Mike's Origami - Manically manipulating marvellous models!


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 The Not So Small Print
Any comments or criticisms are warmly welcomed about my site or models - except those that upset me, in which case I'll smash yer face in! I'm a bit of a sensitive soul like that.
 The Small Print
Please feel free to download or save any of my model diagrams. If yoo wish to use any of these in any commercial venture, then I'd be grateful if you could choose one that donates money to charity, rather than lining your own pocket.

I'd also be grateful if you could just inform me out of common courtesy that it is your intention to use my models for just such a purpose. This will boost my ego to the stratosphere and make me just plain smug about it!! 

All models are my own creations through plain old doodling with a bit of paper. However, if anybody claims that they came up with the same model as I have come up with - then it wouldn't surprise me! I'm not claiming uniqueness in my models, just a love of origami!

Origami 4 Charity

I’ve been volunteering my time for worthy causes for nigh on twenty odd years and been practising origami for well over thirty. I’ve often thought how these two interests of mine could be combined and to this affect, I list below some suggestions to put origami to more charitable practical use in the hope that it may inspire you, the reader, to take your hobby in a new and maybe more rewarding direction.

Simple Smiles

Bear HeartThere are various initiatives around the world which are set up to specifically write letters to very sick children in the hopes of bringing a smile to their faces. There is no commitment on your part to continue writing to a child and you can write to as many or as few children as you want. The inclusion of toys and gifts in these letters is encouraged. Maybe you could write a letter to one of these children and consider enclosing an origami action model or an origami symbol of love like a heart. Organisation suggestion: http://www.postpals.co.uk/ or http://www.makeachildsmile.org/

Thinking of YouIn hospital, there are many medium to long term patients that my not have any or many relatives or friends to visit them. Why not consider contacting the hospital to get permission to give these patients an origami heart with an accompanying message like ‘Thinking of You’. It might go some way to lifting their spirits up at a time when they’re feeling pretty low. This idea could also be used for people in retirement homes.

Merry ChristmasSimilar to the previous idea of making origami hearts for hospital patients and residents of retirement home, why not do something along these lines for homeless people at Christmas time. Locate a food shelter that gives out food to homeless people at Christmas and offer to dish out some origami models in the shape of a Christmas Tree or Santa with the words ‘Merry Christmas’ on it. Actually, why not do this all year round with just any old origami model. Place models on a BBQ skewer and invite people to take one when handing out food. Might bring a smile to the homeless people.

Operation Christmas ChildThere are many organisations out there that collect little toys, pens, pencils, soaps, gloves, hats etc. and collate them all into a shoebox ready to be shipped out to a needy or orphaned child. If you want to participate in such a scheme, then popping a Valentine Heart into the box might be a nice idea.

Organisation suggestion - http://www.operationchristmaschild.org.uk/ or http://www.marysmeals.org/backpacks.html

Link RomaniaContact ‘shoebox for needy’ campaigns ie those organisations that ask you to collate small things in small boxes, to include origami hearts in or stuck on to the lid of the box.  If it is OK, then why not start an initiative to ask other people to fold origami hearts where people would send you the heart, after which you would forward them on to the organisation for them then add to the heart to the box.
Organisation suggestion - http://www.linkromania.co.uk/shoebox-appeal

ShoeboxTo encourage people to contribute to the ‘shoebox for needy’ campaigns, perhaps you can contact the organisation that run these initiatives and suggest to them that you could offer to make some quality origami models for ‘shoebox donors’ as a thank you gift for the donor donating some items for shoeboxes.  You never know it might encourage some people to donate items for a shoebox, whereas they might not have otherwise done.
Organisation suggestion - http://www.shoebox.rotary1280.org/

Gifts from Westerners This next idea is mainly aimed at Westerners who are on holiday in mostly third world countries ie. anywhere where you stand out from the indigenous population. Why not make some simple origami action models eg. flapping bird, nodding dog and hand them out to children, especially those ones accompanied by their Mum and Dad. Maybe pick the kids who appear to come from poorer families. The simile you’ll get when you hand out the model and then demonstrate it’s action is priceless and also helps some way towards creating new international relations. By the way, the reason why its better to pick kids with parents is that firstly you get two smiles for the price of one and secondly, you’re demonstrating that there's no ulterior motive behind your gesture. Being a tourist abroad also helps to bridge that suspicion gap that kids or parents might have as well.

Folding Origami Spending time in hospital is no fun. Maybe you could start an initiative where hospital patients, who are well enough to be able to use their hands, could make some simple origami action models for sick children in the same hospital. This idea could kill two birds with one stone as it may relieve the boredom of adult patients, whilst bringing a smile to sick children. Obviously, you’ll have to liaise with the hospital on this one and also choose models that have simple instructions.

Towel SwanIn some hotels, cleaners sometimes fold your clean towels into swans, fans or whatever.  Why not return the compliment with the clean towels you haven’t used and use your origami skill to fold it into something interesting.  This is bound to bring a smile to the cleaners face, and although you’ll never see it, you’ll have the knowledge that you have potentially brightened up somebody’s day. 

Raising Money

Springsteen Make origami models that have a particular association, meaning or relevance to a famous personality eg. a guitar for Bruce Springstein or a magic wand for David Copperfield. Invite the celebrity to autograph your model and then sell it or auction it off with any monies raised by this idea going to charity. If you state your intention to raise money for charity with his/her autographed model, then the celebrity may be more willing to help you out.

Football Shirt On a similar note make some origami football/rugby shirts and shorts and get the whole football/rugby team to sign either just one model or a separate one for each player. You could then sell or auction the model on a presentation board or just sell them as they are.

Valentine Heart Make some seasonal origami models and sell them on sites like Ebay or at fetes or fairs. Seasonal subjects to consider are valentine hearts for Valentines Day, Santa Claus for Christmas or little chicks for Easter. You could advertise them as potential tags for presents with any monies raised by this idea going to charity.

Greeting Card Make some beautiful origami ornaments, origami greeting cards or origami jewellery that could be used to brighten up the home or simply presented as gifts. Offer them to charity shops for free so that they can be sold to raise money for that particular charity. For some ideas on what to make, visit some online origami gift shops eg. http://www.oricraft.com/

Japanese Restaurant Contact Japanese restaurants in your area to see if they would like any origami models made for the purpose of being used as a gimmicky thing to be placed at each table, so as to draw custom into that restaurant. The restaurant customers would have the option to take the origami model home with them, which could then serve as a reminder for that customer to return to the restaurant. Any monies you charge for the service could be donated to charity.

Funeral This next idea should only be tried once and then only at a special occasion. Basically at your own funeral, instead of flowers, request that people be invited to donate whatever they can to ‘buy’ an origami model which have already been pre-made by your fair hand for just such an occasion. The models would be displayed out on a table at your funeral and for every ‘sale’/donation, a model would be handed over as a thank you gift. OK , so this is a bit morbid but people might donate more money to a charity or cause of your choice if they were getting something back in return for their money and particularly something that they could remember you by.

Raffle Ticket Holding a raffle? Why not make loads of little origami models and convert these into raffle tickets by writing a different number on each one. Each origami ‘raffle ticket’ number would have a corresponding traditional numbered ticket that would be placed in the tombola or hat. The novelty factor behind these ‘raffle tickets’ might increase the sales of the tickets, thereby increasing the monies raised for a charity or good cause. Sales could be potentially increased again if it is stated that there are 10 different models to collect, as this might appeal to an on-the-night impulse or urge from someone to collect all the different models. Of course the participants in the raffle get to keep the models which would hopefully serve as a reminder of the great night they had!

Children Folding Paper Lots of planning for charity events take place in organisers homes. To allow parents to participate in the planning without worrying about childcare, offer an easy origami workshop for kids to do in a neighbouring room. Use recycled paper to cut down on costs. Repeat the workshop at the event and ask for a small donation from each family, monies raised being donated to the charity event.

Pink Ribbon Invite school kids to become involved in a sponsored Foldathon to raise money for a particular cause or charity. Maybe pick a well known symbol from a cause as an origami subject eg. breast cancer pink ribbon and ask the kids to get sponsored for how many models they could make and fold in, say, two hours. In return for sponsoring them, the sponsors would get an origami pink ribbon or two (complete with safety pin on the reverse) as a thank you gift. This would beat a sponsored swim or walk any day as it’s different and the sponsors actually get something back in return for their hard earned cash.

Pink ribbon folding diagrams = http://www.ehow.com/how_4474661_make-origami-awareness-ribbon.html

Happy Birthday Create a range of origami greeting cards called ‘Say it with Origami’. On the front would be the message followed on the inside with an appropriate origami model relevant to the message. For example:

Front Card Message = ‘Hoppy' Birthday; Inside Card Model = Kangaroo.

Front Card Message = ‘Happy 60th Birthday You Old Dinosaur’ ; Inside Card Model = Dinosaur

Front Card Message = ‘Go on, it’s your Birthday. Make a Pig of yourself’; Inside Card Model = Pig

Sell these cards to raise money for charity or give them away to charity shops for them to sell.

Build A Beard Here’s an easy idea to raise money for charity, which is a tad off beat but which could be adapted to incorporate the art of origami. Make an origami face. Visit http://buildabeard.helloatto.com/ Select a beard of your choice. Print and stick or Photoshop it onto the origami face. Take a photo and email it to the site. $1 will then be donated to http://www.kiva.org/app.php on your behalf at no cost to you!

Money Origami Why not make something that is entirely folded from dollar bills or whatever your local currency is. These could then be donated to charity auctions or shops and would certainly attract a bit more of a novelty value than just an ordinary bit of paper.

Origami Tree Could the origami group you belong to liaise with a shopping centre or some other public place and install an Origami Holiday Tree at Christmas time. The tree would be decorated with all sorts of models, where people would be encouraged to toss some coins into a designated area in return hopefully for the pleasure they have received at looking at such a display. At the end of the display, perhaps the models could be given out freely to any one who wants one. Maybe this give-away event could be announced through the local media which in turn might generate a bit of interest in the display, which in turn might swell the coffers. All monies raised to go to charity. For an example of an Origami Holiday Tree, go to the American Museum of Natural History website.

Shop Window How often do you see a shop window display with origami in it. Apart from an origami specialist shop, probably never. Origami tends to turn heads when it’s on display and it’s precisely this point that could be pitched to a shop as a suggestion for an alternative window display. The angle here is that you could charge for this service and any monies raised to go to charity. The shop in return may get more people looking at its display so in the end it could be a win win situation for the shop, charity and origami.

Origami Hat Could you provide a service, providing origami models for a nominal charge where the monies raised, minus materials expenses, could be donated to charity. Some quickie suggestions could be:

       - making paper hats for kid’s parties.

       - making origami flowers, vases or cranes for weddings (click here for a link to somebody who is already doing this).

       - making origami animals, especially cats and dogs and selling them on behalf of an animal charity at vets or pet shops.

Fete Set up a stall at a fair stating that you’ll donate all profits to the organisation that is running the fair. Offer to make origami models from a person’s $1 note and then charge $1 for doing it.

SpeedgamersThere are a group of college kids called 'TheSpeedGamers' who play video game marathons and raise money for various charities. They just live stream the game series they are playing while individuals commentate the event while interacting with the chatting audience. The gamers have raised over $83,000 by playing video games and talking. What if origamists could do something similar but instead of gaming, perform a style of origami art and teach that style to others. It could be done on a marathon basis and people would be encouraged to donate money for the education / entertainment they are receiving.

HomelessCould you raise funds for homeless charities via hotel guests with the following idea.  Basically this idea revolves around leaving a little origami models in hotel/B&B or guesthouse rooms.  The model would be accompanied by a small information leaflet explaining that the origami model is theirs to keep, but if they wish to voluntarily donate a small amount of money to a local homeless charity then there will be a collection box at the reception.  Obviously you’ll need to liaise with the hotel establishment on this one as well as the homeless charity you’re raising money for.  Why a homeless charity?  Well, the monies raised are being donated by people who can afford a roof over their head (albeit on a temporary basis) for people who cannot afford a roof over their head.  This association could be used on the information leaflet and might be just the clincher that makes a hotel guest think about the circumstances of people who are not so fortunate as themselves.
Organisation suggestion - http://www.shelter.org.uk/

Health Benefits

Therapy Couch Are you a therapist or a psychiatrist dealing with someone on a one-to-one basis? Maybe you could teach them to fold a traditional crane, or a couple of other simple models. Then follow their lead in how to work it into their treatment and process it. Common themes to tackle in which origami might be useful could be frustration, mastery, hobbies, practice, transformation, etc. It has been found that most people in therapy feel very proud and a sense of accomplishment when completing an origami model. On top of that they have something to remember the therapy by. For more info on the use of origami in therapy visit http://sites.google.com/site/origamimind/home

Group Therapy How about group therapy. Try this idea, but be careful as this is not practical for all situations, as you'll discover. Instruct the group to fold a peace crane and then talk about it in terms of Sadako's story. Everyone could then make a wish for someone else with their crane, maybe even writing it on the inside of the paper. The cranes would then be burnt, where the burning would symbolize setting the wish free, ie. the model and words would become smoke which could go anywhere at anytime to reach the person it would be intended for. Maybe instead of a wish, you could use "What do you want to let go of?" It has been found that this is quite therapeutic in a group therapy session. For more info on the use of origami in therapy visit http://sites.google.com/site/origamimind/home

Folding Origami Do you work in the medical profession and come into contact with those who have had surgery or injuries to the hands. It has been found that origami helps patients regain control over their hand movements and helps build muscles. Patients find doing these “hand exercise” through origami is more rewarding than traditional physical therapy methods. For more information on the health benefits of origami, visit this site which gives a list of origami related research papers and books http://homepage.ntlworld.com/peterjohn.rootham-smith/newbibliog.htm

Wall of Origami Create a wall of origami in a hospital waiting room (ie. the one for friends and relatives of a patient) by sticking loads of origami models to a wall. Leave out pre-cut square paper and a set of instructions to make some simple origami models – the diagrams matching those that would be hanging on the wall. The reasoning behind all of this is to aid in relieving the anxiety that the friends and family will be feeling during such a distressing time by giving them something to do to distract their minds. On top of that, they could even present their finished models to the person they've come to visit and so hopefully bring a smile to that person as well. Model suggestions could be a traditional crane or a simple heart shape. Obviously, you'll need to liaise with the hospital on this one.

Causes / Campaigns

Sadako Monument Contact peace organisations to see whether they could make use of any symbols of peace in one of their marketing./promotion campaigns eg traditional crane so beloved of the Sadako Monument in Hiroshima's National Peace Park in Japan.

Organisation suggestion: http://www.peacedirect.org/

Tree Why not suggest to environmental campaign projects that an education pack could be devised to teach kids about the subject that the group is campaigning on. This pack could involve the inclusion of simple origami models that might educate and entertain the kids at the same time.

Organisation suggestion – http://www.ifaw.org/splash.php or http://www.foe.org/

Kiva Do you support a particular worthy cause and feel that it’s aims or message needs to be circulated more? Why not make an origami model and write a message on it inviting the reader to visit the website of the worthy cause. Leave it in a public place and people might be more inclined to pick up your origami model than just a piece of paper. They might even keep it and they might even visit the website. Suggestion for places to leave your models might be a public bus seat, inside a book in a public library, doctors, dentists, a café table - basically anywhere public. For greater publicity, why not think about making the model as large as you can and as a further suggestion, try and make the models represent the cause you're promoting, e.g. a crane with "our world deserves peace" written on it.

Organisation suggestion – http://www.kiva.org/ or http://www.thehungersite.com

Taxi Are you a taxi cab or a bus driver. You're already in a place where you're going to come across a lot of people. Hang an origami model suspended from your rear view mirror. People might ask questions about it. Give some away to those people that are curious about the model. As a tie-in to the previous idea, maybe you might like to write a message on it inviting the reader to visit the website of a worthy cause that is close to your heart.

Endangered Animal Hold a combined origami and painting competition where the subject matter is an endangered animal. Teach the kids to fold a simplified model of that animal and then ask them to research the animal. Based on their findings, ask them to draw a picture and incorporate the actual model within the drawing. This idea has a potential social impact as it might encourage a child to take an interest in the subject matter and you never know possibly participate for an organisation that helps endangered wildlife.

DoveHere's an alternative use of those 1000 cranes.  Could you setup a website, to spread the message of peace throughout the world.  Basically the idea revolves around delivering loads of origami cranes ie the symbol of peace to the houses around where you live.  Each model will have a message to unfold it, which would then reveal the web address.  The website will then explain and encourage people to make origami cranes and deliver them to the homes around where they live and therefore spread the message of peace.  The website will have an interactive map on it eg Frappr guest map, which would allow people to give details of themselves, where they’re delivered to and any special message they wish to convey.  This way, people from around the world will be able to see the map. The website will also contain instruction on how to fold an origami cranes as well as a downloadable crease pattern of a crane.

Miscellaneous Ideas

Newspaper Make lots of origami models out of discarded magazines or newspapers. Then give them away by standing in a city centre street, outside a supermarket or by setting up a stall. The angle on this giveaway is to encourage people to recycle goods a bit more by showing what can be done with just a piece of discarded paper. Maybe the models can be given away on behalf of recycle groups like Freecycle in order to encourage the more inquisitive people to look into these type of groups.

Charity The website http://www.goodwillgallery.co.uk/freecharityservices.htm has a section for people to offer their services for free to charities. The services could be in whatever form your skills or experience run to. Maybe you could offer to make some origami models for charities promotion/publicity campaign or whatever else a charity thinks it might make use of an origami model.

Origami Napkin If you’re visiting a restaurant, why not create an origami model out of the paper napkin that is present on the table. Hand it over to the waitresses or waiter for a quick smile. Even better would be to leave a tip in the gift of an origami model made from a $1 dollar note. Even better still would be to offer to decorate the restaurant's ceiling with origami models, just like this one at Spring Rolls Restaurant in New York.

Poppy day 11th November is normally recognised as Remembrance Day, Poppy Day, Armistice Day or Veterans Day and is a day to commemorate the sacrifice of members of the armed forces and civilians in times of war. Could the origami group you belong to liaise with the organisers of such occasions and arrange for origami cranes to be handed out to attending dignitaries at these events. The pitch here being that the crane, which is recognised as an international symbol of peace, would serve as a reminder that peace is much better than conflict.

Kittens Got any animal shelters near you? Why not offer to make some origami water bombs filled with some catnap for the kittens to play with. OK, so they’re not that durable but it’s an altruistic gesture that the people who run the animal shelters may just accept.

Social Actions

Wreath Could you help the grieving process that somebody goes through when somebody they know passes away. Maybe you could contact a funeral home or crematorium with a view to leaving simple origami hearts or cranes, in the reception area for anybody who wants to take one. The heart model would represent the love they had for that person whilst the crane would represent them lying at rest or peace. This may help somebody’s grief if they had one of these models at the funeral, as they represent some of the most powerful emotions that one can experience at a funeral. This is not intended to be a service that you charge for, but an altruistic gesture to assist in someone’s grieving process. If the funeral home or crematorium lets you do this then an explanatory notice by the models would be needed.

Sign LanguageOrigami could be used to enable people to communicate better with deaf people. There are various models out there that have been folded into the hand gestures as used in the Deaf Sign Language. Teaching kids or adults for that matter to fold one of these models, might enable them to remember a particular phrase or word in this language. This might help them out later on in life if they encounter someone who is deaf and potentially lead to a better understanding and appreciation of their predicament. Model suggestion = 'I Love You' by Robert W. Allen

Old People Home Do you work in a youth detention centre? Why not teach the youths who are awaiting a court date or placement to give something of themselves back to others in the community in which they committed their crimes. Maybe choose some seasonal themes as origami subjects and the easier the better as you’ll be teaching youths at beginners level of origami. Once made, these origami models could then be presented to old people’s homes/nursing homes in an attempt to brighten up their environment. Take pictures of models in-situ at the homes to take back to the youths to show the good they have just done. You never know, their perspective on life may change slightly after being involved in such an activity.

Big Issue Why not set up an initiative to make origami models and give them away to vendors of The Big Issue ie. the magazine that homeless people sell in order to gain enough money to get back on their feet again. These homeless people could give the models away for free with the magazine in the hopes that the freebie gimmicks might increase their sales. It’s a long shot but you never know, it might work. A model suggestion might be the traditional crane, only because it’s the most widely recognised symbol of origami by the general public. But then again, any type of model might work.

Blind People How about contacting your local blind institute with a view to teaching visually impaired people some simple origami models. Not everybody who is registered blind is actually totally blind and with origami being a tactile craft, you might just be introducing a visually impaired person to a new hobby, which they might not otherwise have realised they were capable of doing.

Prisoner Volunteer to teach origami to prison inmates as it has been found that the act of folding paper has the potential to decrease their level of anxiety. May also give some of the prison inmates the opportunity to fold origami models in order to give them as gifts to their other halves.

Hospital Spread some goodwill by inviting kids to make easily folded animals and then send them off to children’s hospital words. For greater involvement, let the kids choose which hospital to send to, from a list you’ve already prepared. Decorating, signing and even including a photo of themselves are all options for the kids to make their model seem like it has come from a friend. Suggest to the hospitals that these models could be used to decorate the meal trays for the hospitalised kids.

PhoneOrigami is a tactile hobby, which means that visually impaired people can pursue it.  Trouble is, models are folded from diagrams which visually impaired people find hard to read.  Could you descriptively describe the steps needed to fold the model so that visually impaired people can have the text spoken to them or printed out in braille.  The Brirtish Origami Society already has a scheme called ‘Over The Phone Folding’, whilst Rikki Donachie also is compiling a similar list called 'Origami for the Visually Impaired' which perhaps you might consider contributing to.

Past Projects to Inspire

Origami Wave ‘Making waves’ was an effort back in 2005 to remember the victims of the Indian Ocean Tsunami in late 2004 and to raise funds to help their community rebuild. Maybe this initiative could inspire you to adapt the idea to raise funds for a charity or cause close to your heart. Basically people were invited form all the world to fold Tom Hull’s wave design from the Ultimate Origami Book by John Morin with the goal of folding a wave for each life lost (that’s a lot of waves). Each model was then sent to a central collection point in Princeton, NJ, USA along with a donation of $1 per each wave sent. The money being then donated to CARE USA’s Earthquake and Tsunami Relief and Rehabilitation Fund. The waves were then assembled into a spectacular exhibit to form a huge multi coloured wave, rising up more than two storeys high and thus raising even more awareness for Tsunami Relief Fund. For pictures of exhibit see here http://www.origamitessellations.com/2005/05/21/origami-wave-2/ (scroll right down the bottom of the page).

1000 Cranes Students were inspired by the Sadako story to make 1000 cranes each and decorate the floors of a hospital wing caring for children who were suffering from the effects of cancer. Eventually these cranes went on to decorate a tree that was auctioned at an annual ‘Festival of Trees and Lights’, the proceeds of which benefitted cancer care at the hospital.


Tree of Hope The Tree of Hope was an initative to give individuals a way to join together to express hopes and intentions for the future of the global community we all live in. This was achieved by inscribing the wishes that were sent in by people onto thousands of original cranes which then adorned a Tree of Hope in San Francisco, City Hall.


Enloe Crane Project The Enloe Cancer Care in Chico, California launched the Enloe Cranes Project in 2005. It was a community wide effort to fold thousands of origami cranes, with the goals of increasing cancer awareness, teaching about prevention and creating a community of healing and support for cancer patients, their families and anyone touched by cancer. In the end, over 25,000 cranes were folded, which initially were displayed at a Cancer Prevention and Awareness Fair in Chico and then moved on to Cancer Centre where they continued to inspire patients and families undergoing treatment.


Brain Crane The Brain Crane Project was an initiative by Deacon Patrick Jones to spread awareness about brain injury. He asked individuals with traumatic brain surgery to join an effort in increasing awareness of brain injury by making an origami crane inscribed with a personal denotation or decoration if desired. The cranes were eventually displayed at the Congressional Brain Injury Awareness Fair on Capital Hill, USA.


Origami Rose Fly with Origami, Learn to Dream (F.O.L.D) was founded in the Summer of 2007 and its aims were to promote the entertainment and educational values of origami. It has two ongoing projects:

       - Orihime: Valentine Roses where the goal is to make 400 roses which are to be sold at the Toronto Western Hospital to raise funds.

       - Senbuzuru: One Thousand Paper Crane which invites the students body of the University of Toronto in folding 1,000 cranes. For every folded crane a $1 donation is hoped to be received with all proceeds going to an organisation with a specific cause as voted by the students of the University. Web link


Origami Whale In 2007, Greenpeace ran a ‘We love Japan, but whaling breaks our heart’ campaign. To support this message, whale lovers were invited to send in origami whales with love messages directed towards Japanese Foreign Minister Toro Asu. In the end over 20,000 whales were received which were then used as part of some outreach activities, after which they were eventually sent to the Japanese government to let them know how much people wanted to stop the whaling programme.


Origami Heart 3,000 origami hearts were used to construct Singapore’s largest national flag. It measured 6m x 4m and all of the hearts were folded by volunteers. The hearts contained well wishes from the public who pledged $2 donation. All monies raised via the initiative went to a home that supported children single parent or under privileged families.


Teaching Tolerance A Teaching Tolerance grant allowed special education students from Tradewind Middle School in Lake Worth, Florida to become ‘Peace Ambassadors’. As Peace Ambassadors, the students visited 14 classrooms at their school to discuss Sadako’s life and teach their peers how to make origami cranes. Students made more than 1,000 paper cranes, half of them draped the school, the other half was sent to the Sadako Peace Park in Seattle, Washington. At the end of it all it was stated that “the project eliminated the barriers that isolate special education students from the mainstream population.


Charity Flower Mission The Charity Flower Mission turns the junk mail of brochures magazines and catalogues into scented origami flowers which they then sell to the good public. 50% of all profits made are donated to three charity foundations as chosen by customers of the firm running the project ie. Green Dreams Collection.


Spectacled Bear Project

As part of the Origami Convention Colombia 2008, an Origami challenge was set up to design a Spectacled Bear. This challenge was open to everyone in the world and was called 'The Spectacled Bear War'. The Spectacled Bear is in serious danger of extinction and so this contest was set up not only to stimulate the creation of a magnificent Origami model, but also to encourage the protection of the Spectacled Bear and help organizations that are fighting to save this bear from imminent demise.

Peace Day

To promote Peace Day on 21st September, an art teacher in Florida, US taught his kids how to make origami cranes which were then assembled into an American flag one year and a concentric ring of cranes the next year.

Climate Week To promote Climate Week in New York City, US on September 20-21, 2009 an origami event was held with Dr Robert Lang entitled ‘ Trees of Life + Hope in the Climate Debate’. It took place in Greeley Square Park and was open to the general public to participate in origami activities whilst Dr. Robert Lang created a tropical forest origami installation. For pics of the event, click here

Hawaii Peace Day To celebrate and promote peace, a Peace Day Parade and Festival was held in Hawaii on 20th September, 2009. As part of the festival, a ‘Peace Banner’ of 1000 peace cranes (actually 1061)  was made to celebrate and promote peace, compassion, and awareness of global interdependence. It was intended that each crane would have a message written on its wings pertaining to peace. After the parade, it was intended that the Peace Banner would be exhibited in the local stores around Honokaa. For pics of the event, click here

Current Projects To Inspire Or Just Simply Requesting Models

Origami Whales Project The origami whale project http://www.peggy-oki.com/cu_origami.html is a campaign to highlight the plight of whales. It encourages participants to contribute a simple whale model (diagram available from the website) to Peggy Oki, the organiser of the event. These models are then collected for the 'Curtain of 32,000 Origami Whales' exhibit and displayed at various events. If this appeals to you, then you need to check out the website mentioned above.

Art Behind Bars Art Behind Bars: This initiative is requesting a donation of a piece of your artwork or handicraft (and origami is certainly covered by this) so they can be sold at various shows, the proceeds of which will help fund an ongoing innovative programme that is helping more than 7,500 inmates.


120313 Cranes The Paper Crane Peace Memorial Project was started by two 14 year old girls in 2008 with the hopes of folding 120,313 cranes each one representing a Japanese-American interned during World War II. It is their hope the Memorial they intend to create, will spread awareness of how we as humans must create peace and tolerance in our world. They would be greatly appreciative of any origami crane contribution.


Wedding Cranes The Chandelier of Cranes project, as run by the Wedding Co, plans to scour the globe for newly engaged couples to participate in the project by signing their names, wedding date and location on an origami crane. Every crane that is received by them will generate a donation of 50cents to cancer research. It is their aim to have collated 5000 cranes so they can be displayed at The Wedding Show in 2010


1000 Cranes Valentino Zubiri has an origami crane project where she invites people to send her origami cranes to which you can attach a symbol, memories, pictures, videos or poetry. It all started when three or her friends passed away of AIDS. Once she's collected the cranes she hopes to talk to individuals and organisations with a view to displaying them. Basically the cranes represent whatever you want it to represent, be it your dreams, depression, joy, sorrow, cause etc


Origami Peace Tree The Origami Peace Tree Project was first initiated by the International Art Partnership in 2000. People from all over the world fold origami models and send them to one place to be displayed in the form of a tree as a symbol of peace and multi cultural co-operation.


Fat Cranes 1000 Fat Cranes is a response to the Japanese governments decision to measure everyone’s waste. 1000 Fat Cranes asks the Japanese government to end the war on waistline and make peace with people of all sizes. Contribution of origami fat cranes are requested, all of which will be sent to the Japanese government outlining the above prejudices and discriminations of people of above average size.


Cranes for Cancer Cranes for Cancer is a project to provide baskets or vases of 1,000 cranes to cancer patients in an attempt to bring some hope and to uplift their spirits. You can help the project by (a) folding cranes and sending them to the organiser or (b) informing the organiser of a person who is in need of 1,000 paper cranes



AveuglamiThe Aveuglami Project (in french : Aveugles et Origami, which means Blind people and Origami) is devoted to the teaching of origami to Visually Impaired people. It started in september 2004. Some major points about Aveuglami today (2009) :
- around 20 visually impaired people attend origami workshops. They learn to fold very different models, from basic to modular ones. Some of them have become true folders, and create their own production, essentially through the use of modular origami.
- texts have been produced (called Diagram Free Folding (DFF) scripts) for more than 150 models. These texts are used as reminders, in order to help people to fold at home, without a teacher. They use these texts during the workshops, so that the vocabulary becomes familiar and understandable.
- braille printing is usually produced, for those people able to read braille. - some blind folders are used to teach origami to people attending to exhibits or workshops.
- experiments in teaching geometry to young blind children using some origami stuff have been achieved. The results were really impressive.

Folding Together The 'Folding Together' project brings together Israeli and Palestinian children from the Jerusalem area, to make origami. In their everyday lives, the children of the two sides never meet, perpetuating the cycle of ignorance, mistrust and fear of the other side. By bringing the children together in an atmosphere of fun and co-operative creativity by making origami, the cycle is broken and helps to move the peoples of this region towards a more positive, mutually respectful future.




Well, that's my ideas for making origami a more meaningful hobby - to me at least. If you have any more ideas, then please let me know by visiting my Contacts page.

Some of the ideas above were either inspired by or adapted from suggestions given by fellow folders via emails or forums. I am greatly indebted to these people for their contributions and only know them by their email or forum 'handles'. They are, in no particular order:

ted385 - The Origami Forum

ArmyTim - The Origami Forum

head shrinker - Origami Aficionados

ebilvampyre - Origami Aficionados

Dorothy Kaplan - The O List

Karen Reeds - The O List

Sue "Tsuru" Parker - The O List

Matt Birchard - The O List

Jaelle - The O List

Margery - The O List

Lisa_Hodsdon - The O List

Florence Temko - The O List

Michel Lucas - The O List

Apologies to anybody who I've missed out. It's not deliberate, it's just my age!


Prior Consent Diagrams

To make some of the ideas more accessible, I provide some links below to diagrams which people have very generously donated to this project. These models are provided on the basis that prior consent has already been given to use these models to benefit worthy causes, ie. you do not need to contact the creator of the model to ask for his/her permission to use it in any of the ideas above. If you'd like to contribute your models to this project, then please let me know by visiting my Contacts page.

All models - Mike Bright

Yellow Ribbon - Andrew Hudson

Eagle Ray by Paulius Mielinis: http://www.happyfolding.com/files/Mielinis-Eagle_Ray.pdf

Pleisiosaurus - Michael Secrist

All traditional models - David Petty

All models that are credited to Rikki Donachie on his website - Rikki Donachie