This arts and crafts tutorial for an origami lotus flower, also known as a waterlily, is really very simple. I first learned the method from a book in elementary school, and I’ve been making them ever since. I’ve been known to leave them as calling cards, get well messages, love tokens, etc. They also make elegant yet inexpensive table décor because they can be upcycled from any paper. Just write a name on a petal to use them as place-cards then allow them to double as disposable chopstick rests… but expect some to be taken home as mementos from the evening.
Use any paper you like from traditional origami paper from the craft store, to economical white printer paper like this. (Read my origami crane tutorial to read how to use wrapping paper.) Fold one corner over until it meets the opposite side, and press the crease down flat.
Cut off the uncovered portion of paper cleanly, using the folded paper’s edge as a guide. You have just made a perfect square without using a ruler.
Unfold the triangle you’ve cut free, and then refold it using the opposite corners. Now unfold it, you should see an X crease into the square of paper.
Next take each corner and fold it into the middle, using the X crease as a guide. You just made a smaller square shape.
Repeat this 4 corner folding again, making an even smaller square.
Repeat this again, making an even tinier square.
Now flip it over, and then repeat the 4 corner folding into the center one last time.
This is the tricky part… place your thumb into one corner of the square, and place the other fingers under the lipped point underneath it. Push in the corner with your thumb while gently pulling the underneath point out. It will flip up and over into a sort of petal. (The right petal in the picture is only halfway done. You can keep pulling gently until it looks like the left petal.) Stop pushing and pulling once the petal has a solid form with a rounded outside edge. Repeat this petal making on all corners.
Now pull out the four hidden points from beneath.
This is what it’s supposed to look like, but it may take a few blooms to get the hang of petal pulling.
This is what the underside should look like. (It’s the perfect place to write a little message.)
This is one of my origami waterlilies being used as a place-card holder/ chopstick rest. See it in action in my Pan Asian Inspired Indigo Shibori & Wooden Themed Tablescape (Perfect for Luncheons & Informal Dinners).
Bloom where you are planted!