Wall of Rainbow Koi




Introduction: Wall of Rainbow Koi

About: In which I turn the thoughts from my head into objects in my hands

My friend saw a wall hanging of origami koi that she really liked, but the etsy shop that was selling it had it priced at over $1000. Thus, I set out to make this for her birthday/Christmas present, and after countless hours of folding while walking, an art that I have mastered, I finally finished the koi and attached them to the friend's bedroom wall.

UPDATE: Here's version 2.0 of this tutorial, complete with LED mood lighting.

Step 1: Materials

  • origami paper (one square per koi you're making)
  • wire (not too thin; I used 20 gauge)
  • hot glue gun
  • tape
  • ruler
  • pliers
  • (optional): string

Step 2: Folding the Koi

For making the koi, designed by Sipho Mabona, I used an online diagram (whose link doesn't work anymore for some reason) and a stop-motion video of the folding process so have fun! It's pretty tricky, especially the swivel folds, but feel free to comment below if you have difficulties and I'll try to help. Fold as many as you want, but I folded 39 of them: 1 white, 2 bright yellow, 3 yellow-orange, 2 dark orange, 2 light orange, 7 red, 2 pink, 5 purple, 2 dark blue, 5 medium blue, 4 sky blue, 1 dark green, and 3 leaf green.

By the way, this link might help.

UPDATE:This is a link to a video tutorial for folding the koi; it'll make life a lot easier than following the stop-motion video. Thank you to DrGaf for bringing the video to my attention. ^^

Step 3: Folding Tips

The fins are the trickiest part, and the stop motion video isn't too helpful on folding it so see the above pictures on tips for folding them.

Step 4: Wire Mounts

To mount the koi on the wall, I needed to make wire connections for each fish. To do so, I used pliers to shape two triangles perpendicular to each other (see accompanying pictures).

Step 5: Arrangement

On a flat surface, arrange your fish in the way you want them to look on your wall. Take a picture and save it or print it out for guidance when you actually attach the fish to the wall.

To be honest, even though I did this step, I ended up winging the design. And I like how everything turned out so skip this step if you want.

Step 6: Mounting

Time to attach the koi to the wall! Using your picture from the previous step as guidance, hot glue the smaller wire triangle to the back of your koi. Then tape the larger triangle to the wall. Rinse and repeat until all fish are attached as you like.

Step 7: Optional Part

If you're completely happy with what you have, great job; you're done! For me, I thought that the koi looked too restricted to one area and looked like it fit a perfect rectangle even though there was plenty more space next to it. This being so, I decided to outline that imaginary rectangle with dark green yarn (no blue available). I liked this result a lot better so do this If you think it would help.

But all in all, I hope you enjoyed my tutorial!

2 People Made This Project!


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95 Discussions


1 year ago

Love love love it!! Where did you get the paper from as I NEED those colours in my life? thanks :)

2 replies

I just Love this. This would make a cool display with a large wooden display box made into a coffee table. Paint the inside like a pond and add some origami water lilies. Maybe even a mini battery operated fan and secure the koi on thinner wire for movement?

1 reply

That'd be a great idea! Perhaps you could give it a try? ;)

For one beautiful work but I have a question how long are you making the wire connections to hang the koi?

1 reply

Hello. See step 4; in the pictures, I say that I start with 5.5cm to end up with koi about 1 inch from the wall.

For one beautiful work but I have a question how long are you making the wire connections to hang the koi?

I really like this one, but the problem is i can't figure out how to do the ending steps of the koi/carp ( the folding fins in and out or something part.) I looked at your pics, but i still can't figure that part out. Any tips?

1 reply

Hmm.. perhaps try watching the video I added above? Not many tips come to mind, except that this fold is called the swivel fold and hence you should be swiveling your paper, if that makes sense. That was one thing that tripped me up the first time around; the folds sort of "open up" the paper in a swiveling pattern.. I hope that didn't confuse you too much. ><

When I download the PDF here it leaves out the folding instructions for some reason. Your finished work is very nice!

1 reply

What size origami paper did you use? I love this idea! I showed it to my 16 year old son, and he immediately said he wants to do a rainbow of them in his room! Can't wait to get started! Really awesome job! I'm sure your friend was thrilled!

1 reply

Ack sorry for the late reply. It was 3" by 3" paper. Thanks for your kind comments, and best of luck to your son!

Great work!! I have been trying to get this done for my daughter's room since before she was born!! I unfortunately cannot do all the folds due to a problem with my hand. Since you were able to do it would you be interested in doing it again for me? I would remunerate you for your time and effort. Thanks, Rakhi