Anyone who has been on a cruise or stayed at a resort hotel knows they'll often be greeted each night by a towel sculpture made for them by the housekeeping staff. Towel sculptures are a form of fabric origami in which a towel is folded, rolled and shaped into a recognisable form. Folded towels often take the shape of animals, such as snails and elephants. You can fold towel sculptures for special house guests or to surprise your family members.
Spread a full-size towel out horizontally on a flat surface. Fold the upper corners of the towel downward and toward the centre, creating a large triangle shape.
Roll the right side of the triangle inward toward the centre. Roll the left side inward to meet the first side in the centre. Lay the towel aside for later.
Spread out another full-size towel, and fold it in half horizontally along the long edges. Position the towel so the folded side is the closest to you. Fold the right and left sides inward until they meet in the centre.
Roll the towel starting at the folded edge until it resembles a cylinder. This is the snail's shell. Place the shell on top of the other towel you folded previously. Make sure the loose end of the shell is facing downward.
Fold up the pointed end of the first towel, balancing it slightly on the shell. Curve its end to look like a snail head.
Spread a full-size towel out on a flat surface. Roll the two short sides inward until they meet in the centre. Turn the shape over so that the centre seam is facing downward. Fold the towel in half, horizontally so the centre seam is now on the outside.
Stand the towel shape upright so the folded edge points upward. This represents the elephant's legs.
Spread out a hand towel horizontally. Fold the two top corners of the long side down and inward toward the centre. Roll the folded ends inward until they meet. You should have one long point at one end of the shape and two loose points at the other.
Arrange the shape so the centre seam faces downward. Roll the long point inward to form a curved elephant trunk. Fluff out the other two points to represent ears.
Place the elephant head on top of the legs to finish the sculpture.
Lay pieces of torn paper on top of the towel to represent eyes or nostrils. Put sunglasses on the animal's face to create a fun look.
Tips and warnings
- Lay pieces of torn paper on top of the towel to represent eyes or nostrils.
- Put sunglasses on the animal's face to create a fun look.