The square base (also known as the preliminary base) is a traditional origami design that can be used as a starting point for many other origami creations—such as the origami crane.
This is an easy and versatile base that can be folded in two ways—the easy way (which contains more folds) or the fast way (which has fewer folds but requires a little more finesse).
In this guide, I will teach you both methods so you can choose which one works best for you!
To fold this base, you will need a single square sheet of paper; however, origami paper works the best and will provide you with cleaner creases.
If you use a multicolor sheet, you will want to begin the fold with the white side facing down and the colored side facing down.
Method 1: The Easy Way
Step 1: Fold the paper in half diagonally. Crease and unfold
Begin the base by folding the paper in half diagonally, bringing the lower-left corner to the top-right corner. Crease well and unfold.
Step 2: Fold the paper in half diagonally in the other direction. Crease and unfold
Next, fold the paper in half diagonally in the other direction. Crease well and unfold.
Step 3: Flip the paper over
Flip the sheet of paper over.
Step 4: Fold in half vertically
Fold the paper in half vertically—bringing the left edge over to the right. Crease well and unfold.
Step 5: Fold in half horizontally
Now fold the paper in half horizontally—bringing the bottom edge to the top. Crease well and unfold.
Step 6: Fold corners into each other
Here comes the tricky part. Grab the left and right corners and fold them to the bottom corner. Then pull the top corner down to meet the rest and crease.
Smush everything down well, and there you have it, the easy way to make the square base!
Method 2: The Fast Way
Now let’s look at the quick and dirty way to fold the square base. This is a handy technique if you plan on folding 1000 paper cranes!
Using the fast method, you’ll want to start with your color down and white side up—if you’re using multicolor paper.
Step 1: Fold paper in half diagonally
Begin by folding your paper in half diagonally—bringing the bottom right corner up to the top left corner. Use your nail or a pen to make a good crease.
Step 2: Fold the triangle in half
Rotate the paper so that the long side is facing up and then fold the triangle in half lengthwise—bringing the left corner over to the right corner.
Step 3: Open the top flap and squash it down
Open the top flap and squash fold it down by bringing the top point down to the bottom point and then crease.
Step 4: Flip the paper over, and squash fold the other side
This is where this technique gets a little trickier.
Flip your paper over and once again open the flap and squash fold it down, then crease.
Flatten everything down, and there you have it, the square base!
The Square Base: Continued Folding
Want to turn your square base into an extraordinary origami creation? Look no further! Below is our collection of origami guides that can be folded using this particular base.
You can click the images below to visit each step-by-step guide!
The crane is in many ways the most famous origami folds and is an excellent beginner piece. It is said that if you fold 1000 paper cranes, you will have eternal good luck or a wish granted, so why not start your first crane today? You can view our origami crane guide here.
The Bird Base
With a few additional folds, you can turn the square base into the bird base, which is used to fold various incredible origami birds! You can view our bird base guide here.
Origami bases are a fun and easy way to memorize all your favorite folds.
If you would like to learn how to fold more origami bases, check out our beginner’s guide to origami base folds. Or, if you’re looking for some cool things to fold, check out our growing collection of origami designs here.