How to fold an Origami Elephant

Origami, the ancient art of paper folding, allows us to transform a simple sheet of paper into intricate sculptures. One captivating creation that emerges from this tradition is the origami elephant—a symbol of strength, wisdom, and elegance. Guided by the principles of patience and precision, crafting an origami elephant can be both a creative endeavor and a meditative experience.

With origins rooted in Japanese culture, origami celebrates the harmonious marriage of artistry and mathematical precision. The process involves delicately manipulating paper, without the use of cuts or adhesive, to produce a finished piece that captures the essence of the subject. The origami elephant, with its graceful contours and distinct features, showcases the ability to transmute a humble material into a work of visual poetry.

While seemingly daunting, the art of origami thrives on practice and gradual mastery. Through step-by-step folds and maneuvers, a flat sheet of paper is endowed with volume and dimensionality, gradually revealing the unmistakable form of an elephant. Each crease holds significance, each fold contributes to the final expression.

Materials needed:

Square sheet of origami paper (typically 6×6 inches or 15×15 cm)
Flat surface

How do you make an origami Elephant step by step?

Creating an origami elephant is a delightful journey through the art of paper folding. With just a square sheet of paper and some patience, you can transform this humble material into a majestic symbol of strength and grace. Origami elephants captivate with their intricate details and elegant forms. This step-by-step guide will demystify the process, making it accessible for beginners while offering a satisfying challenge for experienced folders. Follow along, and in a few folds, you’ll bring to life a captivating origami elephant, a testament to the beauty that can emerge from the marriage of simple materials and human ingenuity.

Creating an origami elephant requires precise folding and attention to detail. Here’s a step-by-step guide to making a simple origami elephant

Step 1


Begin with a square piece of origami paper measuring 6 inches x 6 inches (15cm x 15cm), with the colored side facing downward. Make folds along both of the diagonal axes, ensuring distinct creases, and then unfold the paper.

Next, bring the upper tip down so that it aligns with the intersection of the diagonal creases. Concurrently, gently fold the lower tip upwards by about 1/2 inch or 1.5cm.

Step 2


Fold the two sides of the paper towards the center, creating creases along the indicated dotted lines below.

Step 3

Proceed by folding both sides outward along the designated dotted lines. This action forms the “ears” of your origami elephant.

Flip the paper over. You’ll now see the emergence of an elephant head!

Step 4


Gently fold the trunk of the elephant upwards.

Afterward, fold it back down, maintaining a slight gap between the current fold and the previous one.

Step 5


Iteratively fold the trunk upwards and downwards, akin to the motion of folding a fan.

Presently, release your current fold.

Step 6


Now, let’s make some minor adjustments to the ears. Form two mountain folds at the designated locations.

With this step completed, your origami elephant head is finished!

Step 7


Now, let’s focus on crafting the body, which is quite straightforward. Begin with a square piece of origami paper measuring 6 inches x 6 inches (15cm x 15cm), with the colored side facing upwards.

Make precise folds along both the horizontal and vertical axes, ensuring distinct creases, and then unfold the paper.

Gently fold the lower part upwards by around 3/4 inch or 2cm. Make sure to create a clear crease.

Frequently Asked Question

What size of paper should I use for the origami elephant?

You can use a square sheet of origami paper that’s typically around 6×6 inches (15×15 cm). However, you can experiment with different sizes, keeping in mind that larger paper might be easier to work with, especially if you’re a beginner.

Can I use regular paper instead of origami paper?

While origami paper is preferred due to its square shape and lightweight nature, you can use regular paper if you don’t have origami paper on hand. Just make sure to trim it into a square before you begin folding.

How do I ensure my folds are neat and precise?

Take your time and crease the paper firmly along the fold lines. You can use a flat edge, like a ruler or your fingernail, to create sharp creases. Neat and precise folds are essential for achieving a clean origami elephant.

What is an inside reverse fold?

An inside reverse fold involves opening up a flap of paper, reversing the existing fold, and then flattening the paper again. It’s a technique commonly used in origami to create various shapes and structures, such as the legs and ears of the origami elephant.

I’m having trouble with a specific step. What should I do?

Origami can be challenging, especially if you’re new to it. If you’re stuck on a step, try re-reading the instructions and examining any illustrations. You can also search for video tutorials online that demonstrate the specific step you’re struggling with.

My origami elephant doesn’t stand properly. How can I fix this?

Achieving proper balance and stability in origami can sometimes be tricky. Ensure that your creases are accurate and that the legs are folded evenly. You might need to adjust the angles of the legs slightly to help your elephant stand more securely.

Can I decorate my origami elephant?

Absolutely! You can add details like eyes, tusks, or even patterns to your origami elephant using markers, pens, or other art supplies. Just make sure not to use anything too heavy that might weigh down the paper.


Creating an origami elephant can be a rewarding and creative endeavor. By following step-by-step instructions, you can transform a simple square of paper into a charming folded masterpiece. While origami requires patience and practice, the process itself is a wonderful way to engage your mind and hands in an artistic pursuit.

Through understanding the basics of folding, practicing precise creases, and mastering techniques like inside reverse folds and squash folds, you can gradually enhance your origami skills. Remember that origami is not only about the end result but also about the journey of exploration and learning.

Feel free to experiment with different paper sizes, colors, and decorations to put your own unique twist on your origami elephant. And don’t forget that there are resources like tutorials and online communities that can provide additional guidance and inspiration as you embark on your origami journey.

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.