Orimoto instruction – folding books creatively – diy tutorial

Orimoto tutorial

You have an old book at home that you don’t really need anymore? Keep it anyway – and make something beautiful out of it. We provide you with the simplest introduction to a relatively new art, in which books or their dog-eared pages are folded into two- and three-dimensional objects. Orimoto is trendy – and brings a lot of joy as well as a guaranteed result worth seeing, which you can give as a gift or use as a decorative element in your home!

Orimoto sounds like another craft coup from the Far East – no wonder, after all the word is composed of the Asian terms "ori" (fold) and "moto" (book). Nevertheless, it is actually the invention of a German: Dominik Meissner, a trained computer scientist, had been working on the creative gadget since the late 1990s. Meanwhile, there are many different Orimoto folding styles. We would like to introduce you to two of them: To start with, we will show you how to apply any motif of the freely available templates to orime.en into his book folds. And since we are approaching the Christmas season with great strides, we will tell you in the second part how you can conjure up a Christmas tree in the pages of your book without any template at all. Ready for the folding-intensive adventure called Orimoto? Then go ahead!

Orimoto basics

Orimoto lettering

What you’ll need:

  • Book (with 350 to 450 pages)
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • possibly folding leg
  • Folding template (from orime.en)

Orimoto material

Here’s how to proceed:

1. Step: Create the template! To do this you have to register with orime.en for the free template program. To get to the template you need to fill in a kind of form. Indicate how many pages are in the book you have chosen.

Hint: When using the free template program from orime.de the book must have between 350 and 450 pages. You do not currently own a copy with the required number of pages? No problem, as long as the book does not contain less than the required 350 pages. If the literary work contains more than 450 pages, simply fold only the middle part of the work, leaving the first and last pages untouched. In this way you "only" give the book a central instead of a complete decoration.

Tip: In addition to the free version there is also a paid version of the template program. This one expands the spectrum of possibilities enormously (also in terms of page count), but is recommended only for advanced and passionate Orimoto fans.

The page number is typed in? Then you choose in which form the template should be created:

a) as a table with measurements or
b) as a graphic.

Both variants work perfectly. We will first present how to work with a table, ruler and pencil. After that, however, we’ll briefly go over the graphics method, so you’ll know what to do in any case.

Last but not least, select what you want to fold into the book:

a) a freely definable word or
b) one of the (currently ten) available silhouettes?

To a: If you want to fold a free-form word into the book, the "lettering" area is the one to which you must give your attention. Enter your desired term – for example, a name or emotional term such as love or happiness. Important: The word may consist of a maximum of five letters. After entering the term, you decide on the font (currently there are five variants).

To b: If you prefer to use one of the predefined motifs, orient yourself downwards on the web page to "Image/Silhouettes. There you can see various objects, including a double heart and the yin-and-yang symbol. Mark your desired image.

Then click on Preview to see how the template will be designed. If it meets your expectations, enter the command "Create template". You can open the pdf document with a suitable reader. If you have decided on the measuring method, you do not necessarily need to print out the template. In case of the graphic variant, however, the printout is inevitable.

2. Step: As soon as you have created the template and printed or saved it, you can start with the actual work. First we will explain how to proceed with the table (measurement method).

Orimoto measurement method

The template table is provided with three specification areas:

  • Page
  • Mark 1 (= mark 1)
  • Mark 2 (= mark 2)

Orimoto template

Open the first page (to be folded) in the book. Place the book in such a way that the outer edge of the requested page faces upwards as seen from you. Our picture illustrates it.

Orimoto measurement method

Use a ruler and pencil to draw the marks indicated in the table on the page in question (here for page 1: 15.4 cm and 15.5 cm). Always make the same marks on the outer edge of the page. Work in a concentrated and precise way to achieve a harmonious overall picture. Repeat the described procedure with all dimensions and pages (to be folded) of the book.

Orimoto measurement method

Hint: If you are using a book with more than 450 pages, you cannot, of course, use the page numbers given in the table as a direct guide. Then it is recommended to write the page you want to start on in the table. Cross out the first page number indicated in the template (i.e. the 3) and write your individual starting page number in it. Also replace the other indicated page numbers with the ones that are significant for you. Example: You start on book page 51. Then cross out the 3 and write a 51 in the box. Then cross out the 5 and write a 53 in the field.

All pages are marked? Wonderful. Then you can start folding. To do this, simply form two dog-ears on each page: Fold the top corner down – so that the page edge is flush with the top mark (i.e., mark 1). On the other hand, fold the bottom corner upwards – so that the page edge merges with the bottom mark (i.e. mark 2).

Orimoto measurement method

Repeat on each page until you are done and have turned a book into a beautiful decorative element.

Orimoto measuring method

Orimoto Graphic Method

Now we would like to explain how to work with the graphic template. This is definitely faster and easier than the measuring method. First some general information about the template in the free version of orime.en: It is called "Interrupted G" or "45° folds only". As a rule, the template is composed of several Din A4 pages. On each of these template pages you will see a number of template lines (one template line per book page). And each of these template lines includes a break highlighted in black. Their ends show where you have to fold the dog-ears of the respective page of the book.

Orimoto Graphic Method

Now take the first template sheet and open your book. Place the template sheet in front of the first page to be folded – if you start at page 1 like we did, place the template sheet on the dirty title or the open book cover. Move the template sheet so that the book page to be folded touches the template line intended for it. First of all, it doesn’t matter which of the orientation lines you use at the top edge – you just have to make sure that you use the same line for the layout for all pages.

Note: You can also insert the Orimoto template from the right side under the page to be folded. In this way you always fold on the right side of the book. However, if you fold like we do on the left, you can take the previous folds directly as an attachment in the case of straight edges in the typeface. So you don’t need to insert any template at all at these points.

Imagine that the ends of the black break are the marker lines from the tabular approach. Fold the corners again so that the page edges meet these marking lines. At the top and at the bottom you can see the page numbers – so you can always make sure that you are on the right page. And since we realize that this is once again a moment when pictures are worth a thousand words, we refer you to our illustrations, which are guaranteed to clear up any ambiguities quickly.

Tip: fold the template sheet once in the middle – so you can super push it into the book.

The advantage of working with the graphic template is that you no longer have to painstakingly draw in the marker lines, but can start folding right away. With a little practice, you’re sure to get the hang of graphics in no time and save a lot of time crafting orimotos.

The blank sides that result between the individual letters in lettering, for example (there are no marks there in the template), are simply folded away inward, and as far as possible. The folds of these pages must not be visible at the front of the lettering. An alternative: you can also cut out the blank pages neatly.

Orimoto blank pages

Your own Orimoto art is already finished! In the bookshelf such a noble piece makes itself naturally best.

Orimoto lettering

Turn book into a decorative Christmas tree

What you need:

  • old book (approx. 300 to 400 pages, hardcover, sturdy binding*)
  • Cutter knife
  • Scissors
  • Patience

* These characteristics are necessary, because you will have to bend and press a lot during the work.

Cutter knife

Here’s how to proceed:

1. Step: Separate a page from the book. Cut three steps in the paper – so that the upper part makes a square that is cut in half when you fold it diagonally. Cut the other two levels a little less deeply in each case.

2. Step: Along the lettering (for the bottom two tiers), cut the page enough to fold the tiered areas diagonally downward, as in our image. This processed page will serve you as a template in the following.

Orimoto Fir Tree

3. Step: Open the first page of the book and place the template you have just made on top of it. Mark the step areas.

Orimoto Fir Tree

4. Step: Now comes the first tricky part: you need to cut out the entire book block along the step markings. Going page by page with scissors would be a rather tedious task. So you better take a cutter knife and boldly cut out several pages at once. After a short time, the whole thing will look something like this:

Tip: The edges don’t have to be very straight or smooth. They disappear anyway inside the tree when folded or form the bottom of each layer.

5. Step: Now you need to make the cuts along the lettering – just like when making the template. Here your patience is needed, because you have no choice but to act page by page with scissors.

Orimoto fir tree

6. Step: As soon as all pages of the book are prepared, you can start folding at the front. Here, too, you work in the same way as for the design of the stencil. Fold until the last page of the book is also under cover.

Orimoto Fir Tree


  • After about 20 pages, you can set up the book and imagine how the tree will look in the end – a useful motivation in view of the tedious act.
  • The further you progress, the more tedious the matter becomes. You have to keep holding the already folded pages with one hand to be able to fold the next page with the other hand. However, the tree is of course also increasingly beautiful.

And in the end, the Christmas tree looks something like this:

Worth knowing at the end

While you could theoretically still read the book with the first method presented (with table or graph), this is no longer possible with the Christmas tree variant. This is because the template version is only folded. With the splendor tree however additionally also the shears are used and parts of the writing are destroyed.

If possible, you should always prefer bound books. They generally ensure a better stand. However, Orimoto also works with simple paperbacks. If the work is not stable at the end, you can help with decorative tape or something similar: Tie this extra around the book.

The materials for folding an (old) book are conceivably cheap. In the best case they cost nothing (except a little printer cartridge and paper). Alone the time expenditure is not to be underestimated. Especially beginners have to plan several hours until they have folded through hundreds of pages. But as you can see, it is always worth it!

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