Origami Merit Badge, Intermediate Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 6,691 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—9,460 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! MJ 

Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life   

For this week’s Stitching and Crafting/Origami Intermediate Level Merit Badge, I began to see paper in a whole new light.

Little bits of trash that rustled through the alleyway? Origami would be-s.

Gum wrappers that mysteriously find their way into the bottom of my car? Paper cranes waiting to happen. Spearmint scented cranes, no less.

Photo by Michael Day via Wikimedia Commons

Wadded-up manuscripts and doodled-on sheets of lined notebook paper? Origami babies.

I collected and smoothed out used tissue paper, I hoarded paper grocery sacks, I bought stacks of scrapbook squares at yard sales, and I even began eyeing my trees with a gleam in my peepers (was there a paper-making badge?).

I was hooked. I loved having something to do with my hands when I misplaced my knitting needles or was stumped on my Great American Novel or couldn’t find the remote control. It gave me something to do when I was waiting in the coffee drive-thru lane for my Organic Almond Latte with Whip. Plus, it was fun making something out of nearly nothing, and I gotta say, my neighbor kids thought I was a genius. Forget balloon animals: origami brings a grin to everybody’s faces. (And they don’t pop or fly away. Score!)

To earn my Intermediate Level Origami Badge I needed to make:

  • Three different kinds of animals
  • Three different kinds of shapes
  • Three different kinds of flowers

Photo by Caroline Gagné via Flickr.com

Only nine in all? Pshaw! Why, I could do that, no problem. I turned to Pinterest for some how-tos and inspiration, and naturally, I tumbled right down a bunny trail of distractions.

Pinterest can be detrimental to an easily distracted gal like Yours Truly. I tell myself to look for origami pandas and I end up baking an Oatmeal Cake with Pecan Glaze. I sternly get back to looking up origami swan nests and I find myself entertained for hours by mustache designing. I go back for origami stars and I binge watch gifs of kittens.


It’s a problem. These badges seem to take forever … maybe it’s me.

Me and my addiction to wine-cork art notions.

Double sigh.

Anyway, after finding some totes adorbs origami puppies (and also learning how to French braid a poodle, but that is neither here nor there), I finally folded my last crease. I had done it:

  • An origami Dalmatian, a duck, and a dinosaur
  • An origami heart, a star, and a box
  • An origami tulip, a lily, and a pansy

It’s not every day you can add all that to your arts and crafts resume, chickadees.

(And learn to build a fairy house out of wine corks. Not to mention, the DIY plastic surgery. Though I may rethink that one).


  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    I have made lots of origami cranes for a local project one year, but never tried anything like the beautiful flowers shown. They are quite impressive!

  2. Origami was my ultimate ” friend maker ” while travelling abroad. I would usually do the crane as when you are done and pull its tail it flaps it wings. Magic! I could wow them in any country. Long train trips were especially good for this exercise. The watchers young and old would break in to broad grins and sometimes I would have time enough to teach them to do it themselves ( long train trips is the operative phrase here). I taught my students in Kashmir, India the first week I was there . Pretty soon the entire town was covered in cranes, strung across shop doorways, tied to their clothes, hung on bicycle handlebars,… you get the picture. I had to try to do a few other animals from memory but the flying crane was always the favorite. Thanks MaryJane for bringing back the happy memories.

  3. Oh just remembered- stateside I used to get extra spending money by betting people they couldn’t make a bird that flew out of a $5 bill ( altho the larger the bill , the more money earned). They would say it was impossible and voila I’d promptly make a crane , pull that tail,and flap those wings ! Invariably the person would say they wanted to keep it and just hand me another $ 5, $10 or whatever so they could keep it for good luck. Worked like magic every time. ( although I must warn you it is hard because the paper is so thick and you have to start by folding the bill first into a square , but it can be done – I can’t tell you how many I have made over the years – even doing a $ 100 bill once! )

  4. Karlyne says:

    Thanks for the morning chuckle, MBA Jane!

  5. Karlyne says:

    Lisa, I knew a guy who could fold one dollar bills into origami cowboy boots. But they didn’t walk!

  6. Krista says:

    This is a super cute story. I feel that I can relate to the Pinterest issue! This really inspires me to explore origami. I would love to try my hand at paper folding. I do recall making the paper cranes in elementary but that was so long ago I wouldn’t even remember where to start. Looks like I will need to make a visit to Pinterest to see what origami animals I can find and try out. Maybe I can work on earning another merit badge!

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