How to Make an Origami Tray

If you're at a movie theater with many friends but only one bag of popcorn, you can easily share the food with everyone simply by making trays with the napkins. Origami trays are one of the easier origami projects to do, but they are very practical and fun. With just one sheet of paper and a few folds, you can make decorative trays for almost any occasion.

Initial Folds

Divide the paper into four equally sized squares. You can do this by folding the paper in half once along each side.

Fold each of the corners of the square inwards so that the tip is touching the center. You should end up with a square paper with diagonals touching the corners.

Fold the sides of the paper toward the center so that the length of an entire side runs parallel to the dividing center line. Your paper should be a long, vertical rectangle with two long, thin flaps on either side.

Fold the upper and lower sides toward the center, making sure that the entire length of the side runs parallel to the horizontal center line of the paper. You should now have a smaller square that is split in half by an upper and lower fold.

Unfold your work from the previous two and a half steps, leaving behind only two folded corners. Your paper should now look like a flattened hexagon with two flaps on the left and right sides. There should be six angles: two Thin corners and two Wide corners on either side.

Place your finger beneath the upper left Wide corner, and push it towards the center of the upper flap. As you do this, the upper and left flaps will start to come together and form the first two walls of the tray. A diagonal crease will appear between the upper and left flaps.

Crease along this diagonal to finish making the corner between the upper and left sides.

Repeat steps 6 and 7 for the other three Wide corners. You should have finished making all four walls of the tray.

Fold the upper and lower flaps inward so that the triangular parts fit perfectly at the bottom of the tray.


  • If you want to make an ashtray, use aluminum foil or any heat-resistant paper with your box. To make larger boxes, start with a larger square.


About the Author

Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, My Ngoc To has worked with various publications for over five years. She has published work in "Aerie International," "Pegasus Magazine," the "Harvard Crimson" and the "Harvard Advocate." To is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in social studies at Harvard University.