Learn to make an eye out of paper that actually blinks! This lesson uses both origami— the traditional Japanese art of paper folding– and drawing to make a moving piece of art that is as unique as your own eye!
- Plain white printer paper
- Black permanent marker
- Oil pastels or colored pencils
Step 1: Lay your paper on a flat surface in front of you with the short side at the top (portrait orientation).
Step 2: Lift up the bottom left corner and fold it up to the right edge (a few inches from the top of the paper), so that the bottom edge of the paper lines up with the right edge of the paper and the bottom right corner comes to a point.
Step 3: Cut off the strip of paper at the top, making your paper into a square.
Step 4: Unfold your paper and notice the diagonal crease.
Step 5: Fold the bottom right corner to the top left corner.
Step 6: Unfold your paper and notice the 2 diagonal creases that meet like an X. Turn your paper like a diamond, so there is a point facing you.
Step 7: Fold the bottom point to the middle of the paper (to the spot where the 2 creases meet).
Step 8: Fold the top point to the middle of the paper also.
Step 9: Fold the bottom edge of the paper in to meet the center line.
Step 10: Fold the top edge of the paper to the center line also.
Step 11: Unfold everything. Look at all the creases you made!
Step 12: Fold the top and bottom corners in along the creases you made.
Step 13: Fold top edge in so it lines up with the crease that you already made. Do the same for the bottom edge.
Step 14: You should have an open space in the middle with a crease down the middle. You will draw your eye here (check that this step matches with the picture before you draw): For the iris, the colored part of the eye, make a big circle that just touches the bottom and top of the folded portions of your paper. Draw over it with your black marker. Then, draw a smaller circle for the pupil, the part of the eye out of which you see. You may want to outline a “shine” or a space that you will leave white within the pupil. Color in the pupil with your black marker. Fill in the iris with the colors you’d like to use for your eye.
Step 15: Fold the top edge of the paper in to meet the center line. Fold the bottom edge of the paper to the center line also. Your eye is now covered.
Step 16: Keeping everything folded, turn your whole paper over.
Step 17: Using your pencil, lightly mark a vertical line down the center of the eye. Fold the left corner of your paper in to meet this line.
Step 18: Fold the right corner in to meet the center line also.
Step 19: This is the trickiest part. Mark a dot with your pencil halfway down the right side of your paper (where the folded edges meet). Also mark a dot at the center bottom of your paper (where the vertical line down the middle of your eye meets the bottom of your paper). Use your ruler to connect those two dots and draw a line. Lift the bottom right corner and fold it in, creasing along the line you just drew.
Step 20: Repeat step 19 for the top right corner.
Step 21: Repeat step 19 for the top left corner and bottom left corner.
Step 22: Turn your eye over.
Step 23: Hold the folded parts at the back of the eye and bring them together to blink your eye open and move them apart to make your eye blink closed.
Step 24: Draw some eyelashes on your eye with your marker and add skin color to the front of your eye.
TAA-DAAAAA! You made an Origami Blinking Eye! Don’t worry if your first one isn’t perfect. Origami takes practice. If you got confused with any of the steps on the written or photo instructions, check out our video lesson and see if that makes more sense to you. We all learn differently!
To make your eye “blink”: Pull the two outside points away from each other to closed the eyelids. Push them together to open.
- Make pairs of eyes and have a family member, nurse, or a friend blink the other eye. See if you can blink them in unison!
- Make a puppet that uses your blinking origami eyes.
Fun Facts about Eyes
- Your eyes can distinguish approximately 10 million different colors!
- Your eyes focus on 50 different objects every second.
- The optic nerve contains more than one million nerve cells.
- It is impossible to sneeze with your eyes open.
- The average person blinks 12 times a minute (bet you just blinked!).