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How to Make an Origami Fish

The most popular pet fish in Japan is the koi, which is symbolic of family, as well as strength and perseverance. And with a little perseverance, you can make a whole koi family of your own.


  • Step 1: Fold corner to opposite corner and unfold Begin with the white side of the paper facing up. Fold one corner to the opposite corner creating a diagonal fold. Unfold.
  • Step 2: Fold edges to center line and unfold Fold one edge to line up on the center diagonal line. Fold an adjacent edge to meet on the center line, creating an ice cream cone shape. Unfold completely.
  • Step 3: Repeat on other end of paper Repeat Step 2 on the opposite end of the paper. Unfold completely.
  • Step 4: Rotate paper Rotate your paper so that the center diagonal crease is horizontal.
  • Step 5: Pinch triangular tab closed & fold it to one side Working on the bottom right and left edges at the same time, refold the ice cream cone folds. As you do this, the two sides should line up on the center diagonal and create a triangular tab that sticks up. Pinch the tab closed at its center and fold it to one side.
  • Step 6: Repeat, creating a second tab Repeat Step 5 on the remaining white edges, creating a second tab directly opposite the first. Fold it down in the same direction as the first.
  • TIP: This is a Fish Base, and you can use it to create whales, dolphins, sharks, and other sea creatures.
  • Step 7: Flip the paper over Turn the paper over to the smooth side.
  • Step 8: Fold a long point to the center Fold one of the long points to the middle of the model, lining it up on the center diagonal.
  • TIP: To make a swordfish, fold the long point back out, shortening it by creating a small pleat in the paper. The long point will be the "sword."
  • Step 9: Fold the model in half Fold the model in half along the center diagonal so the tabs end up on the outside.
  • Step 10: Arrange so blunted end is the head You should have a blunted end (the head) and a long pointed end (the tail). The triangular tabs formed in Steps 5 and 6 are the fins.
  • Step 11: Fold the tail and fins Fold up the long end to form a tail to your liking. You can also reverse this fold in on itself to keep it in place. Adjust the fins to your liking, and don't be coy — enjoy your paper koi.
  • FACT: Did you know: On Children's Day in Japan, koi flags are raised—orange/red koi represent the mother, black koi represent the father, red/pink koi represent girls, and blue/white koi represent boys.

You Will Need

  • A sheet of square origami paper (6" x 6" / 15 cm x 15 cm)
  • A flat surface

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