How to Make an Origami Tiger: A Step-by-Step Guide

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How to Make an Origami Tiger: A Step-by-Step Guide

Origami, the Japanese art of paper folding, is a fun and meditative activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll embark on a journey to create a majestic origami tiger. Whether you’re a seasoned origami enthusiast or a complete beginner, follow along as we unravel the mysteries of folding techniques and transform a simple square of paper into a roaring tiger.

Origami tigers are a symbol of strength, courage, and confidence in many cultures. With their striking black and white stripes, they embody the beauty and power of the wild. By crafting your origami tiger, you’ll not only hone your folding skills but also bring a touch of untamed nature into your surroundings.

Before we dive into the step-by-step instructions, let’s gather our materials. All you need is a square piece of paper and a watchful eye. You can use any color or pattern you like, but traditional origami tigers are crafted from white or yellow paper to resemble the tiger’s fur.

how to make an origami tiger

Follow these six key steps to create your origami tiger:

  • Square start
  • Diagonal folds
  • Reverse folds
  • Open the pockets
  • Form the head
  • Add details

With patience and attention to detail, you’ll soon have a stunning origami tiger to display or gift.

Square start

The foundation of your origami tiger begins with a precise square start. This initial step ensures that your folds are symmetrical and your tiger takes shape beautifully.

To achieve a perfect square, follow these steps:

  1. Obtain a rectangular piece of paper. The aspect ratio of the rectangle should be 2:1 (length to width).
  2. Fold the paper in half lengthwise. Crease the fold sharply and then unfold.
  3. Fold the paper in half widthwise. Again, crease the fold firmly and unfold.
  4. You should now have two intersecting crease lines dividing the paper into four equal quadrants.
  5. Fold the paper diagonally from one corner to the opposite corner. Crease the fold well and unfold.
  6. Repeat step 5 for the other diagonal.

After completing these steps, you will have a square base with eight crease lines. This square start is the starting point for numerous origami models, including our majestic origami tiger.

Now that you have mastered the square start, you are ready to embark on the journey of folding your origami tiger. Let’s proceed to the next step, where we will create the diagonal folds that shape the tiger’s body.

Diagonal folds

With the square start as our foundation, we now venture into the realm of diagonal folds. These folds will shape the body of our origami tiger, giving it a sense of movement and dynamism.

  • Fold the square in half diagonally.

    Bring the bottom right corner to the top left corner and crease the fold sharply. Unfold the paper.

  • Fold the square in half diagonally the other way.

    Bring the top right corner to the bottom left corner and crease the fold. Unfold again.

  • Fold the square in half horizontally.

    Bring the top edge to the bottom edge and crease the fold. Unfold.

  • Fold the square in half vertically.

    Bring the right edge to the left edge and crease the fold. Unfold once more.

After completing these diagonal and horizontal/vertical folds, you will have a square with multiple intersecting crease lines. These creases will guide us as we transform the flat square into the three-dimensional form of our origami tiger.

Reverse folds

As we continue our origami tiger journey, we encounter the technique of reverse folds. These folds will add depth and dimension to our tiger’s body, creating a more realistic and striking appearance.

  • Reverse fold along the horizontal crease.

    Locate the horizontal crease in the center of the square. Fold the top half of the paper down and the bottom half up, meeting at the crease. Crease the reverse fold sharply.

  • Reverse fold along the vertical crease.

    Find the vertical crease in the center of the square. Fold the right half of the paper to the left and the left half to the right, meeting at the crease. Crease the reverse fold firmly.

  • Reverse fold along the diagonal crease from top right to bottom left.

    Identify the diagonal crease running from the top right corner to the bottom left corner. Fold the top right section down and the bottom left section up, aligning them along the crease. Crease the reverse fold neatly.

  • Reverse fold along the diagonal crease from top left to bottom right.

    Locate the diagonal crease running from the top left corner to the bottom right corner. Fold the top left section down and the bottom right section up, meeting at the crease. Crease the reverse fold precisely.

These reverse folds have transformed the flat square into a dynamic shape that resembles the body of a tiger. We are now ready to open the pockets and shape the tiger’s head in the next steps of our origami adventure.

Open the pockets

As we delve deeper into the art of origami tiger folding, we encounter the crucial step of opening the pockets. These pockets will form the legs and tail of our tiger, bringing life and movement to the model.

  • Locate the two pockets on the bottom of the model.

    Turn the model upside down and identify the two flaps at the bottom. These are the pockets that will become the tiger’s legs.

  • Open the first pocket.

    Gently pull the flap of the first pocket outward, creating a triangular shape. Crease the fold along the edges of the triangle.

  • Repeat step 2 for the second pocket.

    Open the second pocket in the same way, pulling the flap outward and creasing the edges of the resulting triangle.

  • Locate the pocket on the top of the model.

    Turn the model right side up and find the flap at the top. This pocket will become the tiger’s tail.

With the pockets opened, our origami tiger is starting to take shape. The legs and tail add a sense of dynamism and movement, bringing us closer to completing our majestic creation.

Form the head

As we approach the final stages of crafting our origami tiger, we now focus on shaping the head, the most distinctive and expressive part of the model.

To form the head:

  1. Fold the top flap down.
    Locate the top flap of the model and fold it downwards, aligning the edges with the diagonal creases on either side.
  2. Unfold the top flap partially.
    Unfold the top flap slightly, creating a small triangular flap at the top.
  3. Fold the sides of the head inward.
    Fold the right and left sides of the head inward, aligning them with the center crease. Crease the folds sharply.
  4. Fold the bottom corners of the head upward.
    Fold the bottom corners of the head upward, creating two triangular ears.

With the head now formed, our origami tiger is almost complete. In the next step, we will add the final details to bring our majestic creation to life.

As you work on shaping the head, pay close attention to the angles and proportions. The head should be slightly elongated and have a distinct triangular shape. The ears should be sharp and pointed, adding to the tiger’s fierce expression.

Add details

With the basic structure of our origami tiger complete, it’s time to add the finishing touches that will bring it to life. These details will capture the tiger’s unique features and make it a truly stunning creation.

  • Draw the tiger’s eyes.

    Using a black marker or pen, draw two small, round eyes near the top of the head. Add a white dot in each eye to create a glint of light.

  • Fold the ears forward.

    Gently fold the ears forward, creating a more dynamic and alert expression for the tiger.

  • Add stripes to the tiger’s body.

    Using a black marker or pen, draw thin, curved lines along the tiger’s body to represent its iconic stripes. Be creative and vary the thickness and length of the stripes.

  • Draw the tiger’s nose and mouth.

    On the front of the head, draw a small triangular nose and a curved line for the mouth. Add a few whiskers on each side of the nose to complete the tiger’s face.

As you add these details, take your time and pay attention to the proportions and placement of each element. The eyes, stripes, and facial features should all work together to create a cohesive and realistic representation of a tiger.


Whether you’re a seasoned origami enthusiast or just starting your folding journey, you may have some questions about this fascinating art form. Here are some frequently asked questions and their answers to help you:

Question 1: What is origami?
Answer 1: Origami is the Japanese art of paper folding. It involves transforming a flat sheet of paper into a three-dimensional sculpture through a series of folds and techniques.

Question 2: Is origami difficult to learn?
Answer 2: Origami can range from simple folds suitable for beginners to complex designs that challenge even experienced folders. However, with patience, practice, and following clear instructions, anyone can learn and enjoy origami.

Question 3: What kind of paper is best for origami?
Answer 3: Origami paper is specially designed for folding and is typically thin, strong, and easy to manipulate. However, you can also use regular printer paper or other types of paper, depending on the project and desired outcome.

Question 4: Where can I find origami instructions?
Answer 4: There are numerous resources available for learning origami, including books, websites, online tutorials, and social media groups. You can also find origami classes and workshops in many cities.

Question 5: Can I create my origami designs?
Answer 5: Absolutely! Once you have mastered the basics, you can let your creativity flow and design your origami pieces. Experiment with different folds, patterns, and paper types to bring your unique ideas to life.

Question 6: How can I improve my origami skills?
Answer 6: Practice regularly and challenge yourself with new and more complex folds. Pay attention to precision and accuracy in your folding. Studying the works of renowned origami artists and learning from their techniques can also help you refine your skills.

Whether you’re looking to create traditional origami models or explore your artistic side with original designs, the world of origami offers endless possibilities for creativity and enjoyment.

Now that you have a better understanding of origami, let’s explore some helpful tips to enhance your folding experience.


Embarking on your origami journey? Here are some practical tips to help you fold with ease and enjoyment:

Tip 1: Start with simple projects.
Begin your origami adventure with beginner-friendly models. These simpler folds will help you grasp the basics and build your confidence before tackling more intricate designs.

Tip 2: Use high-quality paper.
Choosing the right paper can make a significant difference in your origami experience. Opt for origami paper or other thin, crisp paper that holds creases well. Experiment with different types and colors to find what suits your folding style.

Tip 3: Work in a clean and organized space.
A tidy workspace can contribute to a more enjoyable and productive origami session. Ensure you have ample space to fold comfortably and keep your materials organized. This will help you stay focused and avoid losing track of your folds.

Tip 4: Practice patience and precision.
Origami requires patience and precision to achieve accurate and beautiful results. Take your time with each fold, ensuring it is crisp and aligned. Rushing through the process can lead to mistakes and frustration. Embrace the meditative aspect of origami and enjoy the journey of creating something unique.

Whether you’re a novice or an experienced folder, these tips can help you enhance your origami skills and create stunning paper sculptures.

As you continue your origami journey, remember to explore different folding techniques, experiment with new designs, and let your creativity shine through. The world of origami offers endless possibilities for artistic expression and personal growth.


As you embark on your origami journey, remember that the beauty of this art form lies in its simplicity and versatility. With a single sheet of paper, you can create intricate and awe-inspiring sculptures that capture the imagination.

From traditional Japanese models to contemporary designs, the world of origami offers endless possibilities for exploration and creativity. Whether you prefer to follow instructions or design your creations, origami allows you to express yourself and challenge your folding skills.

Embrace the meditative nature of origami. Take your time with each fold, savor the process, and let go of any expectations. The journey of creating an origami piece is just as rewarding as the final product.

As you progress in your origami practice, don’t be afraid to experiment and push the boundaries of your creativity. Share your creations with others, learn from fellow folders, and immerse yourself in the vibrant origami community.

Remember, the art of origami is a continuous journey of learning, discovery, and self-expression. Embrace the challenge, enjoy the process, and let your imagination soar.

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