DIY Origami Wall Display

DIY Origami Art by Coco Sato for Design*Sponge
As a paper artist, I am constantly experimenting with new ways to use origami that showcase the essence of Japanese aesthetics. This framed modular origami wall display is a unique and striking way of showing off your paper skills. Modular origami is formed by interlocking simple unit pieces, making it easy for all crafter levels, including children! I am excited to share this DIY tutorial with the Design*Sponge community and I would love to see your interpretation of this project, so if you give this a try, please share photos of your creation on Instagram or Twitter by hashtagging #giantorigami and tell me your story. Hope to see you there! –Coco Sato of Giant Origami

Photography by Emma Gutteridge

DIY Modular Origami 3D Wall Display

What you will need:

-Origami paper or any paper cut into square of single size. (I like to use paper weight range between 120 and 150gsm that is thicker than standard origami paper. I find thicker paper is better suited for modular origami, it firmly secures the interlocks.) In this tutorial, I used about 100 sheets, but you can start with a smaller quantity.)
-PVA glue
-Clear tape
-Cardboard
-A craft knife or scalpel
-A cutting mat
-A paper creaser
-A small container
-A glue brush
-Frame of your choice

Photography by Brighton and London photographer Emma Gutteridge

The process

1. Cut the cardboard into the suitable size for your frame and with pencil subtly mark the area you wish to fill with origami.

Photography by Brighton and London photographer Emma Gutteridge

2. Fold modular origami units. For the step-by-step folding instruction, please watch the stop-motion video I created for you below. I folded about 100 sheets for this tutorial, but you can make less or more, as you like!

3. Now let’s start assembling. First you interlock three pieces to create a pyramid. From there, you can interlock each piece to form a hexagon shape formed with six pyramids. Repeat the process until you fill the cardboard surface. During this process, you can experiment with the color combination by simply re-assembling them until you are happy. I find that combining subtly different shades creates a magical effect. Please refer to the stop-motion video below for more details.

Photography by Brighton and London photographer Emma Gutteridge
Photography by Brighton and London photographer Emma Gutteridge
Photography by Brighton and London photographer Emma Gutteridge
Photography by Brighton and London photographer Emma Gutteridge

4. Now you carefully turn the whole structure upside down. The back of the structure is facing you here. Use clear tape to fasten around the edges, then apply PVA glue. Turn the whole thing upside down again. Be careful not to let it slip during turning process (I did!), otherwise adjust the placement. Wipe any excess or spilt glue with a clean damp cloth, then let the PVA glue dry. Again, the stop-motion video can explain the step well here.

Photography by Brighton and London photographer Emma Gutteridge
Photography by Brighton and London photographer Emma Gutteridge
Photography by Brighton and London photographer Emma Gutteridge

5. Drying time is usually 1-2 hours. By the time you have a cup of tea and cake, it should be good to go. Now you frame it for yourself or give it to someone special!

Photography by Brighton and London photographer Emma Gutteridge

  1. Emily says:

    I love this! Could you share any resources for buying the correct weight of paper online? I don’t do a lot of paper crafts and am not sure where to begin my search.

    1. Merrybee says:

      What type of paper have you used?Can I give it a try with magazine papers?

  2. Haafner says:

    Lovely! Tempted to give it a go… Thanks for sharing.

  3. Wow, it’s beautiful!

  4. Ellen says:

    This is beautiful! The shape reminds me of soundproofing material. I wonder if you could use this technique on the wall of a lofty space to dampen the echo. Probably not cost or labor efficient for that purpose compared to foam, but so lovely. I’m feeling inspired!

  5. Vanessa says:

    Wow, this is fabulous and so very effective. It like little geographic hills and valleys. Love it. x

  6. june says:

    Looove this!! Must try!!!

  7. Hannah says:

    This is gorgeous!! I cannot wait to try this out!!

  8. So stylish and beautiful ♥ amazing way to pimp up my wall, thanks I love it!

  9. Emily says:

    Beautiful! And I love that your shirt coordinates with your design colors.

  10. Kevin Twitty says:

    I love how dimensional this is. It really adds a great modern flair to any home with a personal touch as well.

  11. Rebeka says:

    I did this exact thing about a year ago! It took soooooo long.

  12. That is sooo cool. My husband and I were making little oragami cranes out of wrappers the other day. He might like to do something like this a joint project!

  13. This takes some amount of effort but the output is totally worth it! It looks so cool!

  14. Nikki says:

    What are the measurements for the piece once completed? Also, the size of the frame and where you found it?

  15. This is so beautiful. I am going to have to try this as an art piece, but it would equally make a wonderful photo backdrop if it were bigger.

  16. Coco Sato says:

    Hello! Thank you for stopping by and checking out my tutorial. I really enjoy connecting with people around the world, and hope that you find my tutorial helpful. Please do share a photo of your creation on Instagram or by simply emailing me. I would love to hear from you!

    Emily: You can use any paper! In fact, I just used a high quality letter paper I bought in a small local office supply (I live in the UK) for this tutorial. This paper surface is pearly and reflects light beautifully. You should be able to find out the weight of the paper on the package, normally indicated by ‘…gsm’.

    Nikki: The frame is A2 size and I found it abandoned on my street…

  17. Zlatan says:

    Absolutely stunning. I want one for my home!

  18. Sam says:

    This is gorgeous. What size squares of paper did you use?

  19. Holly H says:

    You’re a doll. (that’s a compliment).

  20. Coco Sato says:

    Hi Sam, approx 15x15cm. I had a half used ream of A4 (high quality) letter paper, so I cut them into squares.

  21. Tiffany says:

    Great concept, can’t wait to try this out!! Is the glass removed? I wonder if there is a way to protect the paper from dust/dirt.

  22. Maggie says:

    Can anyone help me? I have been trying to follow the videos and understand how to make each individual piece, but am having massive trouble figuring out how to put them together. Is there another tutorial that shows it in more detail? Apparently I need some extra help :)

    1. Lenox says:

      go to origami-instructions.com for putting them together.

  23. What a beautiful installation! I love your choice of colors, so gentle and fluid. Thank you Coco!

    Juju

  24. Byron says:

    Why you used stop motion instruction videos I will never know. Im struggling.

  25. Achyut Bhosekar says:

    superb, really fantastic.

  26. Laura says:

    Is it possible to do have the video done in a slower mode with verbal directions?

  27. Janice says:

    Thanks!

  28. Carolyn says:

    Has anyone found another video or written tutorial for making the origami units? I find the video linked here a bit confusing! Tia.

  29. Calley says:

    I love this! I was thinking of doing something similar for my boyfriend with his national symbol (Lilly). Any ideas on how to plan a picture in the origami? Calley

  30. Katie says:

    I’m in the same boat as several of the more-recent bloggers above. Would you be able to make slower and more-specific (possibly even with voice instructions) demonstration videos? This project looks wonderful but I, like several others, are having difficulty really understanding the intricacies of the different folds and then how each piece intertwines with the others.
    I look forward to your answers so I can make my own art!
    Thanks from the U.S.!

  31. Carolyn says:

    Hi again! I am still trying to figure this out!! Here’s a link to one demo that is similar to the first video (but more clear)…
    http://www.origami-instructions.com/modular-sonobe-unit.html

    If anyone has found other videos that may be slower and with written text as well, please post! Tia.

  32. Christian says:

    Nice project! Credit might be due to artist and paper engineer Matthew Shlian. He’s been making work like this (a bit more intricate) since 2009… though he’s probably not the first.
    http://www.mattshlian.com/sculpturefram2012.html

  33. Astrid says:

    Really awesome! So delicate and minimalistic yet powerful! Actually it was no problem to construct the modular units, but combining the units to each other seems to be another story…… Any suggestions? P_L_E_A_S_E?????????

  34. CJ says:

    Hey – I did find this tutorial which i haven’t tried yet but i think it might help with construction of the modular units. It shows how to conect them in the las stages of the tutorial – Hopefully this works!

  35. Jihane says:

    Hi

    I love this origami frame, i think it will be my next DIY program in my blog !
    i had trouble to uderstand the tuto for asembling the different modules as many of you. I find this tuto that help me a lot, and then light !!!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8ftAKXZ2Rc

    Peace !

  36. Jihane says:

    I’have just finished mine ! Have à look on my blog if you want to see it (i dont know how to put an image here)
    Very proud of me ^_^

  37. Julien Klaudt-Moreau says:

    Hi!

    I must begin by saying that I am entirely new to the world of modular origami. That said, after seeing this I knew it was the perfect DIY gift for my girlfriend. She has already made me some amazing gifts in the past and I would really like to attempt my own.

    I was wondering if you could send me in the right direction regarding the best paper for this sort of project. Should I cut my own squares or buy something like Tant origami paper? The colored paper you are using is beautiful, so if that is a particular company I would love to give it a try.

    Thanks a lot for the advice and I’ll let you know how it goes!

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