Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Valentina. Valentina Wonders, “How old is origami?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Valentina!

Have you ever made a paper airplane? How about a paper basket or butterfly? It’s so much fun to make crafts with paper. In fact, there’s an ancient Japanese art form dedicated to making things with paper. It’s called origami!

Origami comes from the Japanese words for “folding” and “paper.” And that perfectly sums up what origami is. In origami, a person turns a flat sheet of paper into a three-dimensional sculpture. How? They do this just by folding the paper. Cuts and glue are not allowed!

Origami started in the 17th century in Japan. By the mid-1900s, it had become a popular art form worldwide. Today, artists everywhere enjoy making complex structures out of paper!

Have you ever tried origami? Anyone can learn with a little practice and patience. The basic number of folds is small, but they can be combined in a number of ways. With origami, you can make anything from simple boxes to complex animals. Some of the basic folds include valleys, mountains, pleats, sinks and reverse folds.

The only supply needed in origami is paper. You can find special origami paper called “kami” in craft stores. However, you don’t need special paper. Any type of paper you have lying around will work. Some people even enjoy making origami with paper money!

There are many types of origami. There’s action origami, with sculptures that can move. There’s also modular origami. That’s where the artist puts many pieces of origami together to make a larger structure. Another origami technique is called wet folding. In wet folding, paper is dampened so it can be folded and sculpted more easily. This allows the artist to make curves that then stay crisp when the paper dries.

So, what can you make using origami? The first thing many people make is a crane. They start with a square piece of paper and end up with a graceful bird! Other popular designs include the origami tulip flower, candy box, and boat.

Origami is a very popular craft today. It helped inspire the book Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes, which was later turned into a movie. The art form has even inspired the design of things like airbags and heart stents.

Origami sculptures can be fascinating. Some are incredibly small, but they can also be very large! The smallest origami crane was made by Mr. Naito of Japan. He used a piece of paper that measured 0.1 X 0.1 mm square. He folded into a crane using a microscope. On the other end of the spectrum, the largest origami crane weighed 1,750 pounds. It was made by a Seattle organization called Wings for Peace in 1999. The sculpture was over 215 feet wide!

Would you like to try origami? What would you make? There are plenty of patterns out there! Maybe you could make an origami sculpture of your favorite animal or insect. Or perhaps you can come up with a new design of your own!

Standards: CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.7, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1

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