Above the Fold

by Courtney Martin

Courtney tackles Star Wars Origami, and encounters a few surprises along the way!

Star Wars Origami by Chris Alexander (2012)


I’ve always been a fan of origami, the art of paper folding. People can create amazingly artistic crafts with this Japanese craft form. I’ve never been particularly adept at origami; I only ever took one class on it in middle school, but nevertheless I picked up this book, intrigued by the idea of origami Star Wars. I mean, how cool, right? It’s just intricate paper folding—should be easy to learn, I thought.

Wrong. So wrong.

This craft book is one of the most fun, yet incredibly frustrating things I’ve ever attempted. The book contains 36 paper-folding projects and comes with 72 sheets of specially designed Star Wars origami paper. The paper is printed with patterns so the crafts look like Star Wars characters, ships, and droids. Most of the projects have duplicate pages of paper so you can make more than one craft.

Or, in my case, if you screw up the folding, you can rip the paper, and/or crumple it and toss it across the room.

The book does a good job of dividing up the project types into four levels of difficulty: Youngling (easy), Padawan (medium), Jedi Knight (difficult), and Jedi Master (extremely tricky). Since I’m an origami beginner, I choose to start with Youngling level projects. The book also gives folding tutorials with descriptions and pictures. It walks through origami basics like valley folds and mark folds, then progresses into more difficult folds such as sink folds and rabbit ear folds (which I still cannot do, and truthfully starting to hate).

“I cannot do a rabbit ear fold to save my life.”

The first project I attempted was lightsabers. Now, you’d think these would be easy, but this book teaches how to do 3D origami, not just simple flat folded paper. At the start of each project the author has a page of descriptions on what the craftee is about to create. He describes lightsabers, or what ship you’re about to build, or who the character is and their background. After that comes step on how to fold the project. The steps are described well, but do use the terms at the beginning of the book (valley fold, mountain fold, etc), and if you don’t remember what they are (like me), you have to flip back to the start of the book to see what the author is referencing. The graphics are good for visual instructions, but sometimes it’s difficult to tell which way you need to fold the paper. I started with Yoda’s lightsaber, which was decently easy. I then did Vader and Luke’s sabers as well. They turned out good, but I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t easy to do. And they were categorized as Padawan level projects. I started to doubt how far into the book I’d go…I was struggling right off the bat.


But, after I got the lightsabers done, I was pretty happy with them, they looked cool and didn’t take me too long to do.

I still wasn’t sure I could move up to the next level, so I attempted a second Youngling level craft. This time I did the Sandcrawler. It was way more difficult than the lightsabers, and a few times I had to stop the project and just walk away in frustration. This was supposed to be easy! After reviewing the basic folding techniques again (and again), I finally got the project complete, even though I don’t think it looks exactly like the photo. I also did Han Solo in carbonate (another easy level craft). He turned out well, but I think I’ll just cut out the paper graphic for my bulletin board.


Another interesting thing about this book is that at the end of every other project the author has some Star Wars trivia and quizzes. Throughout the book there are quotes and pictures from all six Star Wars films. One of the coolest things in the book is a trivia page on how to speak Jawaese. It lists common phrases and words; something I’ve never see before (and was pretty impressed by).


After a tried the couple of easy level projects, I decided to test my crafting experience (and patience) on a Padawan project. Before I started this project, I looked at all of the steps I’d need to go through and picked the one that looked the most simple. It was time to craft Master Yoda.

Difficult this would turn out to be.

Yoda had a total of 33 steps…I made it to step 28 then quit. Yoda is still not finished. He looks okay, but he’s not all the way 3D yet. I ripped the paper when trying to fold his ear, and then when it came time for his arms, it included the rabbit ear fold. I cannot do a rabbit ear fold to save my life. I’ve looked over the instructions in the book for this fold, but I cannot seem to figure it out. I think I’ll have to YouTube this origami fold, then try Yoda again. In a few days. Can’t look at him right now.


So, deflated from trying a more difficult origami project, I went back to the Youngling level. I tried the Boba and Jango Fett projects, and both look awesome! Very pleased with the outcome. They aren’t very 3D, and aren’t meant to be, and that makes the project easier I think. I really want to try the Millennium Falcon project (Padawan level), but that may wait until after I do all of the Youngling projects. There is no way I’m ready for Jedi Knight or Jedi Master projects, those may take a couple of months to work up to (both skill-wise and in level of patience).


This book contains a lot of awesome looking origami projects; but be forewarned, if you’re new to origami (like myself) this will take time. And patience. Lots and lots of patience. I’m not sure this would be a good craft book for kids under the age of 13; it takes skill and the willingness to painstakingly read instructions. I will say: after I completed a few projects, I was really excited with the results. I’m certainly going to keep trying more projects from the book, although I’m going to have to take a break for about a week to save my sanity. It’s tough if you’re a perfectionist. And Yoda may never be finished. If you see this book at your local bookstore, pick it up and try it. It is fun, and the paper graphics are great. Overall, it’s worth a try. And after you finished a cool project, you can shout triumphantly in Jawaese, “A beton nya mombay m’baa!”  (This is mine, all mine!)

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