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Explanation of Origami Symbols


Welcome! On this page you can see the explanation of the symbols I am using in my diagrams. These symbols are based on the most widely used, good old Yoshizawa-Randlett system, with the addition of two also well-known symbols ("push here" and "put your finger here") introduced by American folder John Montroll. Knowing all these, you shall be able to fold from most of the existing diagrams.

A minor addition that I would like to propose here is the usage of the "fold over n layers" arrow, which is very helpful in situations where it is unclear that how many of the several layers should be grabbed.

Do not get confused about the two different mountain-fold lines. They mean the same, however, people usually prefer one type to the other. I use the two-dot version in my diagrams but you are guaranteed to meet the one-dot version as well in other diagrams.


Valley-fold line.
Mountain-fold line. (#1)
Mountain-fold line. (#2)
Edge of paper.
Crease line.
X-ray line.


Valley-fold arrow.
Mountain-fold arrow.
Unfold/Pull out arrow.
Fold and unfold arrow.
Grab the paper where the the white dot is and move it to the direction of the arrow.
Fold a number of layers in the circle (in this example 2) over.


Turn the model over to the direction that the arrow shows.
Rotate the model the given degree clockwise or counterclockwise.
Push the paper here.
Place your finger here.
Repeat the given range of steps.
Repeat in vertical mirror image, so that "up" will be "down" (and vice versa).
Repeat in horizontal mirror image, so that "right" will be "left" (and vice versa).
Repeat in both horizontal and vertical mirror image.
Repeat in diagonal mirror image.
View the model from this vantage point.
Zigzags give you information on how the layers are arranged after a pleat or a crimp.
A right angle will prompt you when creases and (or) edges have to be at right angels to each other.
Corresponding points will be indicated by spots of the same color (white-white or black-black).
The small TRANSPARENT circle means: note this area.
Equal distances.
Black letters distinguish visible flaps, points, creases or edges when necessary.
White letters distinguish invisible (hidden) flaps, points, creases, edges or pockets when necessary.

Author: Peter Budai

Last updated: 20. January 2002.
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