Origami Polyhedra


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

I love teaching geometry. It is funny because I took geometry in summer school to get ahead in math. Eighth or ninth grade is when my math brain kicked in and I wasn't in the honors program. So, the summer after ninth grade I took geometry in summer school to get into the honors program. My own exposure to geometry wasn't great because of the rushed aspect of summer school, but when I started to teach geometry, I fell in love. Geometry is a visual math. There are so many things that lend to projects in geometry and origami is a fun way of exploring shapes and can be a fun enrichment to any geometry class. I have shared different products and lessons over the years involving origami and math. Today I get to share a book that teaches the ultimate geometry lessons with origami--the polyhedra!! The book is The Complete Book of Origami Polyhedra by Tomoko Fuse

From the Publisher:

Learn to fold incredible geometric origami models from "The Queen of Modular Origami!"

In this book, Tomoko Fuse—Japan's most famous living origami artist—shows you how to create amazing polyhedral models using the techniques of modular origami (where many paper sheets are folded then locked together without glue or tape).

Make 64 intriguing modular models, including:
  • Stackable Modules—The perfect starting point for novices, these simple constructions result in stunning three-dimensional forms
  • 3-D Stars—Dazzling decorative starbursts that look great on a Christmas tree, on your mantle—or even in an art gallery
  • Manifold Modulars—"Inception-like" models in which individual modular constructions themselves become modules within a larger piece
  • Cubes and Boxes—Perfect for gift giving—and there is no finer teacher for these than renowned origami box specialist Tomoko Fuse
  • And many more!

*Recommended for experienced folders and up*

About the Author:

Tomoko Fuse
Tomoko Fuse Source: ​English Wikipedia user Prof. Finn,
  CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Tomoko Fuse is one of the world's leading origami artists, teachers and authors. She specializes in paper boxes and other geometric, three-dimensional designs. She discovered the art of paper folding at the age of seven and has since become known as the "Queen of Unit Origami." Her work has been exhibited around the world, including Paris Origami (Carrousel du Louvre, 1998), On Paper (Crafts Council London, 2002) and her solo show Yorokobi (Bauhaus Dessau, 2004). She has written over 65 books and in addition to teaching, folding and writing, she collaborated with designer Denis Guidone at Milan Design Week 2018 and was a featured artist in the Nova episode titled "The Origami Revolution" (February, 2017). Read about her work in Tomoko Fuse's Origami Art: Works by a Modern Master (Tuttle Publishing, 2020).

From Me:

Now in the publisher's synopsis, it shares that this book is for experienced folders. In general, all origami polyhedra are for experienced folders. Back when I was a teacher, I had some math team members give me a book that made origami polyhedra and to be honest I struggled with understanding it and never made anything from it. So, I started with what Tomoko claimed to be the easiest to make, the Simple Wireframe Objects. In fact, I started with the Basic Cube. It isn't pretty though, and I had to use glue to get it to stay together (and to put it together). I used my Nature Photos Origami Paper to make it. 


I will admit I was a little discouraged. I went on to try the Articulated Units. These worked much better for me. My Mosaic Cube came out beautifully and I didn't have to us glue! I used the same Nature Photos Origami Paper for this as well.

Now I wanted to try something a little more difficult. I decided to dare the Rhombicuboctahedron. For this one I needed smaller paper, so I used the Color Bursts Origami Paper

To get this one together I used glue. Mostly it is frustrating to put them together because as soon as you try to add another piece one of the other pieces comes out. Glue helped solve this issue for me. In general, I wish there were more instructions on the putting the shapes together to form the different polyhedra. This is my one complaint about the book. The instructions are not always as clear as I would like but origami is hard to learn from a book and not to see it actually done in person or on video.

The next chapter is on the Stellated Polyhedra. I tried one but was not successful with it. The instructions on putting the modules together to form the points were not very clear to me. I also skipped Constructing 3D Forms with Basic Modules. I didn't have the correct sizes of paper and since it was two different sizes, I figured I needed to be exact. I did try some of the Origami Nesting Boxes. The first one is Masu Box and Lid. I have made these many times before, so I skipped them, but went back and made a lid for the next project. The next project is the Cubical Base and with the lid it is called the Cubical Container. I used the nature photos paper again. My lid was a bit too big for my container.

I tried the Diagonal-Cut Box. I struggled a bit with this box as the directions were not great about how to secure the box. I used Cherry Blossoms Origami Paper for this one.

I also tried the Triangular Prism Box. (I'll be honest I confuse it with the Diagonal-Cut Box, so I may have them mixed up.) I needed to use tap to secure this one. I used the cherry blossom paper again.

My final project from this book to share is the Self-Covering Box. I found this one pretty easy to make! I used my cherry blossom paper again.

The final chapter in this book is Rhombic Polyhedra. I have not tried any of the projects in it yet, but they look doable. I may try some with the new origami paper I received the other day. Stay tuned!

This book has some interesting projects. The polyhedra are difficult and not for novices. Some of the boxes are easier to follow and make and could be for beginners. Overall, as a geometry teacher I love being able to make some of the polyhedra to illustrate for students. I hope you will check it out!