How to make an Origami Koi or Origami Carp

Origami, the ancient art of paper folding, offers a wonderful opportunity to create beautiful and intricate designs with just a single sheet of paper. Among the myriad of origami creations, the Koi fish, also known as the Carp, holds a special place due to its symbolism of strength, perseverance, and good fortune. With its graceful form and vibrant colors, the origami Koi is a popular choice for enthusiasts looking to embark on an artistic and meditative journey.

To create your very own origami Koi, you will need a square sheet of paper. Traditional origami paper or any square sheet cut to size will work perfectly. The size of the paper will determine the final dimensions of your Koi. As you fold, keep in mind the precision and attention to detail required to achieve the desired result.

The process begins with a series of strategic folds that establish the foundation for the Koi’s body, fins, and tail. By following step-by-step instructions and diagrams, you can gradually transform a simple piece of paper into a three-dimensional representation of this majestic fish. The folding sequence involves intricate maneuvers to form the Koi’s distinctive features, such as its flowing fins, elegant tail, and characteristic mouth.

Materials needed:

  • Square origami paper (preferably colored or patterned on one side)

How do you make an origami Carp step by step?

Origami Carp, also known as Koi fish, are fascinating creatures to fold with paper. In just a few steps, you can transform a square sheet of paper into a beautiful representation of this symbolic fish. With its flowing fins and graceful form, the origami Carp embodies qualities of strength and good fortune. Follow the step-by-step instructions below to create your own origami Carp and embark on a journey of creativity and mindfulness.

Certainly! Here is a step-by-step guide to folding an origami carp (koi):

Step 1

Begin by creating an origami square base. Next, fold corner A upwards according to the following illustration.

Afterward, fold corners B and C towards the centerline. Similarly, fold corners D and E towards the centerline as depicted below:

Step 2

Once the previous folds are completed, carefully flip the entire piece over. Then, fold the corners towards the centerline, following the indicated instructions in the illustration.

Step 3

After executing the previous folds, proceed to unfold the piece. Next, take the bottom corner and fold it upwards, following the step-by-step instructions presented in the following three photos. This particular folding technique is widely known as a Petal Fold.

Step 4

In Step 6 of creating the origami Koi, fold the corners of the model towards the centerline. Afterward, flip the entire model over. Then, take the fins of the Koi and fold them upwards to add dimension and detail to the design.

Step 5

Perform a reverse inside fold on each fin, beginning with the following steps:

Place a finger or thumb in the “pocket” located at the front of the piece and grip it firmly.

Take hold of corner F and gently pull it outwards, as demonstrated in the subsequent five photos.

Step 6

Using your fingers, shape the body and tail of the origami koi to give it a more dynamic appearance. Additionally, gently curve the fins to add a natural and realistic touch.

With these adjustments, your origami koi is now prepared to gracefully swim in your backyard pond!

Watch Video Tutorial

 Frequently Asked Question

What type of paper should I use for making an origami Koi?

When choosing paper for origami, it’s best to use thin, square sheets specifically designed for origami. However, if you don’t have origami paper, you can use any square sheet of paper, such as printer paper or gift wrap, as long as it’s not too thick or stiff.

Are there any beginner-friendly origami Koi tutorials available?

Yes, there are numerous tutorials available online that cater to different skill levels. Look for tutorials labeled as “beginner” or “easy” to start with. These tutorials typically provide clear instructions and step-by-step diagrams to guide you through the folding process.

How long does it take to make an origami Koi?

The time it takes to complete an origami Koi can vary depending on your experience level, the complexity of the design, and your folding speed. For beginners, it may take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour or more. With practice, you can become faster and more efficient.

Can I use colored paper for my origami Koi?

Absolutely! Using colored paper adds a vibrant touch to your origami Koi. You can experiment with different shades to create a visually appealing result. Just ensure that the paper you choose is thin enough to fold easily.

Are there any specific folding techniques I need to know for making an origami Koi?

The origami Koi involves various folding techniques, including mountain folds, valley folds, inside reverse folds, and others. It’s helpful to familiarize yourself with these basic techniques before attempting the Koi. As you progress, you may encounter more advanced folding techniques specific to the Koi design.

Can I decorate my origami Koi?

Yes, you can add details and embellishments to your origami Koi. Once you’ve completed the basic folding, you can use markers, colored pencils, or other art supplies to enhance the features of your Koi, such as adding scales, eyes, or patterns on the body.

How can I preserve my origami Koi?

Origami paper is delicate, so it’s challenging to preserve origami creations for a long time. However, you can display your origami Koi in a protective case or frame to minimize exposure to dust and sunlight. This will help maintain its shape and colors over time.


Creating an origami Koi or Carp is a captivating and rewarding experience that combines artistry, precision, and mindfulness. The intricate folds and careful attention to detail required in this ancient paper-folding technique allow you to transform a simple sheet of paper into a stunning representation of a majestic fish.

Through the process of folding, you not only craft a beautiful origami creation but also engage in a meditative practice that promotes focus and creativity. As you navigate the steps and maneuvers, you’ll discover a sense of tranquility and immersion in the present moment.

The origami Koi holds symbolic significance, representing strength, perseverance, and good fortune. Its graceful form and vibrant colors make it a popular choice for those seeking to explore the art of origami. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced folder, the journey of creating an origami Koi offers a sense of accomplishment and a tangible connection to the ancient traditions of paper folding.

About the author

Chrissy is a freelance writer, teacher, and designer who creates content on origami and paper crafts. She runs the site Origami Step and makes her own origami tutorials for readers. She has been writing about origami since 2008 and is the founder of website Origami Step, where she creates videos, resources, and printable origami paper.