Origami Fidget Spinner

These twirling toys are all the rage, so we decided to put our own little spin on them. Using just two sheets of colorful origami paper, glue, a paper clip, and four coins, learn how to create your own personal spinner to both amuse and amaze.

If you already know how to fold an origami ninja star, skip to Step 19!

Step-by-step tutorial

  • Step 1

    Take 2 pieces of paper. Use different colors for a more whimsical look.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 1

  • Step 2

    Fold in half, make a crease, then unfold

    Photo reference of how to complete step 2

  • Step 3

    Tear along this crease to get two pieces of each paper. Put aside one set and work with the others first.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 3

  • Step 4

    Fold lengthwise to get 2 skinny pieces

    Photo reference of how to complete step 4

  • Step 5

    Fold down, crease, then unfold

    Photo reference of how to complete step 5

  • Step 6

    Fold the top of the pink piece to the left and the blue piece to the right. Use the previous halfway crease as a guide.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 6

  • Step 7

    Fold the bottom half of the pink piece to the right and the blue piece to the left.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 7

  • Step 8

    Flip both pieces over.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 8

  • Step 9

    For the pink piece, fold the top part of the upper square to the bottom left corner. For the blue piece, fold down the upper square to the bottom right corner.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 9

  • Step 10

    For the pink piece, fold the bottom square up to the right corner. For the blue piece, fold up to the left corner.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 10

  • Step 11

    For the pink piece, crease the top triangle inwards to the left. For the blue piece, crease inwards to the right.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 11

  • Step 12

    For the pink piece, fold the bottom triangle inwards to the right. For the blue piece, fold inwards to the left.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 12

  • Step 13

    Unfold steps 11 and 12. Flip the blue piece over.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 13

  • Step 14

    Center the blue piece over the pink.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 14

  • Step 15

    Tuck the upper right flap of the pink piece left, into the upper triangle of the blue piece.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 15

  • Step 16

    Tuck the bottom left flap of the pink piece right, into the lower triangle of the blue piece. Flip over

    Photo reference of how to complete step 16

  • Step 17

    Tuck the top flap of the blue piece down into the middle.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 17

  • Step 18

    Tuck the bottom flap of the blue piece up into the middle. You created the first part of your spinner!

    Photo reference of how to complete step 18

  • Step 19

    Use the thumb tack to poke a hole through the middle

    Repeat steps 4-19 to make the other half of the spinner

    Photo reference of how to complete step 19

  • Step 20

    Once you have both sides, use a hot glue gun to stick 4 dimes on the edges of one of the origami halves.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 20

  • Warning

    Have caution when using hot equipment. Exercise parental supervision during the gluing stage of this project.

  • Step 21

    Put glue on the top sides of the coins and stick the top half of the origami spinner on.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 21

  • Step 22

    Bend a paperclip so that it is straight in the middle. Feed it through the holes you poked.

    Press down on the ends to create finger holds. Flick your spinner and watch the colors dance in the air!

    You can experiment with different objects glued to the ends and other papers!

    Photo reference of how to complete step 22

  • Learn moreMagnifying graphic

    What is going on?

    Fidget spinners keep spinning for two reasons. First, many fidget spinners have a ball bearing at their center, around which the rest of the spinner rotates. Ball bearings use many small, metal balls to reduce the friction between an axis (the center of the bearing) and the object rotating around it (the spinner). Rolling objects produce less friction than sliding objects, so ball bearings allow fidget spinners to "roll" around their central axis, rather than slide around that axis. 

    Your DIY spinner doesn't have a ball bearing to reduce friction around its axis (the paperclip), but it does possess the second key trait of a good fidget spinner: a lot of rotational inertia. Inertia refers to an object's resistance to any change in its motion. The four, symmetrically-located dimes in your fidget spinner give the outside of the spinner a lot of inertia, so once it starts spinning, it strongly resists slowing down. By reducing friction and increasing rotational inertia, fidget spinners will continue to spin for some time.

  • FactMagnifying graphic

    Fidget spinners act like gyroscopes once they begin to spin, creating torque around the gyroscope's axis of rotation. Torque is a type of force that is created by the rotational movement of an object. If you're looking down at your fidget spinner, and you spin it counter-clockwise, the resulting torque will push the spinner towards you. Try rotating your spinner in different directions after you've given it a good spin, and see if you can feel the resulting torque.

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