Angry Sun God! (Aztec Twist, tessellated, backlit)

One of the most complicated things I have ever folded. I promised myself several months ago I would sit down and fold this (after completing the first step, which I diagrammed as a Simple Aztec Twist). Folding instructions for the first step are available online at my website (


I used orange kami for this, mostly because it was the right size and it was available when I started folding. If I ever fold another one of these, I will use something with more translucence and definitely more structural strength. Every tip of the paper in this fold is frayed due to the many, many times it was folded and unfolded.


I hope you enjoy this model, as I certainly was pleased with how it turned out. I hope to capture some better photos once I build a lightbox, but for now I think this will work.


This origami model also shows the directions I've been taking lately, moving towards more layered and complex tessellation work- I think I've got the basics down pretty well, and now I'm doing things that combine models together. This is really just a combination of two relatively simple tessellations:


this one:


and this one:



These have been combined together to make a much more interesting model. I look forward to taking this grafting technique further, and creating more complex and hopefully interesting models!

  • Sanna Pudas 10y

    cool :) I like the warm color
  • Eric Gjerde 10y

    yawp, you are very correct- that tiresome object at the left is my thumb, holding the paper up against a light.

    my preference (as you rightly suggest) is to have it with nothing else in the photo, but I couldn't crop my hand out entirely without losing details I didn't want to lose.

    I am in the process of building a lightbox that should give me better, more even lighting, as well as making it easier to get a good shot.

    I enjoy sharing the things that I make, and I certainly own up to the fact my photographic skills are sub-par. And that's OK :)

    your comments are always quite welcome!
  • Galit Rozenbaum גלית רוזנבאום 10y

    perfect work.
  • Brian Chan PRO 10y

  • Ranjit Bhatnagar 10y

    wow - i can't even imagine how you fold these things.

    (have you ever tried using a scanner with a transparency adapter? i have a feeling that the lamps in those things aren't bright enough to backlight origami paper, but maybe i'll fold something simple and try it out on my scanner.)
  • Eric Gjerde 10y

    yeah, I have a photo scanner at work, and a huge flatbed ricoh scanner. I haven't really found either to do a better job.

    I think what I need to do is build a box with a pane of glass at one end, and then a removable Rolux panel behind it- so I can point a floodlight (sunlight, flashlight, whatever) at the end and have it perfectly backlit.

    but that takes time and energy, and I'm lazy! :)
  • hale_popoki 10y

    Folding this takes time and energy!
    Wow, folding time exceeds 20 hours!?!

    The Aztec Twist looks incredible....
    I'm intrigued about the kami paper you must be very thin for you to be able to have 21 layers of it at one spot!
  • Eric Gjerde 10y

    Tina, I mostly fold this stuff on my commute to/from work, during long phone conversations at work, etc.

    it was about 20 hours over a period of a week, I'd say, so it's not like I sat down and did a marathon folding session! :)

    kami is japanese for paper, and I guess most people just refer to the normal el-cheapo origami paper as "kami" (to differentiate between handmade fancy paper, like washi, etc).

    it's pretty thin and stiff, but this was just a 12" piece out of a $4 pack of the stuff from the hobby store.

    people like Chosetec use the fancy stuff, like unryu paper. Although now that I look at it, it seems pretty cheap. maybe I should spring for some of that!

    the larger the paper, the harder it is for me to fold. 12" really pushes the limits of my ability to fold things in the air and have them come together well. this particular piece was really my first practice shot, and I'll need to do a new version on better paper for any sort of display setup.

    thick stacks of paper are indeed problematic! nothing like trying to fold Robert Lang's Moose, though... the first time I tried that, my paper was too thick, and when I folded the model in half it just split in half!
  • alizarine 10y

    I love the it's being held against a sunset.
  • Eric Gjerde 10y

    the best backlighting I get is holding paper up against my dining room window, when the sun is setting! it works much better than light bulbs.
  • No Op 10y

    complex stuff there, buddy.
  • levity_island 9y

    wow, just wow.

    Journey: day tripping

  • Alice 7y

    that's amazing!!
  • Eric Gjerde 7y

    and there are instructions for how to make it in my upcoming book!

    It was lots of fun to fold it again :)
  • Miguel Angel Gañan PRO 4y

    Amazing job, Eric. I´m still folding your first book models, and enjoying a lot, doing and un-doing things, practising for more complex models .... When will the new book be available?
  • Eric Gjerde 4y

    well, we're starting to talk about what should go into a second book now- but there's a lot to be discussed and decided on before anything concrete happens.

    I'll definitely be posting information about it everywhere I can, whenever it happens to come along :)

  • Orangewetland PRO 2y

    I love this design :) I didn't have your book yet when I made mine so I used a weird ad hoc method involving being too lazy to precrease but miraculously it worked haha. Thank you so much for all your free resources on line, they are very generous. I am happy that I now finally also have your book! Your work is so beautiful!
    Aztec sun tessellation 3
  • Eric Gjerde 2y

    It worked out very well for you - congratulations! I hope you enjoy the book!
  • Orangewetland PRO 2y

    I am enjoying the book already :) I had experience with twists but didn't understand before what could be achieved with different pleat intersections. Folding your daisy chains was very educational, difficult, and fun (I think this lesson in pleat intersections even helped me understand Joel Cooper's masks better)! I tried doing the surrounding daisies hexagon 1st and alternately petals 1st and found that both strategies are difficult :) I like petals 1st except that my attention wanders and I keep trying to fold petals pointing the wrong way before correcting myself. Seems like a silly mistake but my brain gets lost in the pleats and the triangle counts. Also after much hesitation this was my first elephant hide tess and.... I get it now! It really is lovely paper and the thickness is not unmanageable.
    I like the back view of daisy chains :)
    Star of stars 2 (back of daisy chains) by Orangewetland
  • Clint Joe 1y

    Finally! I actually reverse engineered negative space stars and aztec twist! I'm going to reverse engineer all the models on your book, and I almost got all of them! :D
38 faves
Taken on September 27, 2005
  • ƒ/2.8
  • 7.7 mm
  • 1/56
  • 200
  • Flash (off, did not fire)
  • Show EXIF
This photo is in 3 albums
This photo is in 4 galleries

Additional info

  • Viewing this photo Public
  • Safety level of this photo Safe
  • S Search
    Photo navigation
    < > Thumbnail navigation
    Z Zoom
    B Back to context