2-D Modular Design Process and Diagrams

Lately I’ve been playing with dollar bills and that translated into modulars which can be seen two posts down.  As of yesterday that translated into 2d modulars with a square.  I am the first to state there are tons of modulars out there and my designs are probably not very unique.  When I started doing origami I generally focused on 3d modulars, but I have taught three particular 2d modulars (One is called the “Magic Frisbee,” another is a Mette Pederson unit, and the final one is a stellated star that I learned from a origami day planner with a frog on the cover).  However this post is only about “steps” I have observed when I am designing modulars with dollar bills or squares.

 2-D Modular Design Process

  •  You have to have something that is either a pocket or an edge to but the next piece next to.
  • Determine if you can make it work around a single point.  The angles must come to approximately 360 degrees.  You can do this with math or (like I tend to do) just make the modules and assemble.
  • Determine the two angles the modules can shift in.  Depending on the angle of the pocket/edge from step one the angles are different.
  • Determine a way to keep the shifting from occuring by tucking somepiece into another piece.

I admit these are obvious steps, but once I verbalized them when trying to explain to my mother how I came up with things it has been easier to make things come together.


Here are some dollar bill modulars.

After making a series of dollar bill modulars I applied the same approach to a square.  The results are two units I now I havn’t made.  However the end design of the three step module I have seen.  My standard request applies…If you have seen them please leave applicable designers and links so others can find them and we can all expand our knowledge.  I asked around at the CHAOS meeting today and no one recognized the modules, although Robert did say the end result was familiar on the three step modular. 


In the last step (which is what makes the modular fairly strong)  I bisected the paper from the tip, allowedthe bottom by the white edge to go down, and tucked the excess into the white Isosceles triangle.  If you want it to look like the pink design repeat on the other side.


4 comments so far

  1. Eric on

    Thanks once again for the dollar pieces and your sharing of your art. I am going to try to figure them out from the pictures but I think I will need your help. Could you maybe show me diagrams for a unit of each of the above? And maybe the connection if it isn’t ‘obvious’…
    At PCOC I took your circular pot class. It was great and I’m looking at two examples on my ‘origami’ shelves. But there is a special spot in my heart for dollar folds (and tesselations, although harder to do generally).
    Happy folding,

  2. Jen on

    Please post diagrams for the first 2 models you have posted pix of above!

    Many years ago, I started making origami money gifts for people in my family. My nieces & nephews now request something new & different in money gifts for their birthdays. I’m truly running of out of ‘wow’ options for them. So your models would really save my butt for this year.

    Feel free to e-mail me if you would like!



  3. cedison on

    Eric and Jen-Glad you like them. I teach and next week is spring break. I hope to post the diagrams for at least one of the two and an older dollar bill design I posted. Sorry I am so backlogged.

    Jen I posted one dollar bill modular instruction earlier.

    Best Wishes,


  4. […] Flower 2 (M Peterson) Modular Star (N Robinson) $Money Star (T Chung) Morvern Flowers (D Walker) $Octagonal Disk (C Edison) Omega Star (S Song) Pentagonal Modular (C Edison) Reade’s Wreath (D Scott) Sparkling […]

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