Origami Dahlias

I should be working on my lowercase letters tutorial and my fancy fonts tutorial but I'm not! I'm going to do this instead!!

This is one of the prettiest origami flowers I've seen. When I went up to Tehachapi a few months ago to take part in a paper arts workshop, one of the other presenters, Chila Caldera, was wearing a dahlia brooch. I went all little-girl and practically begged her to show me how to make my own. It wasn't a pretty learning process. We were in a very dimly lit room (it was a museum for goodness sake!) and I couldn't get close enough to see properly. Still, once I got it, I GOT it! Thank you again, Chila! BTW, visit her blog to see other great diagrams. I asked her if origami etiquette allowed me to post directions on my blog. It seemed that it was okay to do if 1) I made it clear she just passed on the knowledge of how to make the model, and 2) I made sure to give credit to the original designer, Hajime Komiya, who lives in Japan (neither she nor I have any idea how to contact him). She also said that she knew of no extant diagrams, so enjoy!


6” square of paper (15cm) (I used a 12" in the example to make it easier to see) 
Your finished flower will be 1/4 size. A 6" square will end up being a 3" flower which seems like half size until you put it onto another square and see that it fits in one quadrant. Still with me?
Coordinating brad
Brooch pin, if desired

There are three sets of prefolds in the dahlia: the "cupboard fold" (steps 1-3), the diagonal fold (4-5) and the wonky cupboard fold (6).

A square piece o' paper
1. With the side you want to show facing up, fold the square in half.

2. Open it up and fold the halves down to the center fold again, like cupboard doors.

3. Do the same two sets of folds in the perpendicular direction.

4. Turn the paper over to the backside. Starting in one of the corners, fold the corner up to the first fold, second fold, third fold and finally all the way to the other corner.

5.  Turn 90° and do other three corners.

6.  Turn the paper back over to the facing side. Fold down at one of the ¾ folds.

Take the edge opposite it and fold it up to meet the top.

Turn 90° and do other three sides.

After all the prefolding is done!

The Collapse

You will now begin coaxing the creases to collapse into a smaller square with four squares on top.

In the center of your large square there is a smaller square. This is going to remain flat while mountains go up around it. Here’s how:

7. Beginning in the center of the outside edge, gently push in so that the valley fold pushes up into a mountain that goes up from the outside and down to the small center square. Don’t worry if it doesn’t want to go immediately.

Work on the other three center edges, pushing them in.

8. Pinch the folds so that they naturally fall into that valley, mountain back and forth thing they want to do. Keep the center square flat. As you can, pinch the center valley fold on the edge in.  Push the points down flat against the center square.

9. Squash the center points down flat into four squares.

10. Turn your piece over and tuck in the corners into the box on the bottom. This part is like magic.

 Depending on how accurate your folds have been, this part may be easy or a little weird. Go ahead and crease the edges down.

All tucked in nicely!
11. Working on the front side again, spread open two squares to reveal the crease between them.

Open up to show the crease between

This is the crease (red arrow)
Holding the center with a finger of one hand, Pinch it together gently in your opposite hand...

and guide the corner of it up to a point here, in the center of this square.

Go on to the next crease and pinch it up to the notch formed between the two previous squares.

Continue on around the flower, making twelve folds.

Around and...

around and...

around we go!
Turn it over and squash it down gently to even out the petals.


You want the points nice and pointy.

See how some of the edges between petals bend upwards? That's normal!

Facing up again, take the left side of one petal.

Fold it down to the inside of the crease underneath it, creating a more natural petal form.


Creasing the petal down creates a 3-D look to the flower.

Put a brad in the center. Attach a sticky back pin to make it a brooch.

 Or, you can just use a tack and stick it to your walls!

I hope you enjoy making these. They are quick to do and make great gift toppers or decorations for your wall. I make them while waiting at different places (I now have 2 shopping bags full) and have dreams of covering a ceiling with them...


Jo Murray said…
Quick to do?....but they are beautiful. You are very generous with your time...thank you.
Heather Eddy said…
Yes, Jo, they are quick! You can do one in just a few minutes after you get the instructions in your head. LEARNING it takes a bit. Just be patient!
These are way cool. I'll have to try.
Kelly Griglione said…
Very cool, really enjoyed your blog ... especially the folded book words!
Heather Eddy said…
Thank you Kelly! I hope to be doing more folded books soon!
Anonymous said…
Hi, Heather! Please make it more clear that I just passed on the knowledge of how to make the model, I did not and cannot give "permission" to teach or anything else. That said (have to CMA, after all), you correctly gave credit to the designer and stated that we don't know how to contact him (I have tried, via Google-search and the Origami List Server, with zero success). So as long as we give credit as it is due, my view is that we should feel free to enjoy the design and pass it on to others with those caveats. --- It might be helpful for first-time folders to emphasize that all creases for this origami should be *well-defined*, meaning sharp and bold, not soft and tentative. This is critical for the collapse to go well. --- The "wonko cupboard" fold is (by my terminology) an "over-cupboard", since it is structurally a cupboard-door fold but it goes *over* or past the center-line. --- You've done a really nice job with this and I plan to point it out when I do my AV Origami Report for January, hopefully next week. ..... Oh, and my name is Chila (pronounced "Cheela", it's a Spanish nickname, the "i" is always pronounced "ee"). Happy Folding, from Chila ///
Anonymous said…
Also, speaking of covering a ceiling with the Dahlias, I was in Las Vegas in Jan 2011, and I think it was the Belaggio that had a ceiling covered with hanging-down floral shapes in blown glass by Chihuly (if you don't know Chihuly, look him up, his work is fabulous). The Dahlias would be awesome! This design, BTW, is still my all-time favorite; I make them often and give them away to anyone who admires them. --- I also forgot to say that Hajime Komiya taught this design at the 2010 Origami-USA Convention in NY City. I learned it from someone who learned it from him, so that adds support for the view that we can enjoy it and share it as long as we give credit to him for the design. If I ever see a "permitted" diagram published, I will hopefully remember to alert you to that. ..... Chila ///
Heather Eddy said…
I updated everything, including fixing my misspelling of your name! You'll notice I did it right the first time and I must have been spacing out the second. Sorry about that. :)
Anonymous said…
Cool! :-)
Unknown said…
Hi, Heather! I've had to move my blog. It's at origamichila.blogspot.com now. I saw this posting (above) on Facebook. A fellow folder from L.A. posted it. Too cool! You did a beautiful job with this. ..... e-hugs! from Chila
megan hicks said…
Hey, thanks. I've struggled with that four-corner sink for longer than I care to admit. With your help here, I finally succeeded!

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