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Origami Stamp Machine Instructions

Updated April 17, 2017

An origami stamp machine is a paper folding project that is relatively complicated, but a lot of fun. It resembles a Rubik's cube when it's finished, and the set of attached cubes can move in three different directions. The stamp machine project requires patience and concentration, as well as dexterity. However, it is a satisfying project to complete.

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  1. Take a 3-inch by 3-inch square piece of paper, and fold it into quarters horizontally, folding it in half, and then each side in half again.

  2. Unfold and fold the top and the bottom folds inward towards the centre fold, so that the two edges touch.

  3. Fold the bottom left hand corner diagonally upwards, and the top right hand corner diagonally downwards. Unfold all folds.

  4. Fold the smallest triangle in the bottom left hand corner inward, and fold the smallest triangle on the top right corner inward.

  5. Fold the right corner under the top flap, and the left corner under the lower flap. You will have made a parallelogram that is fully closed.

  6. Fold the top long point downwards and the bottom long point upwards to form a square, folding them towards the smooth side of the parallelogram. There should be an "X" from the folds on one side.

  7. Repeat this step, until you have 6 similar paper objects.

  8. Fit the flap of one of the units (the folded down triangle) into the pocket of another unit (the "X" on one side of the unit).

  9. Interlock all of the units until you have a closed cube. There should be no flaps left untucked. Make sure all of the connections between the flaps and the pockets are snug. The cube should not fall apart. These cubes are also called Sonobe units.

  10. Repeat until you have formed twenty-seven Sonobe cubes.

  11. Join two cubes together, by gently sliding out one of the triangular flaps from each of the cubes, and slide the flap of one cube -- into the recently emptied pocket of the other cube. The other flap should slide into the pocket of the other cube.

  12. Repeat this process with one of the newly doubled cubes. This should make a string of 3 attached cubes. Repeat until you have 9 cube strings formed, each one, 3 cubes long. Shape the strings, so that the cubes are in a diamond pattern.

  13. Lay two strings in diamond form, so that the top points of the bottom diamond cube string is touching the top point of another diamond cube string. Attach the points of the cubes that touch each other, using the flap and pocket method. Do this until you have three diagonal strings of cubes -- all attached -- to form a moving wall of Sonobe units.

  14. Repeat until you have three moving walls of Sonobe units, that are composed of nine Sonobe units in total.

  15. Place one of the wall units on top of the other one, so that all of the Sonobe units line up. Attach each Sonobe unit of one wall, to the corresponding Sonobe unit of the other -- by using the flap and pocket method. Repeat until all the units are attached to each other.

  16. Tip

    The cube moves more easily if the folds are made in both directions, so there is more flexibility. Folding on a hard surface will allow you to make more precise and stiffer folds, making your units and the final product more precisely shaped.


    While this project should not require glue, if you have trouble getting the pieces to fit together without falling apart, you can place a small drop of glue on the flaps before fitting them into the pockets.

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Things You'll Need

  • 27 pieces of paper, 3-inches by 3-inches
  • A hard surface to fold on
  • Paper glue (optional)

About the Author

Based in Toronto, Ontario, Charlie Johnson began writing professionally about music and food in 2006. She has worked in the food service industry since 2003 and has been a professional musician since 1998. She writes about music, food, cooking, education and travel. Johnson holds a Bachelor of Music degree from McGill University.

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