Origami from Surface to Form

Cover of the book "Origami: from Surface to Form" by Tung Ken Lam showing a pair of hands holding an origami flapping bird
Probably the world’s smallest—but most informative—book on origami.

Available to buy from the UK publisher and all good booksellers. Also available to read online in full.

Description: How do you make a paper hat in hurry? What are the six main origami bases? Can you trisect an angle just by folding paper? What is the difference between origami and kirigami? In this dense little pocket book, leading paper folder Tung Ken Lam tells the story of origami, from its historic origins to its use in mathematics, medicine and the kitchen. Whether you are trying to make a whale, a frog or a waterbomb, this is the essential pocket guide.

Publisher: ‎ Wooden Books (1 Nov. 2022)
Dimensions‏: ‎ 12.5 x 0.8 x 15.5 cm
Paperback: ‎ 64 pages
ISBN: 9781907155451

The concise nature of the book means that many fascinating topics are glossed over, so here’s some more background information:

page vi. The mask (top left) is Mexican. Under Shaping, the chain of cut paper dolls (top) is from The Girl’s Own Toymaker by Ebenezer and Alice Landells (1860, Griffin and Farran, London; Shephard, Clark and Brown, Boston). The plaited cube (second from top) is from A System for the Construction of Crystal Models by John Gorham (1888): start the plaiting by putting the flap with the filled dot on top of the flap with the empty dot. The human figure folded from the star-shaped paper (third from top) is adapted from Orikata Tehon Chushingura, 1797. The cat’s cradle (bottom left) is from String Figures by Caroline Furness Jayne (1906, Charles Scribner’s Sons).

page 8 and 9. The printer’s cap and newspaper hat feature in Tenniel’s illustrations for Alice in Wonderland.

page 15. Robert Neale adapted the traditional Swan to become the action model Funky Swan with two extra folds.

page 17. The squash fold in the middle of the page makes the traditional House if repeated on the other side of the paper. A valley fold then makes the Dustpan.

page 23. The crab uses the blintz frog base but has slits. It’s from the Kan No Mado.

page 26 and 27. These axioms are usually credited to Jacques Justin, Humi Huzita and Hatori Koshiro.

page 35. The Menko or Puzzle Purse is also known as the Thread Container. Some octagonal purses are made from leather using the creases shown.

page 37. Robert Neale’s Skeletal Octahedron can be varied into other interesting shapes.

page 54. An animation of the Pop-Up Spinner is at https://www.geogebra.org/m/ejpghhtz