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Origami Spinning Top Brings a Spirit of Playfulness

Origami Spinning Top Brings a Spirit of Playfulness post image

On 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

I grew up in the tropics where the amount of sunlight in a day remains basically the same throughout 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.

Hands folding paper - origami hands

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.

How does origami help you reach that place of lighter spirit?
Share it in the comments or send me a note.


Tips and suggestions for making the origami Spinning Top

  • 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 comments… add one }
  • Michelle July 22, 2020, 5:15 pm

    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. :)

  • Harini February 22, 2019, 11:59 pm

    This model was absolutely wonderful and very easy to fold! Kept me entertained for hours. Thank you!!

    • Leyla Torres February 25, 2019, 9:15 am

      You are welcome Harini. I’m happy you enjoy this origami top!

  • Renee Schaeren December 22, 2018, 7:15 pm

    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

    • Leyla Torres December 26, 2018, 4:27 pm

      Great. I love spinning tops in all shapes also! I’m happy you like the ones shared here!

  • Edna December 22, 2018, 4:26 am

    It is amazing origami, it is beautiful, thank you for the tutorial.
    Merry Christmas to you and your family.

    • Leyla Torres December 22, 2018, 8:53 am

      You are welcome, Edna. Merry Christmas and joy in the New Year!

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