Artist Barbara Tagami has beautiful origami fish and butterflies on display in the eARTh exhibit area at the Dickinson County Nature Center through December. Some of the butterflies she has painted, and they look so life-like you would think they were pinned instead of folded.

She held a youth origami class on Saturday, which turned into an all-ages class as multi-generations came together to create butterfly hangings.

Photo of people holding their origami butterflies

I wasn’t able to attend the class, but I thought I would try my hand at a paper butterfly today and give you some directions to try it out yourself!

Step 1: Create a waterbomb base. Fold your square of paper in half, then in half the other direction.


img_3434Unfold the paper and fold it into a large triangle. img_3435

Unfold the paper. Flip it over and fold it into a large triangle the other direction.


Now, let the folds come in on themselves to create a smaller triangle.



Here is the video I used to make this base:

Step 2: Fold the upper layer on both sides down to the bottom tip.



Step 3: Flip the paper over. Fold the bottom tip upward so that it is about a half inch above the horizontal edge. (Quick note: I did this with card stock, which tore when doing these smaller folds. Use paper!)


Step 4: Fold down the upper layers. Make a squash fold by pressing the paper flat on the side.


Step 5: Flip paper over. Fold down the tip and then fold it half of it up again to create the butterfly’s head.



Step 6: Fold paper in half. On the top half, make a diagonal fold, which makes one wing pop out. Flip the paper over and do another diagonal fold to make the other wing pop out.img_3445

Step 7: You’re done!



Now, post a comment with a photo of the butterfly you created, and stop in the nature center to see Tagami’s beautiful origami butterflies in person.



  1. Laura Callahan on November 24, 2019 at 4:57 pm

    I loved this class and have the flight of butterflies hanging over a furnace vent. They fly regularly in my livingroom. Thank you, Barbara

  2. Humble origami lover on August 19, 2019 at 6:38 am

    thank you for this brilliant tutorial! My butterfly came out amazing, all thanks to these great instructions 🙂

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