A crease pattern is the most practical way of sharing a complex origami design. You should be familiar with all common origami manoeuvres before attempting to fold from crease patterns.
Click on the name of a model to see its crease pattern, or scroll down to see the crease pattern conventions which I use for these crease patterns.
While I can’t prescribe the conventions used by other folders when making crease patterns in general, I can provide a few principles that I abide by (unless clearly stated otherwise):
- For the sake of clarity, the white side of the paper is always shown in a crease pattern, regardless of the intended colour of the model.
- Crease patterns will always show a difference between the mountain and valley folds. Valley folds are dashed blue lines and mountain folds are solid red lines. Of course, if you view the paper from below, the valleys/mountains assignment will switch, so you can view these as the other way around if desired. What matters here is the distinction between the two types of folds. Work out which side of your paper you wish to be visible and assign the valleys and mountains accordingly.
- Paper that isn’t used is shown in a paler colour and won’t have any creases. This is most frequently seen when a raw corner is folded under and just needs to be treated the exact same way as the paper above it. Although there may end up being creases on these areas, those creases are indicated elsewhere, so showing them on the crease pattern would be redundant and could also mask the structure of the design. It’s doable to fold unused paper out of the way early on before pre-creasing through multiple layers, but usually you can make more accurate folds by pre-creasing while the paper is entirely flat, then folding the unused paper and pre-creasing that part separately.
- If the crease pattern is the only instruction provided for a model, key reference points will be shown using interval divisions, or even a small square showing a folding sequence. These important folds should be made early on, since many other folds will depend on them. Sometimes there are lines which are not actually folded, but are still important for finding a reference point or understanding the structure of the model. These are shown with black dotted lines.
- The vast majority of folds (i.e. every fold that doesn’t have a symbol or extra instruction) can be located using other existing reference points. If in doubt, try seeing if a line connects two known points, is halfway between two parallel lines, or is an angle bisector.