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Origami Tessellations Are Learnable


I teach origami folders the principles behind folding, reverse engineering, and designing tessellations so they can fold whatever patterns they like, unlike most tutorials that are focused on folding a specific finished piece.

My goal is to empower my students to confidently fold display-worthy tessellations, to read crease patterns, to reverse engineer patterns from photos, and to start folding their own designs.

Free Resources From Gathering Folds

Tessellation Foundations

Learn the basics of gridding and pleat overlaps and intersections, with an introduction to twists and tilings and a tessellation folded with only grid lines in each lesson.

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Advent of Tess

Practice the basic twists with a daily pattern on a small grid for 25 days. Progressively increases in difficulty and comes with reminders if you want them.

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Hexagon Template Files

While you can reference all of your hexagons with folds, it's much easier to cut around a physical template. That's why I've shared the files I use to order my own!

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Crease Pattern Template Files

When you start to design, you often play with arrangements of twists on a grid. Why not save the grid and do it on a computer?

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I started folding origami tessellations after taking Erik Demaine's Geometric Folding Algorithms class at MIT and I've designed over 300 new tessellations since 2018.

I help aspiring tessellation folders to deeply understand tessellations so that they can fold from crease patterns, reverse engineer from photos, and even start designing their own tessellations.

And unlike most origami instructors, I don't focus on individual designs in tutorials, but instead teach broader structures, theory, and skills so that you can start folding new designs with confidence and get the most out of any tessellation workshop you attend.

More About Madonna

Videos and Writing

There's new tessellations to work on all the time when you follow Gathering Folds!

I go live on YouTube every Tuesday at 10am New York time with a different technique and a tessellation you can practice it on.

Here's a selection of playlists that I've made in order from easiest to hardest:

Starting Tessellations

An overview of tessellation styles and a collection of beginner-friendly advice and techniques.


Grids have more options than you might think. Explore different divisions and ways to set up a grid.

Basic Twists

Squares, equilateral triangles, hexagons, rhombi, and right triangles are the basic twist shapes, in open and closed forms.

Foundational Structures

Many structures can give you a tessellation with three choices - twist A, twist B, and the spacing between the two twists.


I present 6 symmetry types relevant to tessellations - hexagon, square, triangle, rectangle, parallelogram, and linear.

Advanced Techniques

Unusual twists and symmetry applications await the tessellation folder looking for a challenge.

I also have a wealth of information on individual tessellation designs and the mathematical underpinnings of gridding techniques on my blog.

Check out some of my most popular posts and go here to see them all!

You can also see my writing in OrigamiUSA's online magazine, The Fold, with an article on my Advent of Tess series and more coming soon.

Terms and Definitions

Odd Division Grids

Rotated Grids

You can also learn more about a different pattern every week on my Instagram page!

I introduce each pattern with a quick video, then discuss the symmetry elements, display choices, and skills needed to fold it.

Is this really possible for any folder?


If you've tried tessellations and it's gone badly, that doesn't mean that you can't do tessellations - it means you need to find the right instructor.

If you're willing to put in the time and fold the grids, I can teach you to fold tessellations - no math brain required.

Many other tessellation instructors tell you to precrease everything and then somehow collapse the paper into a finished tessellation.

I prefer to fold one twist at a time, so that the finished parts stay done and the unfinished parts lie flat while I'm working on a small area at a time.

Gathering Folds Courses

Basic Twists Bootcamp (Join Now)

Learn the 8 basic twists and practice them on 10 tessellations that show the simplest tessellation structures possible. All lessons are recorded so you can work at your own pace and monthly office hours and a Discord community let you get rapid feedback too.

Tessellation Starter Sequence (Join Now)

Don't reverse engineer 200 tessellations like I did to learn the basic structures - work through a guided curriculum of 50 lessons covering everything from gridding to basic twists to the first symmetry extensions in three tilings! All lessons are recorded and come with monthly office hours and a Discord community.

Project Planning Masterclass (Join Now)

Once you know how to fold tessellations, you'll want to learn how to fold them nicely! PPM discusses considerations like the number of pattern repeats and locations of tiling breaks for determining what grid to use for your project and comes with annual updates.

Tessellations by Tiles (Join Now)

Cultivating a designer's mindset starts with knowing what choices were made to reach a given pattern. These choices depend on the tessellation's structure, called a tiling. In TBT you'll learn the design considerations for 24 tilings and the sequence of questions you can use to generate new designs in each tiling.

Advanced Twist Techniques (Join Now)

I'm always coming up with new techniques and tilings, and ATT is where I share them first. This lecture series comes with annual updates and includes guest lectures from other tessellation luminaries.

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Get weekly updates with what I'm presenting on YouTube and be the first to know when new courses are available!