Beginner’s Guide to Making a Paper Dragon

If you love magical creatures and mythical beasts, you might be interested in learning how to make a paper dragon. While young children can simply cut out a dragon template and decorate it, an origami dragon is more of a challenge for teens and adults. Mythical beasts come to life with a few clever paper folds. So here’s a step by step guide for beginners.


Step 1: Get a green piece of paper measuring 20 cm by 20 cm. Fold it in half along both diagonals to score out an X shape. Next, bring one corner to the other and reinforce the middle to make a neat paper fold. Unfold, then fold the paper in the opposite direction. Unfold. The X shape will now be more defined but your piece of paper will still be square in shape.


Step 2: Turn the paper over and fold it in half horizontally and vertically. You can do this by bringing the bottom half to the top to make a fold. Then unfold. Bring the right side to the left to make another fold. Then unfold once more.


Step 3: With these marks ready, turn the paper over and push the four corners together. It will form a diamond shape that’s much smaller than your original sheet of paper. With the open side facing down, reinforce all the folds. 


Step 4: Starting on the right side, take the lower diagonal edge of the first layer and bring it to the middle to make a new diagonal fold. Repeat the same thing on the left side making sure your folds are accurate and reinforced. Unfold these new diagonal folds.


Step 5: Open the first layer from the bottom and lift it up and then using the lines you just made, bring both sides to the middle. Gently fold in the right side and then the left. This will create an elongated diamond shape within your original diamond. Reinforce all the folds and to make sure they’re sharp and neat.


Step 6: Turn the paper over and repeat step four. Starting with the right, bring the edges to the middle. Repeat on the left side. Unfold. Open the first layer and lift it up like a flap. Then using the lines you just made, bring both sides to the middle. The entire shape will now look like an elongated diamond.


Step 7: Now, bring the lower diagonal edge of the first layer to the middle to create a new fold. Repeat on the left side. Turn the paper over and repeat the same steps.


Step 8: Now it’s time to make the details of the dragon. Open the right side and bring the downward facing triangle to the side. Use the fold down the middle of this triangle to make a more distinctive crease. Essentially you’re just folding the paper downwards to make a triangular point. Next, close the upper right side over the part you just reversed and press the folds securely down into place. Repeat on the other side.


Step 9: Fold the front larger flap in the middle down. Turn and do the same on the other side. There will be a small triangular shape left in the middle. Hold the large triangular flaps and pull them to the sides causing the triangle to inflate and open. Be very careful not to rip the corners. Now pinch the middle and squeeze the inner section together to create nice detailing for the dragon’s body.


Step 10: For the wings, take one of the large flaps and fold the diagonal edge so it lines up with the horizontal edge above. Turn it over and repeat. Unfold the wing. You’ll see two folds. Take the bottom part and fold in half. Then, fold the top part in half too. The first wing is ready. Repeat on the other side.


Step 11: To make the head, open the front end and reverse it downwards, folding it more or less in half and squeeze along the folds. Then fold it back upwards, creasing the pre-made folds.


Your dragon is complete.


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