Book Review: Extreme Origami (+ a Giveaway)

 Book winner: Congratulations to Kristin McNamara Freeman, who is the winner of the book!

A book review on a different paper art: origami. I’ll give the book away on Tuesday morning, and the winner will be posted here. To win the book, let me know in the comments. The book is hardback, and heavy, so this time its new home is in the 48 contiguous states.

Book cover

Title: Extreme Origami
Sub-title: Transforming dollar bills into priceless works of art.
Author: Won Park

 Details:  Hardback. Race Point Publishing, 2012. Size: 11.25 inches x 8.25 inches.  Page count: 144. 20 projects and more than 1000 illustrations on folding. Price; $25.00 U.S. $28 Canada, £16.99 UK.


  • Introduction
  • Terms and Symbols
  • Are You Ready to Take the Extreme Origami Challenge?
  • Instructions for: butterfly, toilet, tank, spider, fox, pig, swordfish, sea turtle, ox, Pegasus, praying mantis, stag beetle, car, fighter jet, bat, scorpion, koi fish, stegosaurus, dragon, formula 1 race car.
  • Acknowledgments
  • About the author

What I liked: You have to like a book that uses only American dollar bills to fold into shapes of everything from a toilet to a formula one race car.

The hardback book is beautifully designed. The pages are rich, cream-colored stock with clean black type.

In the front there are explanations of lines, folds, directions.

The completed pieces make the best use of the printing on the dollar bill, so that the pieces appear to have eyes in the right place.

The instructions are always on the right side, or start on the right side, making it easy to keep the book open flat while you follow directions.

The illustrations (of which there are many) are in clean olive green and white and clear.

What I didn’t like: I discovered that Won Park used dollar bills because they are hard to tear during the hundreds of folds and bends it takes. In other words, it’s too intricate for me. I realize it’s called Extreme Origami, and that means it’s way over my head. And it is. You have to have some experience with origami to be able to complete any of these.

Some of the large photographs don’t look as appealing as the smaller photographs that accompany the directions. It would have been been fine to show the completed work at 150 percent instead of much larger.

-Quinn McDonald is a writer who is busy writing a book about conversations with the inner critic.

18 thoughts on “Book Review: Extreme Origami (+ a Giveaway)

  1. Would love to win! my husband and i had an origami crane themed wedding 🙂 not nearly this intricate, but we folded 1000 origami cranes together. whew. lol
    thanks for the chance!

  2. I haven’t done any origami since I was a child, but I love a challenge and I’m fascinated by the way the printing on the dollar is used in the folded designs, love the eyes on the koi!

  3. My only interest in origami is because my 11 yr. old grandson has been folding paper since he was in kindergarten. He’s quite talented with paper folding and it always amazes me how he can read the instructions and just start folding. For the past two years he has entered a series of related origami projects in the county fair and won blue ribbons. This book looks like it could contain his next fair entry!

  4. Folding paper, making flowers, birds, fish, animals, most especially the birds and fishes has had a place at my creativity table for a very long time. I have spent time exploring folding fabric in the style of origami to create flowers and leaves and at one place in my journey did a series of origami in cloth wildflowers on small art quilts. I would be overjoyed to learn more folding, extreme origami and to win this book for my creativity library shelves a lovely treasure. Thanks Quinn for the opportunity to put my name in for the drawing.

  5. My daughter and I have spent time folding over the years. It has been a while since I’ve done any origami, but it always bring back memories of her as a child folding paper.

  6. I’m interested in origami as a demonstration, and as an adjunct of math and computing. I’ve read that the top “origamists” sometimes use software to help design new folding patterns. But actually doing origami? I’ve never had the slightest interest, for some reason. Where interests come from — there’s a puzzle indeed.

  7. Hmmm. I’m attracted to the art with money because of my association with the Burning Man Art As Money brigade. I also like to fool around with different modalities and folding paper is one of them. Extreme seems next.

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