≡ Menu

9 Ways to Awaken Your Creativity With Origami

Origami bird, origami kusudama, origami rose and origami cootie catcher

Do you ever wonder how origami figures are created?  What I’ve discovered is that many origami models have their origin in a small transformation applied to an existing figure.

For example, the previous post featured an origami peacock based on a traditional paper toy  known as cootie catcher. The photos above* show more models based on the same toy.

Here are nine tips that can help to awaken your creativity with origami.

  1. Look for ways to modify existing models, and then visualize what they can become.
  2. Make a conscious effort to look at models with fresh eyes.
  3. Think of ways to use a model differently. Don’t discard an idea prematurely.
  4. Give yourself permission to play and “doodle” without worrying about what you might design.
  5. Experiment with different colors, or kinds of paper, on the same model. Depending on the color, the same model could represent two different things.
  6. Look at an existing model from various points of view. Turn it upside down, does it look like something else?
  7. Experiment by modifying just one small area of an existing model.
  8. Don’t take a model for granted. Just because you’ve folded a crane a thousand times doesn’t mean all creative possibilities have been exhausted.
  9. Remember that the pleasure of origami is in the process, as well as in the result.

Now look at the cootie catcher again and challenge yourself to modify it and create your own model!

* In the photographs:
Easter Bird (Evi Binzinger)
Nested Rose (Leyla Torres)
Kusudama (author unknown -information welcomed!)
Cootie catcher as an egg holder (Idea shared with me by Antonio José Vargas)

Do you have a tip to share on how you create with paper folding?
Please share it in the comments.

Are you looking for origami instructions? Read related pages:


{ 22 comments… add one }
  • David March 13, 2013, 8:22 pm

    My version of the cootie catcher- the Wind Catcher


  • KDianne Stephens March 11, 2013, 3:13 pm

    Hi Leyla,
    I so enjoy reading your blog. I was folding the oh so cute hens that you do and found a sailboat! I love the way that happens in art! So many times a “mistake” creates something wonderful and new. A long time ago I used to think “if I didn’t make that mistake…this (the work) would not have come out this way…and I l o v e it this way” – now I almost invite the mistake for it brings me new and beautiful things.

    • Leyla Torres March 11, 2013, 3:22 pm

      Yes, KDianne, let’s welcome the “mistakes” and keep our eyes open to what they might lead us to… I’d love to see a photo of your sailboat.

  • Nastia Ntanou (Anastasia) May 29, 2012, 3:33 pm


    My 4 legged box and box with lid variations of the cootie catcher (or alatiera)

    • Leyla Torres March 11, 2013, 2:23 pm

      Nastia, your link to Facebook is not working!

  • David May 29, 2012, 10:54 am

    Kusudama (author unknown -information welcomed!)
    Hope you do a video, thats what i’d like to do with my salt cellar…

    • Leyla Torres March 11, 2013, 2:21 pm

      This Kusudama is made by pasting together with 6 salt cellars. Yes it uses glue (not for origami purists), but the result is eye catching!

Leave a Comment

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.