Origami Books in Our Collection


Jasper and I have been collecting origami books for several years now.

We have a large fraction of the origami books written in English that are out there.
Because at least one inquiring mind wants to know, I will list here the titles and my opinions of each book in our collection. More particularly, I will list them in the approximate order that I would purchase them if for some reason I needed to re-create my collection. This order is only approximate, as it is difficult to rank 34 books. For completeness, I include several titles that I have only just started looking since Jasper and I combined collections. In the interest of ever getting this online, I will not try to hash out with him a combined ranking of our books.

You will probably notice from my comments that I am a bit of an origami purist. I guess I figure that if you want to use scissors and glue, you might as well take up paper mache or some other sculpting medium. Other paper crafts are fun and I enjoy them too, but I do not like comparing the elegance of inventing and constructing Peter Engel's octopus (eight independent legs, two eyes, another little tube, no cuts, you can find it in Angelfish to Zen) with Bob Allen's spider (eight legs, two little points in front, four long cuts, located in Eric Kenneway's book). I still like Kenneway's book because it makes it quite clear that the purists don't like this model and the other one that has cutting, and there are many good models in the book. I do like a little wet-folding now and then, as it smoothes the lines of a model and doesn't tear the paper if you do it carefully.

Complete Origami Eric Kenneway My first origami book, and I still reference it. A good mix of easy, medium, hard, diagrams, photos, trivia, and techniques. Quite probably the first book I would buy.
Animal Origami for the Enthusiast John Montroll I really like this book. It has the best origami eagle I have seen. It has many reasonably detailed models that are somewhat difficult to fold, but are good purist origami. You may have to ask your local origami club for help getting through a few confusing steps, but it is well worth it.
Origami from Angelfish to Zen Peter Engel Very inspirational. If you want to start inventing origami, read this book. Jasper and I each started inventing and making substantial model modifications after reading it. It also has some very good, but rather difficult models in it.
Origami Boxes Tomoko Fuse This is THE box book. Anyone who wants to get into making modular boxes should get it. It has a nice photo section and good diagrams with fairly good explanations of how to assemble the pieces. It is good at making mix-and-match suggestions. Very inspirational for gift boxes.
Origami for the Connoisseur Kunihko Kasahara and Toshie Takahama I like this book a lot for a few specific reasons. It contains Toshikazu Kawasakiís easiest rose, which I folded many of and then modified into my own five-petal version. It also has the best table and drawings I have seen of the 18 platonic and semi-platonic solids. The table has one small error in it. I like many of the other models pretty well too.
Brilliant Origami David Brill This is a fairly good book. It has several pages of very good photographs in the beginning, which I find inspirational. A lot of the diagrams suffer from too many under-explained folds per step, but most of the time you can figure them out by looking at the next diagram. Some really nice animals.
Essential Origami Steve and Megumi Biddle Many simple, traditional models with detailed diagrams. A few new models that I really like. Not all of the models are ďpureĒ origami; some have a bit of cutting or gluing.
The New Origami Steve and Megumi Biddle Many fairly simple models with some that I come back to time and again. Not all of the models are ďpureĒ origami; some have a bit of cutting or gluing. Not my favorite, but good for some models.
Origami for the Enthusiast John Montroll Not quite as good as Animal Origami for the Enthusiast. It has a lot of animals in it, but the models and diagrams of them are not as well polished as in his later book.
Origami Design Secrets Ė Mathematical Methods for an Ancient Art Robert Lang Huge, expensive, and reasonably inspirational. Not the first book I would buy. Interesting for the person who wants to learn about inventing origami.
The Complete Book of Origami Robert Lang Not really as encyclopedic as the name suggests, but it does go from simple models to complex ones (including some Lang insects). I find that it has too little in the way of intermediate-complexity models, but Jasper really likes it.
Origami Zoo Robert Lang and Stephen Weiss Pretty good. It has some really good models, and some so-so ones. My copy is around here somewhere . . .
Origami to Astonish and Amuse Jeremy Schafer Weird. A strange variety of usually detailed models ranging from easy to unreasonably hard. The diagrams are good, but the models get kind of odd and crazy.
Origami for Christmas Chiyo Araki A few actual origami models (they are traditional, you can find them anywhere) and a lot of cute paper crafts.
Origami Hearts Francis Ow Just plain cute. Very narrow range of objects of course, but if you want something heart-shaped, you can probably find it in here. Good diagrams, with a color photo section near the beginning.
Origami Insects and Their Kin Robert Lang Langís insect models are a running joke in the origami community. They tend to be insanely detailed and difficult. I havenít actually used this book, but it looks like it lives up to his reputation.
Origami in Action Ė Paper Toys That Fly, Flap, Gobble, and Inflate Robert Lang Many simple models, with emphasis on functional motion over beauty and detail. A few very hard models at the end (these models can be found in other books of his).
Origami Skeleton of Tyrannosaurus Rex Issei Yoshino One model, 21 pieces of durable paper, wet-folding recommended, and we havenít finished one of these finicky things yet since I got the book several years ago.
The World Record Paper Air Plane Book Ken Blackburn & Jeff Lammers Not really origami at all. It has many pre-printed, shiny colorful pages to cut and fold. Pretty and fun for a while, if youíre into that sort of thing.
Dollar Bill Animals in Origami John Montroll Kind of fun, but most of the models are very difficult to fold because dollar bills donít lend themselves well to origami. The paper is inherently thick and doesnít crease well. Some interesting models, but donít get your hopes up about the harder ones.
Origami Inside-Out John Montroll I havenít used this book much (it was originally Jasperís). It suffers from the frequent Montroll problem of packing too much into each step, with too little explanatory text.
Creating Origami J.C. Nolan No idea. Never noticed it until now. Jasper says it talks about inventing origami, similar to "Origami from Angelfish to Zen" and "Origami Design Secrets"
Championship Paper Airplanes Paul Jackson Brightly colored, has explanations for why airplanes fly, not opposed to a little cutting, and I havenít actually used it.
Origami Step by Step Step; by Robert Harbin Donít bother. The diagrams pack way too much into each step, it isnít easy to tell what is going on most of the time, and I think Jasper makes unhappy noises every time he tries to use it.
Multimodular Origami Polyhedra Ė Archimedeans, Buckyballs, and Duality Rona Gurkewitz and Bennett Arnstein Break out the glue! They look kind of neat, but they are sort of irritating to fold, and they usually need glue. Even the ones that they authors say might hold together without need it anyway.
3-D Geometric Origami Rona Gurkewitz and Bennett Arnstein More glue. If you enjoy snipping out little hexagons, pentagons, triangles, and squares, folding them up, and gluing them together, youíll like this book. Otherwise, use somebody elseís techniques for modular objects because these donít stay together without help.
Creative Origami Kunihiko Kasahara It looked neat when I picked it up at a used book store, but I have not used it much. This is because I am rather an origami purist, and several times I have flipped through it, found a model I liked, and then discovered that it involved a scissors. The cutting isnít usually just a nice little finishing detail either, but rather a crucial element to separate joined legs or other pieces that need to be posed separately to achieve a good effect. It also doesnít ďlandmarkĒ many folds, leaving the proportions as a judgment call for the folder, which usually means you have to fold something twice to get a clean look that is well-proportioned.
Origamido Michael Lafosse Not so much an origami book as an art book. Yes, it has diagrams for a few simple things at the end, but mostly it is an art book. ďOh wow, look at that. Does he HAVE a day job? (turn page) Oh wow, look at that . . .Ē
Wings & Things Ė Origami That Flies Stephen Weiss Havenít tried it. Itís Jasperís.
Origami Tanteidan 4th Convention   No idea. Itís Jasperís.
Mythological Creatures and the Chinese Zodiac in Origami John Montroll Havenít tried it. Itís Jasperís.
Origami Sculptures John Montroll Havenít tried it.
Fascinating Origami Ė 101 Models by Adolfo Cerceda Adolfo Cerceda; by Vicente Palacios Havenít used it.
Origami Omnibus Kunihiko Kasahara Big, looks kind of interesting but includes a scissors symbol, and I havenít used it yet.


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This page was written by Marie Paulsen.
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Last updated June 3, 2008.