Origami tessellations are essentially patterns, folded with origami, that repeat themselves as long as you want to continue folding.

There are 2 major types of tessellations, the classic type and corrugations.

Classic tessellations are usually based on either a square or hexagonal grid. The paper in these tessellations is folded into an odd number of layers to make the shapes and patterns.

There’s always an odd number of layers since the paper needs to always be folded back on itself to continue the pattern.

Because different sections of the tessellations have different numbers of layers you can turn on a light behind the tessellation for some neat effects.

Corrugations are made with one layer and the tessellation pattern is formed with wrinkles and waves in the paper. You can see the entire surface of the paper and it doesn’t look that neat to put a light behind it.

There are a couple other types of tessellations and even combinations of them in the same model. This post features a collection of mostly classic tessellations and corrugations.

Our first image for this post is a basket weave classic tessellation. It was photographed at an origami convention.

Basket Weave Tessellation
https://www.flickr.com/photos/ezorigami/7445142252

Basket Weave Tessellation, Designed by Joel Cooper and Folded by Tom Crain (Photo by Evan Zodl)

Instructions not available

 

This next model is an example of a corrugation. You can see how the paper is folded into waves and is all one layer, especially when compared to the previous example.

Adulthood Tessellated
https://www.flickr.com/photos/garibiilan/20302635340

Adulthood, Designed and Folded by Ilan Garibi

Instructions not available

 

Here’s a flowery looking classic tessellation.

Double Triangle Sawtooth
https://www.flickr.com/photos/bethorigami/6315495827

Double Triangle Sawtooth, Designed by Miguel Blanco Munoz and Folded by Beth Johnson

Instructions available in Origami Tessellations: Awe-Inspiring Geometric Designs

 

Here’s another excellent corrugation. It’s design is based on M. C. Escher’s Ascending and Descending stairs artwork.

Escher Stairs
https://www.flickr.com/photos/garibiilan/5895711053

Escher Stairs, Designed and Folded by Ilan Garibi

Instructions not available

 

This next image is a third type of tessellation called a Recursive Tessellation. These tessellations are kind of fractal in design with the pattern getting smaller towards the middle and larger towards the outside.

A Star
https://www.flickr.com/photos/jun_mitani/8743013641

A Star, Designed and Folded by Jun Mitani

Crease pattern available from Jun Mitani’s website

 

Here’s an example of a tessellation with a backlight.

Heptamerous
https://www.flickr.com/photos/garibiilan/5635206469

Heptamerous ver 3, Designed and Folded by Ilan Garibi

Instructions not available

 

This is an absolutely incredible tessellation. Alessandro Beber is an expert at weaving in different shapes and designs into the pattern.

Penrose+
https://www.flickr.com/photos/ale_beber_origami/19781560190

Penrose+, Designed and Folded by Alessandro Beber

Instructions not available

 

Here’s another fantastic example of an origami corrugation.

Inspiration L
https://www.flickr.com/photos/kusudama-me/29132890706/

Inspiration-L, Designed and Folded by Ekaterina Lukasheva

Instructions not available

 

Here’s a fantastic classic style tessellation pattern.

Mystery
https://www.flickr.com/photos/garibiilan/4484116428

Mystery, Designed and Folded by Ilan Garibi

Instructions not available

 

I’ve the 3D look of Alessandro Beber’s tessellations.

Promises
https://www.flickr.com/photos/ale_beber_origami/27549909976

Promises, Designed and Folded by Alessandro Beber

Instructions not available

 

In this next image you can see how you can continue the pattern indefinitely if you have large enough paper.

Origami Tessellation
https://www.flickr.com/photos/syngola/28739384083/

Spread Rhombi, Designed and Folded by Peter Keller

Instructions not available

 

Here’s another awesome corrugation.

NSNS
https://www.flickr.com/photos/garibiilan/27133942213

NSNS, Designed and Folded by Ilan Garibi

Instructions not available

 

This tessellation is designed to look like a series of pagodas.

Bagan
https://www.flickr.com/photos/garibiilan/6211325847

Bagan, Designed and Folded by Ilan Garibi

Instructions not available

 

Here we have a beautiful tessellation that’s sort of a mixture between classic tessellations and corrugations.

Circle Tess
https://www.flickr.com/photos/bethorigami/6315966650

Circle Tessellation, Designed by Benjamin Parker and Folded by Beth Johnson

Instructions not available

 

A lot of these tessellations almost look like the magic eye images. You can almost get lost in them when you stare for a while.

Go This Way
https://www.flickr.com/photos/garibiilan/5987759827

Go THIS Way – side D, Designed and Folded by Ilan Garibi

Instructions not available

 

Here’s another one of Alessandro Beber’s awesome 3D-looking designs.

Space 0
https://www.flickr.com/photos/ale_beber_origami/22321894722

Space 0, Designed and Folded by Alessandro Beber

Instructions not available

 

This next model is a very unique idea creating an origami tessellation with a set of paper trees. The end result is a pretty cool looking forest.

Rules of the Jungle
https://www.flickr.com/photos/garibiilan/3550315559

The Rules of the Jungle, Designed and Folded by Ilan Garibi

Instructions not available

 

This tessellation is an excellent example of how tessellations don’t have to be based simple geometric shapes. You can also create great curved or organic looking patterns.

Spiral Tessellation
https://www.flickr.com/photos/kusudama-me/29771361076/

Designed and Folded by Ekaterina Lukasheva

Instructions not available

 

Ekaterina Lukasheva also made a time lapse video showing the model being folded.

 

Here’s another excellent corrugation design.

Hidden Garden
https://www.flickr.com/photos/garibiilan/8359605001

Hidden Garden, Designed and Folded by Ilan Garibi

Instructions not available

 

Here’s a kind of delicious looking tessellation.

Icings Variation
https://www.flickr.com/photos/24776310@N04/3856490073

Icings Variation Ib, Designed and Folded by Melina Hermsen

Instructions not available

 

This tessellation is also inspired by M.C. Escher.

Which Way is Up
https://www.flickr.com/photos/garibiilan/5960106841

Which way is up? Designed and Folded by Ilan Garibi

Instructions not available

 

Here’s another awesome 3D optical illusion-like tessellation.

Cubes
https://www.flickr.com/photos/ale_beber_origami/15627283350

Cubes Tessellation #1, Designed and Folded by Alessandro Beber

Instructions not available

 

This next tessellation has quite a different design and shows that you can combine different patterns and shapes to make something unique.

Origami Samsara Wheel
https://www.flickr.com/photos/dimon_c1/28476780800/

Samsara Wheel, Designed Alessandro Beber and folded by Dzmitry Lysiuk

Instructions not available

 

I quite like how you can see both sides of this tessellation. It’s cool seeing how the back of it looks, in many cases the back of the pattern also has a really cool look.

Penrose Triangle
https://www.flickr.com/photos/ale_beber_origami/11221905263

Penrose Triangle Tessellation, Designed and Folded by Alessandro Beber

Instructions not available

 

Our final model for this post is something very unique. Ilan Garibi used origami tessellation techniques to make this paper QR code. The crazy thing is that this QR code actually works. If you hold your phone up to your monitor you can actually scan it!

This model uses 64 sheets of paper.

Pixelated Froebel
https://www.flickr.com/photos/garibiilan/6465972171

Pixelated Froebel, Designed and Folded by Ilan Garibi

Instructions not available

 

If you want to get into origami tessellations we recommend you check out the book Origami Tessellations: Awe-Inspiring Geometric Designs by Eric Gjerde. It has some great beginner level tessellations if you’re just starting out as well as some much harder ones if you’re looking for a challenge.

Ready to become a master folder? Check out our brand new book, Everyone Can Learn Origami!

Pin It on Pinterest