I have seen a picture of Origami hourglass design a long time ago, and finally had the opportunity to fold this interesting design from Yuri Shumakov. The diagram was published in the year 2000 in the Russian Origami Journal Nr. 23, p. 30. If you can’t find the book, you might be able to start from a Tomoko Fuse model, the “Hexagonal Box”. The diagram to the hexagonal box can be found in the “Box Book Nr. 3” or “Single Sheet Boxes” – both from Tomoko Fuse. From my experience in folding both these models, I am sure that the author of the hourglass design took some { big 🙂 } inspiration on Mrs. Fuse’s models.

Paper & Sizes

I folded the Origami hourglass about 12 times and tested it with different papers. For the body, this model works well with regular Kami paper that is not too soft. If paper is too soft, the creases of the body can be sightly bent and don’t look good. If you want a more translucent look for the body, try to use Glassine paper. {If you are interested to know more about Glassine, you should read my Origami paper guide – and look for the Glassine section.} Anything tracing paper related is not really good, as the paper has no flexibility and is not forgiving. (In my experience tracing paper does not work with almost any Origami!)

Tips: Do you want to know more about Origami Papers or find out which Tools I am using?

In case you want to know from where I got the papers for this model: I really liked this Japanese Kami paper for the top & bottom of the hourglass! The glassine paper that gives it the translucent look is from HERE; and the patterned Kami is from the Origami Shop.

Notes To Origami Hourglass

Without going much into details of the Origami hourglass design, it consists of 3 main parts: the body, the covers (top & bottom) and the poles. The body is folded from a square, the covers from rectangles 1:2 and the poles are folded (my version) from 4:4 of the original body square.


  • I would suggest to use slightly smaller paper for the body (~0.4 cm / 0.15 in), so the lids (covers) fit the body snuggly.
  • I would furthermore not fold the top and bottom of the body over 3x, but cut off the first strip and fold over only twice. I also changed the size of each of those folds starting from smaller to bigger folds, to make room when you fold over the rim.
  • I also pre-folded all the folds of the Origami hourglass for top & bottom of body before assembling it into a tube, so the folding of the rim will go much smoother.



  • As I made my Origami hourglasses on the smaller scale, I needed to change the exact position of the tuck-in-fold, that hides the closing fold of the bottom cover. If you don’t adjust, the fold will stick out and make the bottom of your hourglass not even. The top cover can be folded the regular diagrammed way.


  • I changed my version from being a round pole to a flat one. I took a square (1:4 of the original size body – compare it by size to the already existing parts you have!) and divide it by 3. Now you have 3 rectangles. Each one of them I butterfly fold to the middle and then fold together again.


For the covers, I think Kami works best again – as it is thin enough to get the finishing done nicely.

Sizewise, I would suggest you try to fold the Origami hourglass model with 20 cm / 7.8 in copy paper to get a feel for the overall model. Then work your way down if you want to fold smaller. The two models pictured here were folded from 9.6 cm / 3.7 in Glassine paper (body) and 7.2 cm / 2.8 in Kami (body). The smaller you go, the more difficult it is to shape and collapse the covers. You might need to help yourself with tweezers.

You might also be interested in my paper recommendations including different Origami paper usage, personal hints, tips & what to avoid when buying online. To get updates on my latest video tutorials, subscribe to my youtube channel, see what other Origami models I am working on right now – follow me on Instagram and subscribe to my Newsletter.