How to Make an Origami Soccer Ball

By Lane Cummings
While your origami ball will be for display only, it will look a lot like the real thing.

While some people think that origami is just for creating flowers and animals, origami truly does allow you to create a near endless array of objects and items, from samurai swords to soccer balls. Even though it will just have a decorative function, creating an origami soccer ball is a suitable homemade gift for a soccer fan or player. It even makes a great alternative greeting card for a sports fan that they will most likely keep forever.

White Pieces

Lay a piece of printing paper in front of you horizontally. Fold the left side of the paper over to the right side, creating a crease that goes vertically through the middle.

Press down firmly on this crease. Split the paper in two equal halves along this crease. Set one half aside. Lay the other half in front of you vertically. Fold the left side over to the right side, creating a long vertical fold through the middle of this piece.

Unfold the crease. Turn the piece so that it is in front of you horizontally. Hold the top left corner down with one finger. Pull the bottom left corner inward toward the middle. Make a crease. Unfold it.

Take the bottom right corner and fold it up and across to the top left corner, lining it up with the crease you just made. Make a firm crease. Tear away the excess flaps along the creases that you made until you have an equilateral triangle with a horizontal fold through the top.

Turn the triangle so that the top point of the triangle is the one directly above the horizontal fold. Pull the right corner of the triangle inward to the left, lining it up beneath the horizontal fold and making a firm crease. Unfold it. Repeat with the left corner.

Turn the triangle again so that it is in its original position. Fold the top point down along its crease. Keeping it folded down along that crease, pull its top point up to the right side of the crease. Holding it there, make a new crease. You now have a skinny triangle out of this corner of your larger triangle. Turn your piece and repeat this step with the other two corners of the triangle.

Tuck the last skinny triangle that you made inside the other flaps. You now have a smaller equilateral triangle. Press down the fold of this triangle firmly. Fold each of the three points inward to the center, making a strong fold.

Repeat these steps 19 more times with your remaining pieces of white paper. When finished you should have 20 white pentagrams with pockets and flaps.

Black Pieces

Lay a piece of 5-by-4-inch paper in front of you horizontally. Fold the left side over to the right side, making a vertical fold that runs through the middle.

Turn the paper so that the horizontal crease that you just made is at the bottom. Pull the top right corner of the top flap down and to the left so that you create a diagonal crease with that top flap.

Pull the very top of the top right corner that you just folded down up to the bottom crease so that it is in line with the bottom crease, making a little triangle. This little triangle should look like it is inside an obtuse triangle which is inside a rectangle.

Turn the piece over. Fold the lower left corner of the triangle along the left side of the obtuse triangle. Flip the piece back over. Grab underneath the obtuse triangle and pull it up and folding it down. This will reveal a diamond with a skinny triangle sticking out the right side of it.

Turn the piece over and fold that skinny triangle down along the top right side of the diamond. Turn the piece over to reveal your perfect diamond shape. Pull the top flap of your diamond shape downward.

Fold the bottom point of this diamond shape up to the right so that the bottom left side of the diamond lines up with the horizontal fold that runs through the middle of the diamond. Unfold it. Take this same bottom point of the diamond and fold it up to the left so that the bottom right side of the diamond lines up with the horizontal fold that runs through the middle of the diamond. Unfold it. You've now created two little crease marks on the lower right and left sides of the diamond.

Pull the far left point of the diamond in toward the crease mark that is on the lower right side of the diamond. Don't make a firm crease. Unfold it. Pull the far right point of the diamond in towards the crease mark that is on the lower left side of the diamond. Don't make a firm crease. Unfold it. You should be able to see a slight pentagon at the bottom of the diamond.

Turn the piece over and fold the bottom half of the diamond up to the top half of the diamond, along the middle horizontal fold. Make a firm crease. You now have a triangle shape. Tuck all the flaps that are sticking out along this triangle inside, on the interior of the fold.

Turn your piece so that the longest side of the triangle, the crease, is at the top and the point of the triangle is pointing down. Fold the left point of the triangle inward 1/2 inch and then unfold it. Push down on the crease at the top of this left point until it is pushed completely inward and you cannot see it, thus creating a reverse fold. Fold the remaining left side in toward the center. Repeat these steps with the right point of the triangle. You now have a pentagon with flaps and pockets.

Repeat these steps 11 more times with your remaining black pieces of paper. When finished, you will have 12 pentagons with flaps and pockets.

Putting It All Together

Pick up a back pentagram and stick each of its three flaps into the pocket of three separate white pieces. Take two white pieces and stick one of each of their flaps into the remaining two sides of the black pentagon. The pentagon should be surrounded be white pieces. Think of it as a flower with a black center and white petals.

Stick the flaps of a black pentagon between each "petal" of the flower. Surround each black pentagram with a white pentagram in the same manner that you just did. Thus you're making interconnected "flowers" with black centers and white petals. Connect a black pentagram between each of the white petals.

Continue building interconnected flowers in this manner until you use up all of your petals. Gently squeeze the ball together, making sure the pieces are well-interconnected.

About the Author

Lane Cummings is originally from New York City. She attended the High School of Performing Arts in dance before receiving her Bachelor of Arts in literature and her Master of Arts in Russian literature at the University of Chicago. She has lived in St. Petersburg, Russia, where she lectured and studied Russian. She began writing professionally in 2004 for the "St. Petersburg Times."