What are mountain folds origami?

How many folds exist in the origami. If you survey the internet, you will find out that there are many of them (Valley fold, Mountain fold, Inside reverse fold, Outside reverse fold, Rabbit ear, Squash fold, Swivel fold, Patel fold, Open sink, Closed sink, Unsink fold etc.)

But, the truth is that there are only two folds. Everything else belongs to the category of specific folding techniques that when broken down into the fundamental elements reduce to just two basic folds:

  • Valley fold and
  • Mountain fold

Valley and mountain fold definition

A Valley fold is in its essence a paper fold that forms a trench. A Mountain fold is, on the other hand, a paper fold that forms a ridge (look at figure 1). And, that’s it. There is nothing more to it.

What are mountain folds origami?
Figure 1

What’s even more interesting, both mountain and valley fold are in fact the same fold. If we turn this paper upside down, what was a valley will now be a mountain, and of course, what was a mountain will now be a valley. So, there is no real difference.


To prove you that there are really only two basic folds, let’s think for a moment, how in these days origami models’ instructions are shown. You see, in modern-day origami, the vast majority of models (especially more advanced ones) are shown only in the form of a crease pattern. Diagrams are exceptionally rare.
For those who do not know, the crease pattern is a diagram that shows all creases that are needed to fold an origami model, rendered on a single image. These creases include hinge, ridge and axial creases.
And that’s it. There are no additional instructions. Only what you got is sort of a plan of a model.

In figure 2 you can see an example of a crease pattern.

What are mountain folds origami?
Figure 2: Crease pattern of a traditional crane

Unfortunately, the crease pattern in figure 2 is not a real crease pattern. You see, for this to be a real crease pattern, all creases must have clearly defined orientation. In other words, for every crease in the crease pattern, it must be clearly shown if it is a mountain or a valley fold. Remember this, orientation is a term that defines if a crease is a mountain or a valley fold.

If it is so, let’s draw a proper crease pattern. But, before we do that, let’s define a convention. For example, the valley folds could be marked with a blue line while the mountain folds could be marked with a red line.

What are mountain folds origami?
Figure 3

Of course, we could do this differently since it is only a convention, an agreement. For example, some origami authors tend to mark the mountain folds with the chain line (dot alternating with a dash), and the valley folds with the dashed line.

What are mountain folds origami?
Figure 4

Again, these two are not the only possible approaches. If you want you can mark mountain and valley folds in your own distinct way. Only what is important is to be consistent and to stick to the convention, even if the convention is your own.

Final words

Now that I have shown you how a crease pattern should look, I hope you understand why I have told you that there are only two basic origami folds.

After all, if you look at figure 3, do you see anything except valley and mountain folds? I don’t think so.

What are mountain folds origami?

A mountain fold is a basic fold, in which the paper is folded behind itself. An easier way to do this is to turn the paper over first and then do a valley fold and turn the paper back over again. The motion of the paper is usually indicated by an arrow with a one-sided hollow head, and the crease is marked with a chain line (two dots alternating with a dash).

Chinese (中文)山折
Chinese (中文)峰折
Croatian (Hrvatski)izbočeni nabor
Danish (Dansk)bjergfold
Dutch (Nederlands)bergvouw
Englishmountain fold
French (Français)pli montagne
German (Deutsch)Bergfalte
Hebrew (romanisation)kipul har
Hebrew (עברית)קיפול הר
Hungarian (magyar nyelv)hegyhajtás
Italian (Italiano)piega a monte
Japanese (にほんご / 日本語)やまおり
Japanese (にほんご / 日本語)山折り
Portuguese (Português)dobra em monte
Spanish (Español)pliegue montaña
Spanish (Español)pliegue monte
Swedish (Svenska)bergvikning

  1. What are mountain folds origami?


    Place the origami paper on a flat surface. A table makes the ideal surface.[1]

  2. 2

    Place your thumbs and fingers at the ends of the crease you intend to make.[2]

    • Fold the paper behind, pinching the fold in. This raises the fold, like a mountain.


  3. 3

    Smooth the crease that has been made. The mountain (or backward) fold is now made.[3]

  4. 4


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Add New Question

  • Question

    Is there a different way to do the mountain fold?

    What are mountain folds origami?

    Nope. A mountain fold just refers to any fold where you fold the paper backwards.

  • Question

    What is a valley fold?

    What are mountain folds origami?

    It is basically the opposite of the mountain fold. In the mountain fold, you fold the paper down. In the valley fold, you fold it up.

  • Question

    So, a valley fold is the opposite?

    What are mountain folds origami?

    Yes. The valley fold is the exact opposite of a mountain fold. For the mountain fold, the middle goes up, and for the valley fold, the middle goes down.

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  • Origami paper
  • Flat surface for folding

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Updated: September 16, 2021

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Categories: Origami

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