One-Cut Paper Stars

Take a full sheet of letter-sized paper and fold it. Then with just one snip of a scissors unfold that same piece of paper and you have a five-pointed star! We like this activity as it introduces the idea of using specific paper folds to create the silhouettes of almost any shape (polygon) with one cut of a pair of scissors. Harry Houdini, the famous magician; describe this “trick” in his 1922 book titled Paper Magic. There are also historical references to Betsy Ross who created the design of the United States flag with its unique 5-pointed stars.Origami mathematics s the study of the geometry of origami. The practical goal of this activity is to engage learners in the material exploration of geometry through origami and paper-cutting.


activity video:

One-Cut Paper Stars


Music and Art

age range



  • 8 ½ x 11” Paper, colored

  • Folded uncut examples for facilitators

  • Scissors

safety issues


Paper Magic, Origami, Mathematics, Origami, geometry, folding, algorithm, arts and crafts


Science Museum of Minnesota