How to make an Origami ‘Swimming’ Fish

This origami fish swims along to join a charming group of action origami models already featured here at Origami Spirit. It’s a fantastically fun origami model to make and play with.

Hold it by the tail, make it swim, and you’ll delight children and adults alike!

The origami fish is a design of my friend Ng Boon Choon (Malaysia/Singapore); also known as Cavemanboon. Boon designed this model to honor of his friend Nacho. He was inspired by swimming fish that had been previously designed by Paul Jackson and Hasegawa Taichiro.

As wonderful as the Jackson and Taichiro fish models are, Boon set out to design a fish that was a little more fish-like in appearance. I think he succeeded, and I love the shape of the fish’s body as well as the detail that can be seen in the mouth and fins. Be sure to visit Boon’s Flikr page to see and appreciate his beautiful photography and other origami work.

I’m very enthusiastic and grateful to Boon for granting me permission to demonstrate to make his origami fish in this video. I’m sure you will love this model too!

Tips and ideas to make this easy origami fish

  • Use paper squares 6×6-inch.
  • Thin paper like “Kami” –known in the US as “origami paper”, works well.
  • Heavier paper like office paper works too.
  • Paper of different color on each side is ideal.
  • Experiment with found paper or recycled papers. In the photos below you can see origami fish made with gift wrapping.
  • Since the fish folds flat, it’s an excellent model to keep on your wallet ready to charm somebody at any moment.
  • The fish is also perfect to use on a greeting card.
  • My mother-in-law, Yvonne, noted that the fish is a familiar Christian symbol. We could make many origami fish to honor the tradition of those of us around the world who celebrate Easter.

Many Blessings to everyone.

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Origami fish made with gift wrapping paper.

10 thoughts on “How to make an Origami ‘Swimming’ Fish”

  1. Hi Leyla, I taught Boon’s wonderful fish at our NYC origami meet up tonight and showed everyone an interesting variation, during the fish “lips” folding step. After you deal with the two steps for the fish lips, additionally fold the creased edge towards the front creased edge. What you’ll reveal is another color change which suggest eyes! Additional shaping might accentuate them but that’s to taste. Regardless, this is a wonderful model with great color changes and nice realism. Thanks for the bring it to our attention.

  2. thanks for making this tutorial, leyla! love how u go through the folding process very clearly and those precreases in the beginning is a great idea.

  3. sensacional…
    amanha tem jogo do santos com ituano nada melhor do que brincar com as criancas este peixe,obrigado.


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