Origami Spinning Top Brings a Spirit of Playfulness

In a previous post, we discussed how origami is a gentle activity that can shift our preoccupation with life’s challenges, and help us focus more on the present.

In the northern hemisphere, as the shortest day of the year approaches, I have to remind myself that the darkness of these days is temporary; that these times are a prelude to the welcome return of the sun and the steady increase in daylight through the middle month of the year.

For me, the meaning of Christmas is firmly tied to the solstice and the return of the light. But it wasn’t always so.

“What hurts you, blesses you. Darkness is your candle.” – Rumi

Hands folding paper - origami hands

I grew up in the tropics where the amount of sunlight in a day remains basically the same throughout the year. It was only when I moved much further north, as an adult, that I had to attune myself to the endless cycling of light to darkness to light through the changing seasons. Adapting to this change has been a yearly challenge.

The darker months and the absence of light are a time when I’m inclined to slow down; to have an increased need to reflect and meditate; to pursue purposeful engagement in joyful activities that help me navigate my way back to a happier place.

Folding paper has long been one of those gentle activities that keep me in a joyful spirit and shields me from dark and heavy sun-starved moods.

In addition, making origami figures as Christmas gifts or ornaments is a way to use my time productively and share a part of who I am with those I love. Origami is one of my precious candles in the darkness.

To help bring the spirit of joy and play at this time when you too might be experiencing the gloom and challenge brought on by shortened days, I’d like to share with you a video on how to make a two-piece spinning top.

YouTube player

Tips and suggestions for making this origami spinner

  • In the video, the spinning top is demonstrated using Kami paper, which is a Japanese comercial paper that comes cut in squares. But any thin and crisp paper is adequate to make this model.
  • You need two pieces of 6 × 6-inch (15 × 15cm) to make the spinning top.
  • As an option you might want to add an insert which is made with a 3 x 3-inch (7.5 × 7.5cm)

More easy origami tutorials for holidays and celebrations? Click here!


8 thoughts on “Origami Spinning Top Brings a Spirit of Playfulness”

  1. Thanks! Hilariously, I really just needed a spinning top to demonstrate something for my science class and was wondering where I could get one before thinking, oh, duh, I can just make one lol. This is exactly the same kind as my students in Japan taught me how to make, so now I’m feeling all happy and nostalgic. :)

  2. Thank you for an interesting version of the spinning top. I’ve always loved them and have quite a collection of non-origami ones. So far I’ve made the origami ones out of three papers.
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,
    Renee Schaeren


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