One of the popular Chinese origami models is the three dimensional origami dragon made using triangular units of folded paper. This is a mini dragon model and the assembly is pretty simple!
How to make a 3D Origami Dragon – Tutorial:
We will need a total of 515 units for this model. This comprises of 251 blue units and 264 yellow units. The steps to make each of these paper triangles is provided here.
We will first make the head of the dragon, followed by its body and then the legs.
Origami Dragon Head:
The head of the mini dragon is made in the pattern shown here.
When assembling the units based on a pattern, we start from the bottom row and work upwards.
Start with three blue units for Row 1 of the head.
Connect row 1 by inserting the second row with four blue units.
Row 3 is inserted and three units are used.
Row 4 is made by inserting four blue units.
Keep adding the units following the pattern provided at the top.
For the eyes of the dragon, two yellow units are inserted in Row 7.
Keep adding the units…
Now turn the model upside down and you can see that the head of the dragon is almost done.
We have used up a total of 55 units for the dragon head comprising of 53 blue and 2 yellow units.
We will now give it a nice red tongue!
Cut a small strip of red paper like a cartoonish dragon tongue and glue it to the middle piece of the last row.
Completed dragon head -
Origami Dragon Body:
Take three units - 2 blue and 1 yellow unit and hold them together as shown.
The body will be a like long chain of blue and yellow units – with the blue units forming the outline and yellow units in the middle. This is how we make the chain.
Continue with this pattern – here in this step, three rows have been completed.
We keep adding units in the same fashion to make a long chain of about 88 rows..
Here are the units connected and the dragon body is made. For this model, I’ve used A4 sheets – 1/16 units and went with 88 rows as it seemed proportional to the size of the dragon head.
You can make it even more longer if you’d like.
The body has used up 176 blue and 262 yellow units.
To connect the head and the body, flip the head and insert two inverted blue units near the eyes as shown.
Insert the body to these inverted units - press gently so the units don’t get folded and yet firmly so they hold together well.
Bend the dragon body gently in the shape shown (like a roller coaster!) in the first and last images of this tutorial.
We will make four legs for the dragon (this is optional for the model). Each leg is made in the pattern shown below with 5 blue units.
Connect the legs to the body.
The completed mini origami dragon!