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How to Fold an Origami Sailboat

If you want to make an origami sailboat, there's a whole regatta of models to choose from—but this one is fast and easy, so you can spend less time making it and more time enjoying it.


  • Step 1: Make a diagonal crease and unfold Start with the paper colored side up. Make a diagonal crease by folding one corner to the opposite corner. Unfold.
  • Step 2: Repeat with the other corners Repeat with the other two opposing corners. You should now have two diagonal creases on the colored side of the paper.
  • Step 3: Flip the paper, fold an edge and unfold Turn the paper over to the white side, fold one edge of the paper to the opposite edge, then unfold.
  • Step 4: Repeat but don't unfold Repeat with the other two opposing edges, but this time do not unfold.
  • Step 5: Bring the four corners together Position the paper so that its folded edge is along the bottom. There should be creases on the paper that form a "V." Hold the paper with each hand on either side of the "V." Slowly bring your hands together, allowing the four corners to meet at the top.
  • Step 6: Place the model on the table Place the model flat onto the table in a diamond shape, making sure there are two flaps to the right and two flaps to the left of the vertical crease running down the center.
  • TIP: You've just made a Preliminary Base, which can be used to make a wide variety of models.
  • Step 7: Push the top front corner inside Unfold the base slightly and push the top front corner inside to the very center of the model.
  • Step 8: Turn over and repeat Turn over and repeat on the other side, and then return the model to the Preliminary Base shape. You should end up with an overall diamond shape, with two separate white triangles on top and a larger, colored triangle on the bottom.
  • TIP: The white triangles will become the boat's sails and the colored triangle will be its hull.
  • Step 9: Fold the sails Fold one of the white sail triangles down over the "hull" as far as it will go. Now fold the white triangle back up at a point slightly below the level of the hull; this "sail" should now be smaller than the other "sail." Tuck the pleat at the bottom of the sail between the layers of the hull.
  • Step 10: Fold the base If you want your boat to stand up on its own, fold the bottom corner of the hull up to the edge of the hull, where the two sails meet, then unfold it slightly. There you go, you've made a sailboat! Now keep making them until you've got a whole colorful fleet.
  • FACT: Did you know? The ancient Egyptians made boats out of the same material they used to make paper—the papyrus plant.

You Will Need

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

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