How to: Make Toilet Paper Origami

by Michelle Schusterman Jun 17, 2010
Michelle Schusterman experiments with toilegami, five star style.

Toilet paper origami (or toilegami, for those of you who don’t shudder at yet another portmanteau invading the English language), is a skill often displayed at fine hotels as yet another sign of luxury, in addition to handcrafted soaps and Oreo-topped pillows.

I noticed the Origami Resource Center had a page devoted to the art, so naturally I crouched down next to the sink with my camera, propped my laptop on the toilet, and tried to make some TP art.

Arrogantly, I began with the rather advanced Pleated Tuck – the one that looks like a little basket with a fan poking out. Start by tearing off a single sheet and fold it accordion-style. Easy enough. Next, the basket.

Remember, luxury hotels have the good, quadruple-ply extra-soft stuff. I blame the issues I had on my recycled, earth-friendly choice in bathroom tissue.

I’m not quite sure what I missed here. I folded the rough edge to make a border, then folded the two corners in and under to form a basket shape…ish. (The sheets were coming apart. You get what you pay for.) The next step said to tuck the pleats into the basket – but there is no real basket, and the base of the pleated fan is rather thick. The result might have knocked a star off my apartment’s rating.

I swallowed my pride and acknowledged that I’d tried something too advanced. How about the Pleated Fold? It’s a step down, but still nice. Not the Ritz, but a really good Holiday Inn. Start by pleating a couple of sheets (still attached).

Press them together tightly, then fold them in towards one another.

Here’s where I got confused. The instructions say: “Hold the two layers closest to one another and fold the corner to form a small triangle. Fold this corner once more to lock the two halves together.” I folded those two flaps every way imaginable, but nothing “locked” them together. Again, I blame my eco-conscious choice in tissue.

Skipping that and thinking I’d have a nice pleated bow instead of a fan, I moved on and fanned the two sides out.

The final step says to “arrange and fluff the TP until you have an inverted fan-like structure.” With cheap toilet paper, fluffing (and usually wiping) means tearing, so I fluffed nothing. Also, I couldn’t get the top to smooth down. I was left with what looked like a rather sad white cotton bowtie.

And this is beginners stuff – experts can have a rose, butterfly or even a boat to greet you at the loo. Have you experimented with the art of toilet paper origami? Share your thoughts – and pics, but before shots only, please – in the comments below.

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