Tutorial - paper bow

I did not invent this bow, but I’ve had so many people interested in how it’s folded that I decided to do my own tutorial. I found the instructions originally on my favourite origami site, even though strictly this is kirigami, as it involves scissors.

As with all paper folding, the most important thing is to create nice sharp folds, and take time to make the paper meet perfectly – so for example when you’re folding it in half, make sure all the corners meet squarely, and then make a really sharp crease on the fold with your finger.

You will need

1. A square of paper. It does not need to be any particular size or special origami paper, just use whatever you’d like. This bow can be folded in most thicknesses, but thinner papers might make it less strong in the centre.

2. Scissors


1. Place the paper right side down (or whichever you would eventually like to show on the outside of the bow.

2. Fold it diagonally from corner to corner and unfold. Repeat with the other corners, and unfold. (This is a valley fold, because we are creating a downward dip in the paper – a mountain fold is the opposite direction)

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3. Turn the paper over (So now the same fold is a mountain fold, as you can see it pops upwards – this will become important later!)


4. Now fold the paper in half horizontally and unfold, and again vertically and unfold.

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5. Your paper should now look like this, with a sort of folded star shape.


6. Now turn the paper over and pinch it in the centre like this.

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7. Fold it so it creates a square – have a look at the photos to see what I mean – in the first photo, that section I’m holding in my fingers is folded over to the right so it looks like the second photo.

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8. This is known as a square base, and is a really useful thing to know. If you pinch it the other way up, you have a triangular base, which is the basic way to fold a crane.

9. Take your square, with the central point at the top, and fold down a small triangle. There’s no right or wrong size, but the proportion should be more or less as shown below or the bow looks weird. Unfold.

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10. Unfold the whole sheet of paper, and it should look like this in the middle.


11. That small square in the middle will become the ‘knot’ of the bow. Making it is the hardest bit of folding this shape. The small square is described here with varying folds – we need to make all of these folds MOUNTAIN folds (see, I told you it would be important)

Here below, you can see how I do it – I pinch the folds either side of where the mountain fold needs to be.


12. Now the tricky bit – we need to push a finger down in the middle of the square, and fold the two sides inwards.

Look at the image here – we’re pushing down on the green bit, trying to make the two red folds meet each other, while also pushing inwards where the arrows are so the yellow fold meets the other yellow fold, and the two orange folds meet. BELIEVE ME – this is as simple as I can make that.


It will look like this when you’re done.

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… and like this from the outside.


13. Now we need to fold down the flaps either side of that square. A picture will show you what I mean.


14. Repeat the other side, and turn over.

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15. Repeat this process on the other side.

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16. Now the last tricky bit – unfold the paper WITHOUT UNFOLDING THE MIDDLE. It should look like this.


17. Turn it over


18. Now for the scissors. We need to cut the top flaps in a specific place – so here’s another terrible drawing.



Here you can see you need to put your scissors inside the flap to cut in the right place. Be careful and make sure you don’t cut too far or too little. You have to be able to move the flaps freely, while still keeping that square you took all that time folding perfect.



19. Fold one flap down on top of the other – it should look like this.

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20. Fold the triangle so that the point meets the centre fold.


21. Repeat on the other side, and it should look like this. Right about now, you should be getting excited that it’s starting to look like a bow.


22. Fold the two flaps upwards, and turn the bow around, so you can access the other side. Repeat as above to make it look like this.

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23. Now to make the tails – Get your scissors, and cut those flaps in half up the middle. Be very careful not to cut too far, or you might cut into that precious square again.

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24. There’s no right or wrong way to do this bit – this is how I do it. Fold the sides of both of the triangles to create the ‘tails’ – you can snip the ends shorter, make the tails wider, whatever you want.

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The original tutorial I saw had you cutting the ends so they look like this.


25. Turn it over and GASP because it looks almost finished!


26. Fold the sides of the bow in half, and tuck the point under that square in the middle.

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27. Repeat the other side


28. Congratulate yourself



Hooray! Now go and make one and show me the results in the comments! Or use the hashtag #icouldmakethat on Instagram or twitter ro share your makes.

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