Categories: Origami

Origami Moving Cubes

Designed by Jo Nakashima (16/06/2019)
Difficulty level: easy
My paper: 12cm x 12cm origami paper (one sheet per cube)

To fold this model you’ll need only square sheets of paper (one per cube), everything is connected without glue nor tape. It was based on the Pandora’s Box designed by Yami Yamauchi, one of my favorite origami cubes.

I’m really satisfied with the locking mechanism that I made to connect the units and I’ve never seen it before in other models. Inserting a flap into a pocket is a normal thing in origami, but in this case after inserting the two flaps into the oposite pockets they will block each other from separating. It’s actually difficult to disconnect them even if you want, because the blocking layers are inaccessible by your fingers (of course you can force them apart, but one of the units may even get damaged). I think the best way to understand how it works is folding a couple of cubes and testing it by yourself.

Number of units

In the video I show the moving cubes with 9 units (3×3), but you can make a bigger one if you want. For an N x N model you’ll need:

  • Top/bottom units: 2
  • Left/right units: 2
  • Middle units: (N-2)^2
  • Edge units: (N-2)*4

For example, to make a 5×5 moving cubes:

  • Top/bottom units: 2
  • Left/right units: 2
  • Middle units: (5-2)^2 = 9
  • Edge units: (5-2)*4 = 12
    Total of 25 units

Helpful videos

To make the origami moving cubes you’ll need to fold a 5×5 grid on every sheet of paper that you’ll use. In the tutorial I show the “origami way” to do that, without a ruler or any kind of tool. But the videos below can help you in this task:

Other stuff with cubes

The models below requires another variation of the unit and also a different connection to the side of some cubes .

Jo Nakashima @jonakashima

Paper folder. Dog lover. See all my origami tutorials on my youtube channel:


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