Wall and Torsion Folds

By Gacharná Ramírez, Gerardo

© August 11, 2015

The following are two very common folds in origami designs based on volume rather than tips–such as different 3D containers. I propose a name for each one and I explain them as well.

Wall fold: 

Three or four creases that share the same vertex are folded, lifting two connecting walls in the process. The paper between both walls is flattened as a tip or as a flap which can be folded outwards or inwards.

The wall fold would be the 3D equivalent of the rabbit ear fold, needing both low intermediate folding skills. It should not be confused with the "3D rabbit ear fold" as seen in the diagrams of the Meerkat by Steven Casey (step 37) or of Noboru Miyajima's Bat diagramed by Carlos A. Furuti (step 89). Not to be confused either with the step of "opening into 3D" like in John Smith's Pureland Box.

Both walls may be of the same height or not, may be straight or slanted, besides perpendicular or not.

This is a half-folded common box. The lifted walls are of the same height.

There are two wall folds shown here in this half-folded masu box. In this step, the back wall is taller than the left and right ones.

You can see the tip resulting from the wall fold in the corner of this half-folded Pyramidal Box. The lifted walls are slanted.

There are two wall folds shown in this half-folded Eight-sided Box.¹ One of the tips is in front of the other. The lifted walls are not perpendicular.

Torsion fold:

You can make this fold when you have a series of creased rectangles rolled like a prism. Each rectangle is divided by a diagonal valley crease that starts and ends between the same corners. The rectangles are folded down and twisted following the diagonal creases.²

If the twist fold is for high intermediate folding skills then the torsion fold is for mid intermediate skills; it is easier to fold. It should not be confused with the “3D twist fold” like in Kawasaki’s rosesas mentioned in his book Roses, Origami and Mathor with the “iris closure”named by Philip-Chapman Bell as it resembles the iris of a cameralike in his 8-sided Compass Rose Jar. It also is not the same as a “coil fold”, explained in Tomoko Fuse’s Spiral: Origami ǀ Art ǀ Design, although the simplest coil folds are actually made out of continues torsion folds.

Depending of the number and proportions of the creased rectangles, the result of a torsion fold can be completely flat or have a certain volume. If it is flat, it can have whole in the center or not.

Examples of the torsion fold can be found in Twist Box by David Martínez, Triple Spiral Cube by Jun Maekawa, and Spring into Action by Jeff Beynon. This last two are in fact coil folds.

In this example, the resulting fold is flat.

From the diagrams for "Desk Tidy" by Rikki Donachie, in Origami You can Use: 27 Practical Projects, edited by Rick Beech, pg. 69.

In this other example, the resulting fold is 3D.

From the diagrams for "Triple Spiral Cube" in Genuine Japanese Origami (Book 2) by Jun Maekawa, pg. 70

There is one torsion fold shown in this half-folded Spring into Action, which is a model created by Jeff Beynon. It is missing the torsion folds that go on top of that one.


¹ In 2022, I discovered it was not really my original design. Tomoko Fuse had created basically the same model, Traditional Japanese Tea Caddy (Natsume); its diagrams were published, in 2002, in her Japanese book Iremono Iro Iro. So, the book came out eight years before I made my box and who knows how long before that she actually designed the model.

² In 2023, I found the entry on "twist folding" in the book Complete Origami, by Eric Kenneway (1987). The entry is about the type of folds I name in this article "torsion folds". Here's a quote from the entry: "A few traditional models are constructed by laying a number of crease lines into a square of paper and then collapsing it with a twist to raise the from. Japanese chemistry teacher Shuzo Fujimoto has developed this technique into an original and individual style he calls nejiri-ori: twist folding." (pg. 178) The problem with calling it "twist folding" is that it can easily get confused with twist folds, like the ones used to fold the roses by Toshikazu Kawasaki. Both types of folds are quite different, and thus, deserve having different names.