in the previous step. This fold divides the flap exactly in half. Crease into place.

Repeat for the other two points of the large triangle. Overlap the resulting flaps on top of each other. Tuck the third flap under the edge of the first one and flatten the paper. The edges of each flap should divide the angles of the paper in two and meet in the middle.

Fold each point of the paper to the middle point where the flap edges meet. Crease well. Now you have a hexagonal shape with three triangular flaps on the back. Unfold the flaps slightly to make them stand out from the hexagon. On the sides with no flaps there are pockets. Make 20 of these hexagons.

Hold a black pentagon in one hand and a white hexagon in the other so that the flaps stick up toward you. Insert a flap of the white piece into a pocket of the black piece.

Continue adding white pieces by inserting flaps into the black piece's three pockets. On the two sides of the black piece that have flaps, insert the flaps of the black piece into pockets on additional white pieces. Now you have a black pentagon surrounded by five white hexagons. Insert flaps into pockets between the white pieces.

Add another black piece into the angle formed by two adjacent white pieces. Surround it with additional white pieces by inserting flaps into pockets. Each white piece will be connected to three different black pieces. The black pieces will connect to alternate sides of the white piece. Each black piece will be surrounded by five white pieces.

Repeat Step 3 until you form a soccer ball and you have no more pieces left. If you encounter a situation in which a white flap meets a black flap, open the black flap slightly, tuck it inside itself, and squash fold it to form a pocket for the white flap. When all the pieces are connected in this manner, your soccer ball is finished.


Tape the pieces together inside the soccer ball as you build it for stability.

Things You'll Need

  • 12 rectangles of black origami paper, 4 by 6 inches
  • 20 equilateral triangles of white origami paper, 6 5/8 inches per side
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About the Author

Karren Doll Tolliver holds a Bachelor of English from Mississippi University for Women and a CELTA teaching certificate from Akcent Language School in Prague. Also a photographer, she records adventures by camera, combining photos with journals in her blogs. Her latest book, "A Travel for Taste: Germany," was published in 2015.