How to Make an Origami Leopard

By Madeline Masters ; Updated September 15, 2017

Things Needed

  • Square origami paper
  • Scissors
An origami leopard would fit well in this menagerie.

You can make a representation of just about any living thing with origami. An origami leopard makes an excellent addition to a jungle-themed origami collection. While it is one of the more complicated origami figures to fold, the leopard will add a unique and exotic touch to any origami menagerie. Choosing leopard-print origami paper will make it clear which big cat you've created.

Start with a square piece of origami paper, white side up, with one of the corners pointing toward you, like a diamond shape.

Fold the paper in half, bringing the left corner to meet the right corner, crease, and unfold.

Fold the left and right corners inward until the lower left and right edges meet along the center crease. The paper should now resemble a kite.

Flip the paper over so the colored side is up.

Fold the bottom point upward until it meets the top point, and crease.

Fold the bottom point downward again, but at an angle toward the right, so the left edge forms a straight horizontal plane along the bottom edge of the paper. There should now be a "tail" triangle protruding from the front bottom right corner of the paper.

Fold the right side toward the back of the paper, along the existing creases. The top will fold along the center crease, and the "tail" will fold along its diagonal crease.

Rotate the paper 90 degrees to the left. You should see a quadrangle on the left side and a triangle on the right side.

Open the triangle on the right side, and fold its top point downward and inward, until it meets the lower point of the triangle, in a reverse inward fold. Then, fold the bottom point up under itself and about halfway up toward the top of the triangle.

Fold the topmost corners of the right-hand triangle downward and back, then up again, but not all the way -- making the leopard's ears.

Fold the top corner of the quadrangle downward and forward, so it meets the left-hand edge, but stop before it meets the bottom left corner. Crease, then unfold.

Fold the top left corner of the quadrangle forward again, but this time, using a much smaller fold that is angled to the left. The corner should now protrude out to the left of the quadrangle. Re-open this fold.

Open the quadrangle toward you, fold the large fold in a reverse inward fold, then lift out the small fold you just made, creating a tail for the leopard. Re-close the quadrangle.

Cut a small section out of the bottom of the quadrangle. Cut up, then toward the right, then down, so you have one leg for the leopard on either side of the cut.

Does your leopard look like this?

Add eyes, a nose and whiskers to the face area. Draw on some spots (if you have used plain paper), and your leopard is complete. Your leopard should be looking at you, with the tail facing to the left.

Tip

Use leopard-print paper, and you won't need to add your own spots.

In origami, a "mountain fold" means folding the paper away from you along a straight edge, and "valley" means folding it toward you along a straight edge.

To make an inside reverse fold, start with paper that is already folded in half. Then, create a diagonal crease, reopen it, then the fold the top edge inward and downward, creating a three-dimensional figure.

Warning

Over-creasing the folds can weaken the paper, and the finished product may not be able to stand up on its own.

About the Author

Madeline Masters works as a dog walker and professional writer. In the past she has worked as a fitness columnist, fundraising copywriter and news reporter. Masters won two Pennsylvania Newspaper Association Awards in 2009. She graduated from Elizabethtown College with a Bachelor of Arts in English.