Text-Only Instructions

Credits and Resources:

This is a traditional model and for me, perhaps one of the most beautiful folds in origami.

The windmill or pinwheel is considered by many to be an origami base in itself, since many other models use this form as a starting point.

There are also many ways to fold this shape.

Excellent instructions for folding this model can be found here at

and on various sites elsewhere on the Internet with some minor variation on folding methods and sequences.

Slight adaptations were made so as to make the instructions easier to follow and the model easier to fold without sight.

Paper to be used: Square, any size; use large paper to practice with at first. 

Thin origami paper that is a different color or pattern on each side is recommended for this project.

Folding level: Easy/Beginner

Steps: 12

Description: This is a flat windmill or pinwheel with a square center area and 4 "arms" radiating out from each corner of the square. The "arms" can be kept flat or may be pried open to form pockets which all face in the same direction, which will let the model turn in the wind if mounted so it is able to turn freely.


This is a great origami project to fold with kids. They can have lots of fun decorating, mounting and playing with their pinwheels.

According to             , dltk-kids.comyou can attach the windmill to a paper cup, pencil or gift tag with a pushpin or brass tack and it will really spin!

It is also a good decoration to use on gifts, cards, in scrap books or anywhere around the house or in the garden.

Give it to a child as a toy or place it next to an open window as a wind detector.

If using two-sided origami paper, lay your paper with the patterned or colored side down before starting to fold.

The insides of the arms of the pinwheel will be white. If you would like for the entire model to be colored, make a blintz fold and then start Step 1 with the folded flaps facing up.

Remember that your pinwheel will then be smaller, but it will also be sturdy since it has been folded with a double layer of paper.

Step 1

Place a square piece of paper down on a hard, flat surface with its edges to the left and right, top and bottom.

Step 2

Bring the left edge over to meet the right edge. Crease and unfold.  

Step 3

Bring the top edge down to meet the bottom edge. Crease and unfold. 

Step 4

Next, make a diagonal crease across your square by folding the top left corner over to meet the bottom right corner.

Crease well and unfold.

Step 5

Repeat the diagonal crease in the opposite direction by folding the top right corner over to meet the bottom left corner.

Crease well and unfold.

Step 6

Fold the left and right edges to meet in the center. Crease and leave folded.

You will be left with a long, rectangular shape, resembling a tall cupboard with its doors closed. 

Step 7

Now fold the bottom edge of the model upwards to meet at the horizontal center. Crease and leave folded.

Step 8

To make a squash fold, slightly lift up and reach under the top layer of paper of the part you just folded. Do the left side first.  Use the prefolds as a guide and pull the paper outwards to the left to make a triangle.

Crease well.

Step 9

Repeat the previous step on the right side, creating a shape resembling a canoe.

Press flat.

Step 10

Turn your model around 180 degrees so that the canoe is now hanging upside-down.

Step 11

Repeat Steps 7, 8 and 9 to create another canoe shape at the bottom of the model.

You will now have a 6-sided shape comprising 4 squares at the center and 4 triangles on the sides.

Step 12

Create the arms of your windmill by first folding the top right point of the model upwards and away from you and then fold the bottom left point of the model down, towards you and press flat.

To make these folds you have to pry open the triangles, gently lift the paper and push it a little sideways and up or down.

The creases you made previously will help you here and the first two arms of the windmill/pinwheel will result.

The other two arms will already be in place.

Making origami accessible to visually impaired crafters through text instructions.

for non-commercial use only.

Compiled by Lindy van der Merwe, August 2015