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Making Origami Soft Robots from Low Cost Household Materials

Updated: May 1

by Layal Barakat, Ali Shtarbanov

Difficulty: Elementary

Duration: 20 min


This tutorial demonstrates how to create simple origami soft robots / artificial muscles out of very low cost household materials that are readily available in most people's homes. Three examples of such soft robots are presented in this tutorial with variation in behavior or fabrication process. Those examples serve as demonstration of this generalized approach and fabrication process, which can be adapted - through change of fold patterns, materials, and shapes - to create origami soft robots of various different sizes, actuation behaviors, force output, aesthetics, and capabilities.

In addition to the basic 20-minute tutorial, at the bottom you will find a list of numerous opportunities for how you can take this to the next level through various variations you can try, modifications, advanced projects based on this approach, as well as resources for how to extend this line of research further. While the basic tutorial is short, the additional resources and suggestions included in the end can keep you occupied for many days and weeks.


Prerequisite & Background topics

Prior to starting the tutorial, you can try familiarizing yourself with the following prerequisite topics and terminology by browsing the resources linked under each item.



Origami tessellations

Herringbone pattern


Origami-Inspired artificial muscles (video)


Materials & Equipment

Thick paper / cardstock

Sandwich bag

Plastic straw



Hot glue gun

• Small weight (e.g. battery)

Cost per actuator: $0.20


1. Cut a strip of cardstock and fold it accordion style.

2. Take a sandwich bag that is larger than the folded cardstock. Or prepare a piece of cardstock small enough to fit inside the bag when folded. See the image on the right for reference.