3-D origami, also known as golden venture folding, is the art of using folded paper to construct modular, three-dimensional sculptures. With 3-D origami, the possibilities are nearly endless. There are diagrams available in books and online, but you can also use your imagination to create whatever shape you desire. All 3-D origami starts with a basic triangle fold. These triangles then connect to make your shape. How many triangles you need depends on the project. A basic swan, for example, takes around 400 to 450 triangles.
Select a shape you'd like to craft and have a picture of it ready. Think about what key elements your origami will need so it will look like the shape. For example, a swan has wings and a long neck. While the base of your swan will be a basic round shape that could be the base for many objects, as you work upward you will form two equal wing shapes, rather than continuing to form a circle all the way around.
Learn to fold the triangle unit. Take a square piece of paper and cut it into four equal strips. Fold one strip in half crosswise and unfold it. Fold the bottom right and left edges up to meet the crease you just created, so you now have a pentagon. Flip the paper over. Fold the top right and left corners toward the middle so you now have a diamond. Fold both triangular tabs down so your diamond becomes a triangle. Fold the right side onto the left side so you have a smaller triangle.
Practice connecting the triangle units. Once you've finished folding your triangle it should have two tabs (the pointy parts) on one end of the triangle and two pockets (the slits) on the other end of the triangle. When connecting triangles, you insert the tabs of one triangle into the slits of another triangle. There are several ways to position your triangles when connecting them. One is so that the triangle is resting on the long side. Another way is so that the triangle is resting on the short side. In both cases, the pockets should be visible.
Make more triangles. Once you've mastered your triangles and how to connect them, you will need to make enough for your project. You can always make more as you go, so don't worry about exact number. Make a hundred or so to start. The first row of a basic swan takes 35 triangles.
Add or remove triangles from each row to form your shape. For the swan shape, you will remove two triangles directly across from each other within each row to create the wings.
Add additional elements to finish your shape. The swan's neck is an element you would craft separately by connecting approximately 35 triangles to form a candy cane shape, which you would then attach to the front of the swan's body.
- origami composition image by wildman from Fotolia.com