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How to Make a Paper Starshade

This origami Starshade is a model of an actual device NASA developed to block the light of nearby stars while observing their orbiting exoplanets.

Making the paper model is fun and relatively easy. You need a little patience and some time. If you are new to origami, here you will find a video with a detailed explanation of how to score the folds and easily collapse the Starshade (See it below).

Read about some people who helped develop this Starshade at NASA using origami techniques.

The picture below shows an artistic vision of the Starshade which is the flower-shaped object in the center.

The following video shows how to make an origami Starshade.

YouTube player

Materials you need

Tips to fold the Paper Starshade

  • Print out the crease pattern.
  • It’s ideal if you can print the pattern on an 11 x 17-inch paper.
  • If you don’t have a large printer, when using a regular printer choose the option “Fit to printable area” and print it in letter size.
  • Score the red lines as valleys.
  • Score the blue lines as mountains. To do this, turn the paper over and score them as valleys on the backside.
  • If you want to make a model with no printed marks, tape or fix a piece of paper on the printed crease pattern and score it by tracing.
  • Once the paper is scored, reinforce the red hexagon at the center and the radial red lines. This can be easily done by turning the paper over and pinching the scored lines (see video)
  • Once the red lines are reinforced, turn the paper to the front and reinforce the blue radial lines. Watch the video to learn how to easily collapse it.

Did you make the Starshade? Post it and share a link where we can see it!

4 thoughts on “How to Make a Paper Starshade”

  1. Buenas noches, gracias por tomarme en cuenta. No soy maestra, eso fue lo unico que acabo de entender en su mensaje. Soy una persona que le gusta mucho el origami. Me cuesta mucho traducir del ingles al español, utilizo un traductor de internet. Tengo varias cosas que hacer en el día y solamente me conecto en pequeños momentos que tengo tiempo. Me disculpo por no contestar inmediatamente.

  2. Leyla, it is an amazing origami, it is so much fun to “play” with it. Besides, I went over to the website, and beyond my surprise, there is so much information about technology and space and the science facts out there that we otherwise would not even have a chance to know, it arouses much interest for our young generations too. Thank you again for your lovely tutorials.


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