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Origami (折り紙, from ori meaning "folding", and kami meaning "paper" (kami changes to gami due to rendaku)) is the art of paper folding, which is often associated with Japanese culture. In modern usage, the word "origami" is used as an inclusive term for all folding practices, regardless of their culture of origin.

The goal is to transform a flat square sheet of paper into a finished sculpture through folding and sculpting techniques. Modern origami practitioners generally discourage the use of cuts, glue, or markings on the paper.

Origami folders often use the Japanese word kirigami to refer to designs which use cuts, although cutting is more characteristic of Chinese papercrafts.

The small number of basic origami folds can be combined in a variety of ways to make intricate designs. The best-known origami model is the Japanese paper crane.

In general, these designs begin with a square sheet of paper whose sides may be of different colors, prints, or patterns.

Traditional Japanese origami, which has been practiced since the Edo period (1603–1867), has often been less strict about these conventions, sometimes cutting the paper or using nonsquare shapes to start with.

The principles of origami are also used in stents, packaging and other engineering applications.

Origami not only covers still-life, there are also moving objects; Origami can move in clever ways. Action origami includes origami that flies, requires inflation to complete, or, when complete, uses the kinetic energy of a person's hands, applied at a certain region on the model, to move another flap or limb. Some argue that, strictly speaking, only the latter is really "recognized" as action origami. Action origami, first appearing with the traditional Japanese flapping bird, is quite common.

Modular origami consists of putting a number of identical pieces together to form a complete model. Normally the individual pieces are simple but the final assembly may be tricky. Many of the modular origami models are decorative folding balls like kusudama, the technique differs though in that kusudama allows the pieces to be put together using thread or glue.

Chinese paper folding includes a style called Golden Venture Folding where large numbers of pieces are put together to make elaborate models. It is most commonly known as "3D origami", however, that name did not appear until Joie Staff published a series of books titled "3D Origami", "More 3D Origami", and "More and More 3D Origami".

Wet-folding is an origami technique for producing models with gentle curves rather than geometric straight folds and flat surfaces. The paper is dampened so it can be moulded easily, the final model keeps its shape when it dries. It can be used, for instance, to produce very natural looking animal models. Size, an adhesive that is crisp and hard when dry, but dissolves in water when wet and becoming soft and flexible, is often applied to the paper either at the pulp stage while the paper is being formed, or on the surface of a ready sheet of paper.
Pureland origami adds the restrictions that only simple mountain/valley folds may be used, and all folds must have straightforward locations. It was developed by John Smith in the 1970s to help inexperienced folders or those with limited motor skills. Some designers also like the challenge of creating within the very strict constraints.

Origami tessellation is a branch that has grown in popularity after 2000. A tessellation is a collection of figures filling a plane with no gaps or overlaps. In origami tessellations, pleats are used to connect molecules such as twist folds together in a repeating fashion. During the 1960s, Shuzo Fujimoto was the first to explore twist fold tessellations in any systematic way, coming up with dozens of patterns and establishing the genre in the origami mainstream.

Kirigami is a Japanese term for paper cutting. Cutting was often used in traditional Japanese origami, but modern innovations in technique have made the use of cuts unnecessary. Most origami designers no longer consider models with cuts to be origami, instead using the term Kirigami to describe them.

Strip folding is a combination of paper folding and paper weaving. A common example of strip folding is called the Lucky Star, also called Chinese lucky star, dream star, wishing star, or simply origami star. Another common fold is the Moravian Star which is made by strip folding in 3-dimensional design to include 16 spikes.

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