Thanksgiving Origami Turkey

comments (0) November 20th, 2009     

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Make your own origami turkeys for place cards or as paper decorations for your table or mantel for Thanksgiving.
For each turkey your will need a 4.25 in. by 11 in. piece of paper (approximate size), one ice cream stick, and glue.
With the paper colored or printed side down, fold in half along the longest side.  Then continue folding one of the halves in half until you get a series of five mountain folds.
Turn the paper over.  Fold a valley fold between the side edge and the first mountain fold.  Continue with valley folds between each of the five mountain folds.  When you have a series of five fan-folded mountains, free fold one more valley and one more mountain fold.  At this point 3/4s of the width your paper will be fan folded.
Unfold the 6th valley and mountain fold.  (Those lines will be used as guides to place later folds.)  Fold the paper in half, parallel to the original longest side.  Pinch the fan end to clearly establish the grouped fan-folds.  (This will become the tail of the turkey.)  Then reverse fold the unfolded area of the 6th fan fold and the uncreased 1/4 of the paper.
With the five fan folds grouped together, place the paper printed side down.  Fold the lower edge of the relatively uncreased side of the paper back, using the 5th mountain fold and the mid-point of the uncreased side as a guide to create an acute angle whose sharpest point ends at the fan fold.  Do the same with the upper edge.  The upper folded acute angle WILL hang over the edge of the lower acute angle.
Unfold only the last angle you folded and color in the entire back of the triangle created by your folds in red.  (This will give your completed turkey a red comb and wattle.)  Refold in last fold.  Turn the origami over so the printed side of the paper is facing up.  Fold in half parallel to the original longest edge.  Crease well.
Refold the crease in the opposite direction so the printed side is showing.  Locate the 6th mountain fold.  Fold the  most pointed end up along the guideline of the 6th mountain fold.  Crease well.  Turn the origami over and crease the fold in the opposite direction, again using the 6th mountain fold as the guideline.
Invert that well-creased fold so the printed side folds back towards the fan folds.  Run your fingers along all folds to make sure they are firmly creased, especially the base of the fan folds.
Turn down the tip of the most pointed fold to create the head of the turkey.  Crease.  Crease again, folding in the opposite direction.  Invert the fold to make the turkeys head.
To get a turkey that will stand up nicely and securely hold a small card with a name or holiday message written on it, a little gluing is recommended.  Glue the unprinted sides of the 1st fan fold together to make the turkeys tail a continuous fan from its left to its right side.
Finally, place a long bead of glue down an ice cream stick, spread it out evenly on the one side of the stick and place the glued side to the bottom (unprinted side) of the turkey at the 5th fan fold.  Hold in place until tacky enough to stay in place.  A little glue may be needed on the printed side of the paper at the mid-point of the fan fold.  Hand letter, stamp or print a message on a small decorative or colored card (3.5 in. by 1.5 in. works nicely) and slip it into the back of the fan folded tail.  Enjoy your completed turkey origami.
Make your own origami turkeys for place cards or as paper decorations for your table or mantel for Thanksgiving.

Make your own origami turkeys for place cards or as paper decorations for your table or mantel for Thanksgiving.

Photo: LDLombardo

The original goal in creating this origami turkey was to provide a hands-on project for upper grade level elementary students that would result in a three-dimensional object made up of various sizes of folded rectangles and triangles.  While working with students on the measurement and calculation of perimeter and area, I was bothered by their lack of attention to some of the details of length and width that must be observed and used to help break down the sides of an irregular rectangular shape to find the numbers they must use in their calculations.  Today's students seem to need as much hands-on and actual hand-to-object work with manipulatives as time will allow. 

posted in: paper, seasonal, origami, thanksgiving, turkey, place card holder

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