How to Make an Origami Magic Ball

Updated April 17, 2017

Origami is the traditional Japanese art of folding paper into intricate designs. The art takes years of practice to master. Origami magic balls, while using a limited number of folding techniques, require time and patience. These magic balls are made using only a single piece of paper, altered until it can be transformed into a sphere. They may be seen as magical due to their ability to be stretched and folded like the bellows of an accordion. The balls can be used as party decorations, ornaments or can be given away as handmade gifts.

Pre-crease the rectangular piece of paper into 16 by 32 small squares, also known as mountain folds. To fold the paper to achieve this number of creases, fold your paper in half, then fold it in half again and so on. You should fold your paper in half eight times to achieve 16 squares and 16 times to get 32 squares. To clarify, there should be 16 squares on the short side of the rectangle and 32 squares on the long side of the rectangle.

Create X's, or valley folded crosses, into two by two square blocks on one of the long edges of your rectangular piece of paper. By the end, you should have created 16 X's or crosses.

Fold 16 more X's, or valley crosses, on the row above the folds you just created, again using two by two square blocks. However, this time, shift the X's one square to the right.

Continue Steps 2 and 3 until the entire paper is filled with X's or valley crosses.

Use your thumbs to pinch the visible ridges that you just created, making indents within the X's and "crumpling" the paper. This technique is also called creating a "waterbomb base," which means you will be pushing all the small triangles you created in each square inward. You'll be able to stretch the paper back and forth like an accordion when you are finished. This part should go more quickly than the previous steps.

Bring the two shorter edges of the rectangular paper together and tape it on the inside. Stretch the paper into a ball-like shape. There should be two holes on the top and bottom.

Make the ball as skinny or fat as you like, using tape.


To avoid buying specially sized paper for the project, cut out or rip a rectangle from a standard sized paper into a piece that is in a ratio of 1 to 2. The intricate folds required for this project are easier to make with a larger piece of paper. Use a bone tool, or a thin object with a straight edge, to make your creases extra sharp. Give yourself plenty of time to create the preliminary folds and X's.

Things You'll Need

  • Rectangular piece of paper with a 1-by-2 ratio, such as 6-by-12 inches or 8-by-16 inches
  • Tape
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About the Author

Based in Washington, D.C., Lisa Anderson has been writing since 2006, specializing in lifestyle reporting and blogging, public-relations writing and formulating material for social-media websites. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in communications from Brigham Young University in April 2010. Anderson's writing specializes in current events, politics, fashion, home design, history and travel.