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How to Make an Origami Windmill for Children of All Ages

Girl blowing on an Inflatable origami windmill

Philip Chapman-Bell, an origami designer from western Massachusetts, has created a ‘Smart Waterbomb’, which he describes in this blog post. This model is made from a circular piece of paper and has only mountain and valley folds, some of which are curved. The model is economical in its folding, elegant and pleasing to make.

Besides Philip’s intended use of his model as a ‘waterbomb’, it occurred to me that there was another way to play with it that might keep us out of trouble with other people!

If we place the model on the tip of a skewer and blow on it, as my little friend Haley shows in the photo above, it becomes a delightful origami windmill. We just need to blow on it and make it spin!

Here I post two videos (Make sure to watch them both!)

  1. The one Philip posted showing how to fold his Smart Waterbomb (or origami windmill).
  2. One I made to clarify the last steps, where the figure is shaped and becomes three-dimensional.

Video 1 (folding sequence)

Video 2 (clarification for the last steps)

More suggestions to keep in mind when making this origami windmill:

  • To make a circle from a square piece of paper, fold a preliminary base (fig.1 below).
  • Align a folded edge with the diagonal line (fig.2), but do not crease.
  • Make a mark on the diagonal line at the point where the corner falls (fig.3).
  • Cut a curved line  from the bottom to the top corner, passing by the mark you created (fig.4).
  • Unfold and you have a circle (fig.5). Turn all the folds already in the paper into mountains on the colored side of the paper.
  • Use an inkless pen to score the curved folds, (valleys on the colored side, fig.6), then finish the model as shown in the video.
  • In this post I give even more suggestions. Click and take a look!

~Click on the image to view it larger.~

How to cut a circle out of a aquare piece of paperDepending on the quality of the paper used, you end up with slightly different shapes.

5 Different versions of an inflatavble origami windmill

I taught this origami windmill at the recent origami convention in Argentina.

Group of people holding origami windmills

How was your experience folding this model?

Can you think of other ways to play with it?


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{ 14 comments… add one }
  • Judith Russell May 13, 2015, 8:19 am

    Thank you for the clarification of the collapse. You are an amazing teacher.

  • keira October 26, 2014, 3:27 pm

    hey, could you make a video on how to make it. the first video is sort of confusing,
    please make one soon!

  • Candy March 17, 2013, 3:21 pm

    I came up with an idea just now! You can make a paper cone and then put this on top then tape it or glue it or staple it. Now it’ll look like ice cream!! I looooooooooooovvvvvvveeeeeeee IIIICCCCCCCCCCEEEEE CCCCCCCCCRRRRRRRRRRREEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAMM!!! <3

    • Leyla Torres March 17, 2013, 6:24 pm

      Hi Candy,

      An ice cream cone, that’s a great idea! Reminds me that I did take some photos of this model used as such. Here you can see one.
      I’ll have to try again and make the “cream” more prominent so you can have a really big scoop. Thank you for sharing your idea!

      Origami Ice cream cone

  • Rachel Grenfell September 30, 2012, 7:28 pm

    É um sorvete? um pirulito? um cata-vento?
    É de comer ou de soprar?

    Obrigada por compartilhar esse modelo tão gracioso e divertido! Gosto muito de brinquedos de origami.

    Abraço da Rachel

  • Amy April 9, 2011, 10:45 pm

    I can’t do it!!! I watched the video 17 times, yes I’m counting, and used 10 circles! I made really sharp folds, yet I can’t collapse it!

    • Leyla Torres April 10, 2011, 1:06 am

      Hi Amy, Some times when you cannot fold an origami model, the best strategy is to wait for a few days, start over fresh and try again. You may have to try a few times, leaving a few days or even weeks between your trying. Keep on thinking that you will be able to do it, and eventually you will. Don’t give up!

  • John Sutton November 9, 2010, 7:03 pm

    I’d like to see a video of a whole group people blowing on these colorful wind turbines.

    • Leyla Torres November 9, 2010, 7:09 pm

      Great idea! Too bad I didn’t take a video in Argentina. But I will take one the next time I teach this model to a group.

  • Fer Gomez November 9, 2010, 7:27 am

    Nice tutorial and thank you for sharing them, it will be great to teach this to children. Thank you

  • Ancella November 8, 2010, 5:31 pm

    Some ideas I came up with are – As flowers (if you keep them on skewers and put them in a vase with a few leafy shoots), as a ‘container’ for sweets (but you will have to open it up to eat the sweets ;) which makes it a sad thing to do), a Snowman’s hat? (something I thought of thinking of the upcoming holiday season).

    • Leyla Torres November 8, 2010, 5:58 pm

      Hi Ancella,
      I love your ideas on how to use this model, specially using it as a container. I think that people could close and reshape it again after taking out the sweets.

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