Make An Origami Waterlily

You may recognize this waterlily as a common restaurant or banquet napkin fold. Make yours from cloth to decorate your own table!

A few simple, traditional origami models can be folded either from paper or from cloth to make decorative table napkins. This waterlily is a very popular napkin fold for the formally set table. Follow the instructions below to make your own version. Follow the instructions carefully and do not advance to the next step until you are sure that all previous steps have been correctly completed.

If you plan on making a paper waterlily, you'll need paper that has been cut into a true square. You can use any paper that you happen to have on hand. Paper that is heavier than the average sheet of lined notebook paper works best, however. To limit the potential waste of costly paper, practice with plain, white copy paper first and then move on to your special paper once you have mastered the model. Two-sided, origami paper is available in packages of pre-cut squares. This paper is white on one side and colored on the other, perfect for achieving color contrast in your finished model. Explore the use of gift wrapping paper and wall posters as more economical alternatives that will give a similar finished look.

The type of work surface you use is an important factor in the success of your completed model. In order to achieve accurate folds and sharp creases (integral to a correctly folded model), your work surface needs to be one that is hard and flat. Consider keeping a ruler or pencil on hand, as well. One of these objects run along each crease as you work will make your creases even sharper.



1. Position a square of paper on your work surface so that the edges are facing up and down left and right. If you are using two-sided paper, then make sure that the desired exterior color of your waterlily is face down.

2. Bring the top edge down to meet the bottom edge. Crease and unfold.

3. Bring the left edge over to meet the right edge. Crease and unfold. You now have a paper that has been divided by crease lines into four quadrants.

4. Bring the upper left point of the square down to its center. Use the intersection of the crease lines made in Steps 2 and 3 as a guide. Crease and leave folded. Repeat for the remaining three points.

5. Bring the upper left point of the model down to its center. Crease and leave folded. Repeat for the remaining three points. Turn the model over.

6. Repeat Step 5.

7. Lift up the upper left corner of the model and push it down so that the corner is turned inside out. The left corner flap located on the back of the model will come to the front. Once the corner has been reversed, fold the edges of the flap backward to form a petal shape. Repeat for the remaining three corners.

8. Bring each remaining triangular flap (located at the back of the model) toward the front of the model. Your waterlily is complete.

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