How to Make an Origami Flame

By Andrew Cross ; Updated April 12, 2017
Origami is an art form that can be used to make any animal shape.

Origami is the art of paper folding to make certain shapes that reflect real-life objects. Though the art of origami often involves a series of various repeating folds, some designs are much more difficult than others. An origami flame is a fairly difficult construction for beginners because of the small folds that take place toward the end of the shape.

Fold the paper from corner to corner to make a diagonal line, and then unfold the paper. Then fold the opposite corners together and unfold the paper again to form a cross. Now fold one side of the paper across to the other, forming a rectangle. Open the paper and fold the other sides to meet each other. Open the paper again.

Fold the paper into 16 squares by folding each side into the middle and then back out. Then fold an "x" in each square by folding diagonals in each direction across each row of squares.

Look at the paper, which now has 16 squares of equal size. Focusing on the four squares that make up the center of the paper, pinch around the four sides of the larger square. Fold down the extra paper to the outside of each edge. Take the remaining square and hold it in a diamond shape, with one point facing up, one down, one left and one right. While holding the square so that the excess paper is in front of you and the square is facing away, pinch the square in half at the middle and fold the top half, or triangle, over the bottom half. Open the square, and then replicate that fold by crossing the left half of the shape over the right. Open the square.

Poke the middle of each of the four sides of the square with your finger, and push inward until they touch in the middle. The result is a starburst-like shape. Collapse the top and bottom sides into the left and right side, and you have a figure that resembles a gemstone. If you relax your hold on the paper, the gemstone will reveal an accordionlike folding in the middle and a gemstone on the reverse side.

Hold the gemstone shape flat in front of you. Rotate it upright and turn it so the slim part is facing you; in other words, if someone was sitting around the table at a 45-degree angle from you, he would be able to see the full face of the shape. Take one of the bottom corners of the gemstone and fold it into the accordion in the middle of the figure. The fold should reach the center of the object; this will happen naturally, as you won't be able to fold it over the halfway point without causing damage to the figure. This inverse fold--folding to the interior rather than the exterior of the shape--gives the exterior figure an edge. Ignoring the top point of the diamond, which has the long sides extending from it, fold in the other three corners in the same manner. The remaining shape looks like a house from above with a flap like an origami frog. Fold the top and bottom over the middle so you are left with a rectangle.

Fold the eight edges into the figure. The result is four identical triangles stacked on top of one another. Take each of the 12 corners--three corners times four stacked triangles--inside the triangle, and fold them to meet the top. Fan out the corners like pinwheels, and you're left with an origami flame.

About the Author

Andrew Cross began writing professionally in 2007 and now works full-time at a Chicago-based public relations agency. He has also served as a reporter, editor, columnist and freelance public relations consultant for several agencies and publications. Cross holds a Bachelor of Arts in public relations from Illinois State University.