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Decorating Paper to fold Butterflies

There are different ways to color paper for origami. The paper used to make these striking origami butterflies was colored onion skin paper, which is originally white (it is also strong, thin, crisp, translucent, and folds easily). This particular model is called Origamido Butterfly and it was designed by Michael LaFosse.

Video: demonstration on how to fold a very similar butterfly designed by Michael LaFosse.  On that page, you will find several origami videos by Michael LaFosse, including one for a blue butterfly. Click on it to see the tutorial.

Steps to decorate the paper:

  • Place one or more squares of clean onion skin paper over a larger piece of white paper on a hard surface.
  • Sprinkle crayon shavings on each square to be folded.
  • Place another piece of paper over the shavings.
  • Melt the crayon shavings onto the onion skin paper by lightly passing a warm iron for a couple of seconds over the papers.
  • Separate the pieces of paper.
  • Use the colored squares to make butterflies.

Photos © Leyla Torres.
Origamy Buterfly created by Michael LaFosse,  folded by Leyla Torres.

13 thoughts on “Decorating Paper to fold Butterflies”

  1. These are lovely Leyla,
    I have a roll of Glassine paper might that be a good substitute for onion paper?

    • Hi Carol, glassine paper is lovely and it comes in wonderful colors but it gives you little room for error. Once you apply a crease it is marked there forever. Also, I have no experience coloring glassine. I don’t know how well it would take color decoration. But I am sure that butterflies folded with this paper would look beautiful!

  2. thank you very much, leyla! what a beautiful idea!

    i wonder, if i can get onion skin paper in germany and if so, what it is called here.

    • I folded and unfolded one. Then I studied the Crease Pattern. If I remember correctly, I think I applied color on one side of the paper for the wings and on the other side for the area of the body.

      What I recommend is that you fold one for a test. Once folded, color the visible areas with a color pencil, then unfold. Observe what sides and areas of the paper show where. Color your final piece of paper following the general pattern you dicover. Then fold it into the butterfly. I hope this helps.

  3. Hi there

    Great butterflys, do you have a link to a turtorial to make the exact same butterflys? the LaFosse ones are squarer at the bottom


  4. Hi Leyla,
    These are truly lovely butterflies and ur idea on using onion paper is great! I wanted to share with you one other idea that I have used in my work – spray painting. I tried it out on a modular piece which I have hung at home, now. The paper does get wet a bit too much, but it’s nothing that some sunshine cannot cure. :)

    This is the link to my spray painted model. It is actually not pure origami and involves cutting ;) but nevertheless, here it is: http://www.flickr.com/photos/origamiancy/4872000555/

    – Ancella


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