How to Make an Origami Elephant

by Leyla Torres on April 18, 2013

in -Animals, -Video Instructions, ..mammals, • Creators/Teachers, • How to & Techiques

Post image for How to Make an Origami Elephant

There are many origami elephants, but this one, created by Mr. Fumiaki Kawahata, is one of my all-time favorite origami animals! It’s one whose folding steps I memorized years ago at an origami convention in New York City.

The folding sequence for this particular elephant is a delight and the resulting figure has a delicious, lively three-dimensional quality to it. I promise that you will find yourself folding many of them for your friends and family.  And total strangers will quickly turn into friends when you hand them one of these origami elephants!

This elephant can be made with different types of paper. Tant paper or onion skin paper are great paper choice to make this model. Here you will find instructions to color onion skin paper to use for this and many other origami models.

With permission from Mr. Fumiaki Kawahata, I’m pleased to share a video featuring a step- by-step demonstration of how to make his lovely elephant.

Tips and Suggestions to Make the Origami Elephant

  • Making this origami elephant does require some prior folding experience.
  • If you are a complete beginner in the art of folding paper try folding simpler models before attempting to make it.
  • To make your first elephant use a relatively large square (7 x 7 inches) of thin paper.
  • Onion skin paper or any other paper can be colored following suggestions on this post.
  • To give volume to the origami elephant hold it by the tail at the end of the folding process and tuck the thick flap inside its body.

Symbolism of the Elephant: Strength, remembrance, power, perseverance, good luck, wisdom

I  hope you enjoy this little elephant as much as I have. When you have practiced and folded a whole herd of elephants, try folding a miniature origami elephant like this one!


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{ 63 comments… read them below or add one }

Ryynette April 18, 2013 at 7:44 pm

Very cute!


Sherry gerstein April 18, 2013 at 8:19 pm

What size paper did you use for the miniature elephant? Adorable!


Leyla Torres April 18, 2013 at 9:36 pm

Hi Sherry,

I made the miniature elephant long time ago, so I don’t remember the exact paper size, but it must have been about 2 inches or a little smaller.


Kathy April 18, 2013 at 8:51 pm

Thank you for doing this. I folded this a couple of years ago but was too sleep deprived to remember how.


Briana Wicce April 19, 2013 at 7:10 am

Maravilhoso! Não tenho como expressar a minha admiração por você e sua gentileza de nos ensinar coisas tão lindas! Te desejo tudo de bom! Obrigada!


Sande April 19, 2013 at 8:08 am

This is lovely and although I am a beginner I will practice and practice to learn how to make this sweet elephant. Thank you for your wonderful videos that make it all possible.


Rosemary April 19, 2013 at 10:20 am

Hi Leyla:

This wonderful little model was like a symmetrical dance. Incredibly clever design as well as the sweetest elephant I have ever folded.

Thank you to you, the best of teachers, as well as to the master creator: Fumiaki Kawahata. Brilliant!

Best always,



Danielle April 19, 2013 at 12:30 pm

Thank you for posting the video to make this very appealing elephant. I can’t wait to try it out!

p.s., I just noticed your blog background. That’s neat! Did you draw it yourself?


Leyla Torres April 19, 2013 at 12:39 pm

Yes, Danielle I drew each little creature for the background, put them into a square and then tiled it!


Helena April 19, 2013 at 3:31 pm

Hellow Leyla!

Last year I was in Bilbao for the Origami Spanish Convention and I met Mr Fumiaki Kawahata. He’s a marvelous person and he teached us how to make this lovely elephant. Since then, I have made lots of little elephants to offer to lots of people. And it’s like you say! Everyone seems to be so happy when I offer this cute Origami!
Thank you very much to let us learn with your fantastic videos! I would like to make one elephant with the paper you suggest, but I don’t know where I can find the onion skin paper…I will try!
Thank you Leyla!


Leyla Torres April 19, 2013 at 7:06 pm

Oh what did I miss… meeting Mr. Kawahata!! I have been wishing to go to a Spanish convention for a long time… I’ll have to make it happen!


Dan April 19, 2013 at 4:41 pm

A lovely model! :) You can find a picture on my Flickr here:


angelicaresende April 20, 2013 at 11:07 am

Ufa. consegui depois do terceiro dia,me ensinaram que quando nao conseguimos, para onde estava e continua noutro dia,e assim um passo de cada vez.Como voce dizia paciencia.Obrigado bjos


Sagi Tanpopo April 22, 2013 at 1:24 am

It’s so adorable (>w<)…
I will give it to my friend as a gift. She loves elephant (^w^)


Pato May 10, 2013 at 12:26 pm

Hola leyla! Sabes que no puedo abrir el video! Bueno, te mando un beso enorme y mis felicitaciones por las cosas hermosas que haces!


Leyla Torres May 10, 2013 at 1:34 pm

Aquí está el enlace directo para el elefante en Youtube


Pato May 11, 2013 at 12:13 am

Hola leyla! Sabes que desde los 4:44 minutos en adelante el video se ve borroso, lo podrías revisar por favor? Ya que lo estaba esperando tanto!! Muchas gracias! Besos Patricia


Leyla Torres May 11, 2013 at 10:44 am

Lamento que veas borroso el video del elefante, pero no sé qué decirte, pues yo lo veo perfectamente en mi computador y otras personas han podido verlo completo y hacer el elefante. Algunas sugerencias:

    • revisa tu conexión al internet
    • prueba en otro computador
    • asegurarte de que tienes banda ancha
    • actualiza tu browser (si tienes internet explorer, lo más seguro es que no te funcione)

De todas maneras te agradezco que me informes. Le preguntaré a otras personas a ver si tienen el mismo problema.


Leyla Caroline May 12, 2013 at 1:40 am

Hello Leyla Torres:
  You could teach how to make a dragon land of Dragon City?


harriet parkinson June 9, 2013 at 11:05 am

did u make it like an ordanry elephant?


Nancy June 15, 2013 at 12:14 am

Thank you for doing the video. You make it so easy to follow along. I have never been very good at animal origami, but folding along side your video made it so easy. I will now try it again with tant paper.


Leyla Torres June 15, 2013 at 9:45 am

I’m glad you find this video easy to follow. Origami takes some patience and models like this, practice!


Britta June 17, 2013 at 9:21 am

I came across this tutorial on pinterest and found the little elephants totally adorable. I tried my first this morning, the second one is about to be folded. Thank you very much for the great video!


Leyla Torres June 17, 2013 at 9:53 am

Welcome to the lovely group of origami elephant lovers! Bravo!


Gislene Parziale June 20, 2013 at 3:47 pm

Estou encantada com o site, tenho uma menininha de oito anos, que ama demais origami, será de extrema valia, mostrarei para ela ainda hoje.


Leyla Torres June 20, 2013 at 3:58 pm

Hi Gislene, you are welcome here. I hope you and your little one enjoy it!


Liz July 23, 2013 at 4:28 pm

Leyla, I love your videos. I hope someday you sell them because I’m about to go on a vacation and will not have internet access, but would love to spend the time watching | learning | creating with your videos! Think about it!


reza August 4, 2013 at 2:43 am

plz share the diagrams!
its too difficult to play the video.
thank you very mich


Leyla Torres August 5, 2013 at 11:16 am

Sorry, no diagrams to share via internet.


Rafi September 20, 2013 at 1:07 pm

Hi, this is a great design. Can you tell me if it requires double sided paper, or is single sided ok?



Leyla Torres September 20, 2013 at 3:27 pm

Single color paper is quite ok. If you have paper of different color on each side, one of the sides will not be visible at all.


Maggie December 19, 2013 at 2:46 pm

how big is the finshed elephant using a 7″ x 7″ paper (18 cm x 18 cm) ? Thank you.


Leyla Torres December 19, 2013 at 3:19 pm

About 2 5/8 inches tall (7.2 cm.)


Gabriel January 11, 2014 at 9:04 am

Gosto muito de origami e você mostra que seu trabalho além de interessante é criativo e animador!


Leyla Torres January 13, 2014 at 10:43 am

Gracias Gabriel!


DORKEY PIE June 5, 2014 at 6:15 pm

I like it. It is nice. It is cute. This is cool. I will make one.


Parrot Loves Panda June 11, 2014 at 4:12 am

These are the cutest little elephants ever!!! I made several of them and thoroughly enjoyed it! I find your videos a pleasure to watch and very easy to learn from! Absolutely love your site!!! :)


Hannah July 3, 2014 at 5:52 am

Very cute, and surprisingly easy!


Cheryl gibbs July 27, 2014 at 11:07 am

Dear Leyla
Thank you for your excellent video tutorial of this appealing little elephant. yYour instructions are so clear and easy to follow. you are obviously an experienced and talented teacher.


Leyla Torres July 27, 2014 at 11:28 am

Thank you Cheryl. I am glad you had success in making the elephant. It is quite a lovely origami model, and I was very happy to have permission to teach it here!
Please help us promoting this site by sharing the videos and links with your family and friends.


surender kumar sharma August 2, 2014 at 11:11 am

awesome work


surender kumar sharma August 2, 2014 at 11:14 am

I am also make elephant but another way but you done amazing ……………


Sonja August 25, 2014 at 10:22 am

It is fantastic. I am elephant lover. Now I have possibility to prepare many paper elephants for my family and my friends; so to bring them a little bit of happiness. Thank you. Sonja


Sonia October 17, 2014 at 9:12 pm

Thank you for showing us how to origami stuff.


Coral October 18, 2014 at 6:14 pm

Hola Leyla,
muchas gracias por subir este vídeo del elefante de Fumiaki Kawahata. Es una figura muy hermosa y con un plegado que se disfruta muchísimo. Gracias también por tu web en general. Espero conocerte en directo alguna vez.


Orfhlaith October 28, 2014 at 6:20 am

Thank you Leyla for your cute origami elephants! I love them. I made my very first elephant and it came out perfect with your tutorial.


Camille October 30, 2014 at 6:04 am

thank you so much for this diy. You explain very well, even if I’m a novice with doing origimis and I did the elephant ! (and excuse my bad english)


Celia Pratt December 4, 2014 at 11:54 pm

Hi! This elephant is so beautiful!
Do you by any chance have written instructions for the folds?



Leyla Torres December 5, 2014 at 9:33 am

Hi Celia,
At the moment I don’t have printed instructions that I can distributed freely over the Internet :-)


Sean January 21, 2015 at 3:08 am

It was too hard.


Sean January 21, 2015 at 3:10 am

Could you make a easier way by any chance


Chuck February 2, 2015 at 11:08 pm

Thank you so much for the video! I did an intranet search and thought that Mr. Kawahata’s elephant was the most life like. Your video was very clear and easy to follow – now my goal is to try and memorize the steps so that I can make a herd!


Leyla Torres February 3, 2015 at 8:25 pm

Hi Chuck, I’m glad you like the elephant. It’s one of my favorite origami elephants. I hope you post a link to a photograph of your herd!


Chuck February 5, 2015 at 8:30 pm

Leyla – here is a link to my first herd of elephants




Chuck February 5, 2015 at 8:31 pm
Leyla Torres February 5, 2015 at 8:43 pm

Great Chuck…. they are coming along very well. Now you will have to be careful. Origami elephants tend to proliferate much faster than those in Africa and India!

Thank you for sharing your photo.


Chuck February 27, 2015 at 9:11 pm

I tried to make a bonsai elephant – he just fits on the penny. There is now a herd of the elephants at work (someone made the sign); I give them away or leave them behind on tables after meetings.




cass March 7, 2015 at 2:58 pm

je trouve votre tuto vraiment cool !!!


Leyla Torres March 7, 2015 at 9:34 pm



Gail March 16, 2015 at 9:44 pm

I made 4 of these elephants for my babies nursery, I love how nice and original they look. I wrote a post about them on my blog if you have a chance to have a look


Ailís April 9, 2015 at 10:01 pm

Hello! Thank you so much for making these videos. I recently started making origami through your website. I made an elephant and he is so cute! Thanks again!


Leyla Torres April 14, 2015 at 3:38 pm

Hi Ailís, You are very welcome and congratulations for making the origami elephant! Thank you for writing.


mansi August 6, 2015 at 10:22 am

thanks leyla the elephants came out perfect .. made so many for my babys room


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