I understand the theory behind learning to fold a model from a crease pattern, but given that CPs are more a tool for designers than folders, there doesn't seem to be much intermediate ground between trivial "here, do a bird base..." lessons or "just do it" basic advice; and people posting triumphs about solving some super-complex Kamiya CP. But given that some of the more prolific and complex designers don't have the time/energy to spend on diagrams for many of their models, but are still willing to publish a CP, this is a skill I'd like to master.

But in the learning resources I've found, it's all frustratingly lacking in hard advice or practice pieces in the middle.

What do I need to look for in a CP to judge its difficulty level? I don't want to get so frustrated that I give up all together, but neither do I want it to be so trivial as to be boring. Is it just how dark the grey value of the printed CP is? :) Is there a good learning resource for bridging this middle ground to CP mastery?

  • Won't this be opinion-based after all?
    – D. Tunus
    Apr 29, 2016 at 9:38
  • @D.Tanya, I (obviously) didn't think so, but if you do, you can vote to close it on those grounds.
    – inkista
    Apr 30, 2016 at 2:25
  • 1
    im sure there is a math to this, easy = longer contiguous creases, hard = billions of little ones..
    – Sky
    May 16, 2016 at 3:11
  • @Sky Well, unless it's a fundamentally easy model someone dressed up with tessellation (e.g. fish scales). :-)
    – inkista
    May 19, 2016 at 16:16

1 Answer 1


While there is no surefire way to know, some cues may indicate a simpler or a more complex model:

  • If it's a box-pleating model or the CP is otherwise based around a grid, the size of the grid is usually correlated to the model's complexity. As a rule of thumb, something that uses a 16×16 grid will usually be simpler than something based around an 48×48 grid.
  • The complexity of line intersections in the CP may indicate how many layers of paper there are in different parts of the model which in turn may indicate the complexity to fold. So intersections where a larger number of creases meet may indicate a more complex model. There will, of course be exceptions, as a simple mountain fold over multiple layers may have the same CP (except for fold orientation) as a complex closed sink along the same line.
  • Look at the finished model. The amount of detail will often indicate the complexity. Bad surprises do happen, however.
  • Look around forums for people writing about the model — either the folders themselves or people commenting their work will often mention the model's complexity, especially if it is high. Don't be afraid to ask, either.
  • Get some experience by folding simple designs first. Even if you do not intend to fold tessellations in the future, they may be a good starting point into Crease Patterns since tessellations are often published in the form of CPs but at the same time the complexity of these CPs is usually much lower than that of animal model CPs. As you gain experience by folding simple Crease Patterns, you will become more proficient in judging the complexity of a CP.

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