How to Make an Origami Sakura Flower

by Faith Chandler
The cherry blossom has five petals, each with a small indentation on its outside edge.

The cherry blossom has five petals, each with a small indentation on its outside edge.

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The origami sakura flower is an enduring symbol of the spring blossoms of the Japanese cherry tree. The classic flower pattern is actually a type of kirigami, origami folding combined with paper cutting, from when ancient Japan didn't distinguish between the two steps. The distinction between origami and kirigami developed in 1962, with the publication of "Kirigami, the Creative Art of Papercutting" by Florence Temko. However, several sakura patterns exist, including a purely origami fold.

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Origami Bases

Sakura flower patterns and many other origami patterns use common bases. The bases used in these Sakura flower blossoms include a square base, a bird base and a waterbomb base, each named for its originating origami pattern. The bird base is created from a square base. All three bases start with a piece of square paper of any size, but the waterbomb base can be folded from different shapes, such as the pentagon mentioned in "Complex Cherry Blossom," below.

Five-Petal Sakura Blossom

This kirigami style pattern from the Origami Club (see References, below) is a classic sakura flower. The folder starts out with a 6-by-6-inch square of origami paper and folds it down to a narrow triangle shape. The shape is cut on the outside edge into a soft curve, like the petals of a flower, and unfolded. This simple shape can be used as a cherry blossom. The folder can further enhance the flower by collapsing the petals together and folding over a small section of two opposing edges of the collapsed shape. Unfurling the flower reveals a sakura blossom with five distinct, segmented petals.

Simple Origami Cherry Blossom

Origami folders who want to stick to pure origami will find the cherry blossom from Flirty Guide (see References, below) suitable. The folder starts out with a 6-by-6-inch square of paper and folds it down to a 2-inch flower using several repetitive folds. These folds start with a bird base, a common starting point for many origami birds, which is folded into a small pentagon shape. This shape is secured with a couple of small segment folds on the outside edges and unfurled to reveal a small, geometric cherry blossom with four petals.

Complex Cherry Blossom

Advanced folders can attempt the complex cherry blossom by Sanja S. Cucek, found at the Origami Resource Center (see References, below). This kirigami pattern starts with the folds used for the Five Petal Sakura Blossom described in Section 2, but instead of a curved petal cut, the folder makes a diagonal, straight cut to remove the outside edge of the triangle shape. Unfolded, this reveals a pentagon. The pentagon is folded into a waterbomb base and folded in half horizontally. The outer edges are folded into five small flaps, which are flattened open from the top to create petals and complete the flower.

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