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  • The Lotus Effect: Make Your Own Lotus

Follow this step-by-step guide to create your own origami lotus and participate in the Rubin Museum’s installation The Lotus Effect. Prefer seeing this activity as a PDF? Download here.

First, choose your challenge level. You can create the simple lotus or keep folding to create a standing lotus.

Then, photograph your lotus and dedicate it to someone or something that supports your resilience. Post your photograph on social media using the #The LotusEffect and tagging @RubinMuseum.


Materials needed

Square sized paper (the artist uses 8。5 x 8。5 in。, but any square size will do!)

Instructions for folding a simple lotus

  1. Start with a square paper (at least 7 x 7 in.).

  2. Fold diagonally.

  3. Unfold.

  4. Fold diagonally in the other direction。


  5. Unfold.

  6. Flip paper over.

  7. Fold in half.


  8. Unfold.

  9. Fold the paper in half again, this time collapsing the sides。 The paper should be in the shape of a triangle。


  10. Take the two bottom corners of the top layer triangle and fold them upwards。 This should expose the bottom corners of the bottom triangle layer。


  11. Take the two bottom corners of the exposed triangle layer and fold upwards. Your design should look like this image.

Instructions for folding a standing lotus

  1. Start with a simple lotus using the instructions above.
  2. Unfold the outer lotus petal layers and reverse the fold like the image below.


  3. Pinch the bottom inner layer corner forming a point. Fold this point up as far as it will go without disturbing the outer layer of the petals like the photo below.


  4. Take the top petals and tuck them into the pockets of the bottom petals.


  5. Flip the lotus over and fold the bottom of the lotus downwards, making sure to form a straight crisp line。


  6. Tuck the folded bottom of the inner petals inside the lotus. The outer petals will form the “stand.”


  7. Flip the lotus back。 Now your standing lotus is ready and should look like this image。



About the Featured Artist

Uttam Grandhi is an origami artist, and an engineer based in Brooklyn. He is an alumni of the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University, and Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani, in India. His artworks have been exhibited at venues such as Cartier, MIT, Tokyo University, NYU, Rubin Museum, National Museum of Mathematics, Gulliver’s Gate Miniature Museum, SIGGRAPH, and Nagoya University. He has won recognitions from MIT, Harvard University, and NASA for his inventions in augmented reality, and origami. Most recently, he founded OpenPPE Project in collaboration with researchers from MIT in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, inventing an origami-based, low-cost, N95+ filtration face mask that can easily be replicated anywhere in the world without the need for advanced machinery or skills.

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