My friend Angela just taught me how to make these adorable 3D origami swans! She learned how to make them when she was in Brazil last year. This little guy up above is my first solo-attempt.
To make a 3D origami swan, you'll need a lot of paper and a bottle of Elmer's Glue. I used seven 20 x 30 inch sheets of matte gift wrapping paper to make this swan. Anything from printer paper to scrapbook paper will work, although thicker paper is more difficult to fold.
Cutting the Paper. Cut your paper into 2 x 4 inch (or 5 x 10 cm) rectangles. You will need 231 rectangles for this project, plus a couple of extras in case some don't turn out quite right.
Basic Unit. Each piece of paper is folded exactly the same way. This video shows how to fold the triangle, the basic unit of this swan. You can use a bone folder to save your fingers some pain.
Building the Base. The base of the swan is a ring of 40 triangles. First practice connecting the triangles correctly, as shown in the first video, then glue them together, as shown in the second video.
Complete the ring by connecting the first and last piece in your 40-piece chain.
Building on the Base. Start the second row by building (gluing) individual triangles on top of the previous row. Each triangle added should be attached to two triangles below it (one end from two neighboring triangles below.)
Building rows 2-8. Complete row 2 and build rows 3-8. Each row will require 20 triangles. To give the swan a round shape, angle the triangles outward for the first few rows, then row-by-row begin to angle them more inward.
Note: The first photo below shows the base from below. All other photos show the base and subsequent rows from the top.
Building the Base of the Neck, Wings and Tail. The base of the neck, wings and tail are shown with orange triangles. The neck base is four triangles wide, the base of each wing is three triangles wide, and the base of the tail is six triangles wide. There should be one space between each base.
Finishing the Neck, Wings and Tail. Build on these bases by decreasing the number of triangles by one for each subsequent row. The wings and tail are complete after you add a row of only one triangle. Curve wings and tail outwards.
The neck will have eight rows of only one triangle, plus a beak. Curve the neck downwards.
Add googly eyes to give your swan some personality!