How to Fold WXYZ

How to Fold WXYZ

I used to think origami only consisted of cranes, flowers and fish. When I discovered geometric models like WXYZ I was an instant fan. WXYZ is made of four intersecting planes. I love how well hidden the joins are, so that it really does look like the pieces go through each other. Even when I know how it’s made, the design still amazes me. This model was designed by Tung Ken Lam.

A beautiful six piece model

You will need twelve squares of paper. Only one side of the squares will be visible on the final piece. WXYZ looks best if you use four different colours. For this, you’ll need three squares of paper for each colour.

Making the units

Step 1
Step 2

Step One: Fold the square in half vertically like a book. The colour on the outside will be the colour that shows on the final unit. Make sure the crease is at the top of the model. Fold the rectangle in half from left to right and unfold. Then make a small crease to mark halfway been the left and the central crease. Just fold the bottom left corner to the central crease, gently press to make the crease and unfold.

Step Two: Fold the top right-hand corner to the small crease from step one. The corner shouldn’t reach the bottom edge, but just above it. The crease you make should start from the mid-point of the top edge.

Step 3
Step 4

Step Three: Fold the corner back to lie on the right-hand edge.

Step Four: Repeat steps two and three on the left-hand side.

Step 5
Step 6

Step Five: Unfold everything except for the original horizontal crease.

Step Six: Put a finger inside the model on the right-hand side. Fold the crease highlighted on step five to the vertical crease. You should only fold the upper layer and squash the flap down.

Step 7
Step 8 (The finished unit)

Step Seven: Repeat step six on the left-hand side. Then fold the left and right flaps to the back of the unit.

Step Eight: There are four flaps at the bottom, two on the front side and two on the back. Fold the bottom corners of the front flaps up to the central crease. Fold it as high up as you can so that the crease you make aligns with the raw edge. Turn the unit over and repeat on the other two flaps.

Building WXYZ

Joining two units together
Joining three units together

To join two units together, put two flaps from one unit into the pockets on one side of another unit. Slide the units so that the bottom corners of the unit line up.

Start by joining three units of different colours together in a triangle. They form a cavity made of three units.

Adding two more units
More units joined together

Choose a unit with a colour you have already used. Here I chose to add a second red unit. Add this unit so that the colour continues through a unit. Then add a unit of the colour that wasn’t used. Use it to complete a cavity of four units. In my photo the original cavity of three units is on the right, and the cavity of four is on the left.

Add a cavity of four on the other two sides of the cavity of three. This will complete one of the coloured rings.

The model now has enough structure to see where the remaining pieces fit. Finish each ring in turn and your WXYZ will be complete. Happy folding!

The finished WXYZ