Origami – Bulky Bowl or Box

Text only origami instructions for blind crafters and friends compiled by Lindy Van der Merwe, April 2010. Adapted by Lisamaria Martinez 2020.

What You Should Know

  • Paper to be used: Rectangular, any size
  • Folding level: Beginner+
  • Steps: 12


Step 1

Place a rectangular piece of paper down on a hard, flat surface, with the short edges at the top and bottom and the long edges on the left and right.

If using two-sided origami paper, lay your paper with the patterned or colored side down before starting to fold.

Step 2

Fold the bottom edge over to meet the top edge. Crease and leave folded.

Step 3

Fold the left edge to meet the right edge. Crease well and leave folded.

You will now have a rectangular model comprising 4 layers. Make sure that your new, smaller rectangle is once again positioned with the short edges at the top and bottom and that you are able to distinguish 4 separate layers of paper at the top right corner of the model.

Step 4

Next, grasp the bottom right corner of the rectangle, the two top layers only, and fold it upwards and to the left to meet the left edge of the rectangle. The bottom edge will come up to lie straight along the left vertical edge of the model. Crease well and unfold.

You will still have a rectangle, but now with a diagonal valley crease running from the bottom left corner to the right edge of the model.

Step 5

Turn the model over like turning the pages of a book and repeat on the other side but in the opposite direction–folding the bottom left point of the model upwards to lie along the right vertical edge of the rectangle. Crease and unfold. The result will now be a rectangle with a diagonal crease running from the bottom right corner to the left edge of the model.

NOTE: Detailed instructions for performing Steps 6 and 7 can be found at the end of Step 12. Please refer to the detailed instructions if you need help with these two steps.

Step 6

Turn the model over once again like turning the pages of a book. Your rectangle should be oriented such that the short edges are at the top and bottom, and the upper right corner of your rectangle should have 4 layers of paper.

Start to open the right side of the model by grasping the top right corner of the paper, top layer only, and pulling the paper you have lifted towards the left as far as it will go. The previous fold you made should allow the bottom of the model to spread out and form into a fairly large triangular shape. 

Press flat.

While performing this step be sure to hold down the two bottom layers at the right side of the model. What was the right top corner of the model will move and become the left top corner. What was the bottom horizontal edge of the model, top layer only, when lifted, shifted, and flattened, will become a vertical mountain crease which bisects a downward pointing triangle.

Step 7

Turn your model over like turning the pages of a book. Repeat step 6 on the other side but in the opposite direction–pulling the top left corner towards the right. Just like before, the previous folds you made should allow the bottom of the model to spread out and form into the same triangular shape created in the previous step. Press flat.

Your model will now consist of a large bottom triangle pointing towards you and two rectangular parts at the top which should be divided at the vertical center of the model.

Step 8

Next, fold the left side, top layer only, over to meet the right side of the model. It should feel like you are turning a page of a book.

Now, flip the entire model over like turning the pages of a book. Your model should be 3 layers thick on the left side and 1 layer thick on the rightside. 

Once again, fold the left side, top layer only, over to meet the right side of the model. Your model should now be symmetrical.

The surface of your model will now be smooth on both the front and back sides.

Step 9

Fold both the far left and far right top edges of the model, top layer only, inwards so they meet at the center vertical crease line. Crease and leave folded.

Flip the model over like turning the pages of a book and repeat on the other side.

After this step you should be able to distinguish 3 different parts of your model when it is lying flat on your folding surface. At the top, there should be two rectangles lying next to each other forming a larger rectangular flap that is 2 layers thick.Beneath the rectangles, there should be two triangles with points meeting at the center vertical crease. At the bottom there should be a large diamond shape with its point facing you.

The outside shape of the model will resemble an upside-down house.

Step 10

Locate the large rectangular flap at the top of the model and fold it downwards in half so that the top edge touches the top edge of the triangles located at the center of the model.

If need be, repeat this fold once or twice as far as the paper will allow.

Press flat and crease well.

Flip the model over like turning the pages of a book and repeat on the other side.

These last folds will create narrow strips of paper which will form the flat handles on two sides of your bowl.

Step 11

Now, fold the triangle at the bottom of the model up so its point reaches the top edge and crease well and unfold.

Flip the model over like turning the pages of a book and repeat on the other side. This will form the square bottom of the bowl when it is opened.

Step 12

Pick up your model and hold it with the point facing away from you. Grasp the handles that were formed in step 10. Slide your thumbs into the inside of the box while gently pulling in opposite directions. The bowl should open into a fairly deep square shape with two handles opposite of each other. 

Reinforce the corners and press the bottom flat if necessary. To flatten the bottom, simply push the point up and into the bowl.

Detailed Instructions for Performing Steps 6 & 7

Step 6: Make sure your model is once again positioned with the short sides at the top and bottom with the diagonal valley crease running from the bottom left corner to the right edge of the model. The upper right corner of your rectangle should have 4 layers of paper.A. Initial positioning of fingers and thumb: On the right, bottom corner of your model, you will have the 4 layers of paper forming two separate pockets that have been folded during previous steps. You can slide your fingers into these pockets if you feel at the bottom right corner of the model. Think of these two pockets as a top and bottom layer. The top layer or pocket is nearest you and the bottom layer is against your folding surface. For step 6, the bottom pocket will stay flat on the folding surface and you will be working with the top pocket only.

You are not going to do a folding action but rather a lifting and shifting of the paper. When it is at a certain point you will be pressing it flat into a triangular shape.

Place your right hand so it is resting on the bottom pocket–in between the two pockets. You are going to hold the bottom pocket in place. If need be, put something heavy in between your two pockets so the bottom one stays put. This way you have two hands to work with when doing step 6.

I will use the term “pocket” as the paper is made up of two layers that have been joined by a valley fold.

Slide one or two fingers of one hand just inside the pocket at the bottom right corner of your model. Your thumb should be placed right on the very bottom of the model–on the horizontal fold. Hold the paper like this when you do the actual step. It is the grip you might use to turn the pages of a book; and the action is similar as well.Remember that you are working with the top pocket only and you are holding the bottom pocket flat on the table.

You are now ready to do the actual step. At this point, the model still looks just like a 4 layered rectangle.
B. Lifting and shifting: With your fingers and thumb holding the paper firmly, move your hand in an upwards arc to the left, like you are turning the page of a book. Because you are holding your fingers inside what used to be a pocket, though, you will notice that, as you start to lift the paper, the two layers of the pocket are starting to move away from each other. Keep moving your hand like you are going to turn the page of a book.

Stop the movement in mid-air when you think you have moved 90 degrees from your folding surface. At this point, you will have a two-layered rectangle on the right, flat on the table and at a 90 degree angle, perpendicular to your folding surface, you will have two flaps, hanging loose towards the left and right, farthest away from you. It will sort of feel like a round pocket is starting to form near where you are still holding the paper and you will actually be able to place more fingers straight down into the pocket as you are reaching 90 degrees.

Next, start to spread your fingers outward from where you are holding the model in the air.C. Flattening: The final movement for this step is a flattening and spreading of the paper. Move your hand and the paper away from yourself and towards the table, thus flattening the paper into a triangle. You will be moving in an arc forward and downward while still holding your paper. The two loose points will sort of roll around as you flatten the paper and a triangle will form.

Don’t be afraid to fiddle with the paper a little. If need be, flatten the paper on the inside of the large pocket that will be forming. It might just be necessary to lend a helping hand for the paper to lie flat.

Another way to think of it, is that the crease you were holding with thumb and fingers that was the horizontal bottom of the model has now moved into a vertical position. The paper on both sides of this crease has spread out to the left and right into the large pocket I have described. Put another way, the horizontal crease is opened and rotated until it is vertical and then it is flattened again in a vertical position. At the same time, the diagonal valley folds spread to the sides and when the step is complete, the valley creases have become mountain creases, forming the left and right sides of the large, wide triangle.

On the right side of your model you should still have the rectangle which you have been holding down. It has been undisturbed throughout this step. It will be lifted and shifted in a similar manner when you turn the model over in the next step.

Step 7: For Step 7, follow the same directions as just described in step 6. After completing Step 7, your model should be symmetrical.


General Uses:

  • This box is a great storage container for any small item on your desk.
  • Decorate with stickers to personalize.

Blindness Hacks:

  • This box makes an excellent storage container for bump dots, styluses, and rolls of dymo tape.

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