Origami Using a Circle Shape

by Marilla Mulwane
Make birds, such as the dove, out of circular paper.

Make birds, such as the dove, out of circular paper.

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Origami, the art of paper folding, traditionally uses square paper to make shapes and designs. Very few patterns use circular paper. Pre-cut circular paper is not readily available. Make circular paper by tracing a bowl, cup or other round object over square paper. Cut out the circles to use with circular origami designs. The difficulty of the few available designs range from beginner to intermediate.

Flowers and Leaves

Since most flowers are round, it makes sense to make them out of circular paper when doing origami. The Easy Flower requires making several squash folds to achieve an accordion shape that, when opened, resembles a flower. Turn the Easy Flower into a dandelion by placing a smaller easy flower inside the first, and an even smaller one in the middle of the second. Use circular paper to fold leaves for the flowers, as well. Fold the paper in half, make several creases, and unfold slightly. The creases resemble veins on the leaves.


Often used as a Christmas decoration, and made from circular paper, is the Lacy Dove. Make the dove using regular paper, or use a paper doily for a fancier version. The cut-out designs along the edge of the doily become the wings and tail of the dove. The doily is folded in half and cut at a diagonal on one end. The lower cut area is folded up to make wings, and the lower left as the tail. Make the Water Bird from square paper or round paper. The folds and steps are the same, but the outcome is slightly different. The Water Bird made from circular paper is shorter, and has more rounded tail feathers. Making the Water Bird requires several squash folds that are folded up to form the tail feathers.

Yin-Yang Box

Modular origami combines smaller folded shapes to make 3-D shapes. The process uses two or as many as 30 pieces that automatically fit together. The Yin-Yang Box is modular origami that uses circular paper. It is made up of two pieces of round paper folded, one each a different color, and inserted together to form a 3-D pillow that looks like a Yin-Yang symbol. There is some cutting required, but there is a pure version of the box for those that believe origami should not use scissors, tape or glue.


Round paper is used little in origami, but used abundantly in kirigami. Kirigami is the art of paper cutting. The most common patterns made from kirigami are snowflakes. Children fold paper, cut out shapes and unfold to reveal a snowflake. Use the same process to make flowers, stars and other shapes. Artists cut elaborate and complicated patterns from round paper in kirigami, but it takes lots of practice and a delicate hand.

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