Origami Challenge: A Dragon

This week Emm challenged me to try to create an origami dragon without looking at any instructions. I haven’t tried origami since I was a kid, but I accepted her challenge.

After a bit of research, I decided I was going to aim to reverse engineer this masterpiece:

A photo of a good origami dragon.

It was created by the origami genius Satoshi Kamiya, and was ironically found on the Epic Fail website. I didn’t read anything about it before starting so was unaware that it was actually made out of a single sheet of thin paper. My version used 2 sheets of A4. I started by turning the A4 into squares, thusly:

make squares

The wings seemed like a good place to start. Just a triangle with some folds, right? I ripped the square in half diagonally, and added folds. They didn’t turn out quite the same, but I figured they were close enough.


Next I had a go at making a tail. The original dragon’s tail looked very complex. After staring at it for a bit, I grabbed the small scrap rectangle of paper left over from the wings, made it into a sort of fan thing, wrapped it around a pen to get a cone shape, then fastened it with a bit of tape.


Again, not quite the same, but close enough.

I had a bit more luck with the head. I used the scrap rectangle from the other big square, which I divided into three, for no reason other than I thought it looked useful this way. I decided to make the square into the head.


I folded the square a bunch of times until it vaguely resembled a dragon head, then biroed on some eyes to make it extra face-like.


Of course it wouldn’t be complete without that cool crest thing that Satoshi Kamiya’s dragon has, which is what one of the other pieces of scrap rectangle got used for.

I halved it again and used a fork as a guide to cut three roughly straight, roughly equal-lengthed lines in the paper, then curled them round the fork and twisted them to make them more 3D. After that I folded the base into a triangle hoping to slot it into the head. It kept falling off so I used more duct tape.


Next I needed to create the body. I thought I was along the right lines with the neck, but got stuck when it came to the arms and legs.


At this point I was getting impatient so decided it didn’t need arms or legs. Time to tape it all together and add the final finishing touch: Fire breath!


And that’s how you make an epic origami dragon with no instructions or skills.

Special Announcement!

This blog post comes with a free download – a picture of a dragon that you can print out and force your kids to colour in. It’s what you’ve always wanted, I’m sure.


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