Crease patterns (CP) can be a mystery! This page will answer some of the common questions regarding CP.
What are CP?
CP are the lines on a piece of paper when you unfold an origami model. There are many creases in an origami model but not all are shown in a CP diagram. Only the critical folds that form the main part of the model (called the 'base') is shown.
Some diagrammers will use red and blue lines to differentiate between valley and mountain folds. If a CP is particularly complex, shaded circles are used to show the major body parts. [Photo from Nicolas Terry]
Why do people use CP?
Why do people use CP when conventional diagrams are so much easier to understand?
Who uses CP?
Origami designers use CP to help create new origami models. Using paper and pencil, technical origami designers map out entire origami models via their CP. Eric Joisel uses CP to create origami models. Robert Lang’s TreeMaker is a computer program that allows you to generate CP for rather complex origami models.
Since some origami models are not diagrammed, people will fold models using the information in the CP. Anyone can fold from a CP but the diagrams are challenging to decipher and can be approached as if they are puzzles.
The process involves folding the necessary creases and then collapsing the paper into the final model. It helps if the creator has used different line-patterns to differentiate between valley and mountain folds. Shaded regions designating the different body parts are helpful too.
Folding from a CP is not simple and will require a number of tries before success. Don't be tempted to fold a complex model from its CP because a conventional diagram is not available. Start with easy models before progressing to the complex models. You can find tips on how to interpret CP in:
In attempt to de-mystify CP, some origami enthusiasts offer...
The lion’s share of CP can be found in a handful of web sites.