How to Make Origamic Architecture Cards

Written by elizabeth hannigan
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How to Make Origamic Architecture Cards
Origami requires patience and concentration. (paper #5 image by stassad from

Origamic architecture cards are flat while folded closed, but when open reveal three-dimensional, cut-out buildings. This form of origami was invented in 1981 by Masahiro Chatani, professor emeritus at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. Chatani's origamic architecture creations include cathedrals, museums and even kanji symbols. They take hours to make and he designs them all himself. If you are new to origamic architecture, however, you can download a pattern or template for free from the Internet. Once you get used to how these cards are made, you can create designs of your own.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Thick, resume-type paper
  • Printer
  • X-acto knife
  • Cutting board
  • Ruler

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  1. 1

    Look at your printer's user's manual and confirm that you are capable of printing on thicker papers. Some basic printers can't do this and you will risk destroying your pattern and damaging your printer if you try. Thicker papers are better for origamic architecture because they are firmer, easier to cut and more durable. If you can't print on thick paper, however, you can still try on regular paper.

  2. 2

    Install Adobe Acrobat on your computer if you don't already have it. You'll need this free program to open the PDF files in which the origamic architecture patterns come.

  3. 3

    Load your thick paper into your printer as directed by the printer's user's manual.

  4. 4

    Download your favourite origamic architecture template from Willem's or Jagoda's origamic architecture sites. (See the Resources section of this article). You might want to pick a simpler model if it's your first try.

  5. 5

    Print your template in colour. It's important to print the template in colour because the templates are marked with black, red and blue lines that indicate where cuts must be made and where folds are made.

  6. 6

    Cut all of the black lines on the template with your X-acto knife and ruler. Place the template on the cutting board so you don't damage your table. Use the ruler to help you make straight cuts where necessary and slowly cut along all of the black lines on the template. Be careful not to pull on your paper or cut too fast because your model will be very fragile.

  7. 7

    Make convex folds along all of the red lines on your template and concave folds along all of the blue lines. Use the back of your X-acto knife to help you make straight creases if you need to.

  8. 8

    Fold your model in half. It should be a flat card when closed. Open your model and your new origamic architectural masterpiece should spring up.

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