Do you find yourself bringing home a poinsettia plant every December? It is growing and lovely with those bright red leaves, but invariably (unless you have a green thumb) it tends to wilt by the time the holidays are over. This origami Christmas poinsettia craft offers you the colorful beauty of the poinsettia plant (without the wilting).
This is a fun craft to do with older children or young teens, as the folding can be intricate for younger ones. If you want a poinsettia art activity to do with younger kids, check out this Painted Tissue Paper Poinsettia Craft. And before beginning your Christmas poinsettia origami project, you can also share with your kids or students some interesting facts about the poinsettia plant.
Fun Facts about the Poinsettia
Origin and Name:
The poinsettia is native to Mexico and Central America, where it was known as “Cuetlaxochitl” by the Aztecs. The poinsettia is believed to have been used by the Aztecs in a couple of ways. It was likely used as a red dye as well as to bring down the temperature of someone with a fever.
Joel Poinsett, the first U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, introduced the plant to the United States in the early 19th century. The plant was later named after him. Because Poinsett was also instrumental in the founding of the Smithsonian Institution, over one thousand poinsettia plants are growing at Smithsonian Gardens!
December 12th – National Poinsettia Day:
December 12th is National Poinsettia Day in the United States, marking the death anniversary of Joel Poinsett. It’s a day to celebrate and recognize the beauty of this festive plant. (It might also be a great day to do the Christmas poinsettia project with your kids!)
Symbolism and Christmas Tradition:
The poinsettia has become synonymous with Christmas and is widely used in holiday decorations. It is often referred to as the “Christmas flower” or “Christmas star.”
Red Leaves Are Not Flowers:
Here’s an interesting fact for you: The colorful parts of the poinsettia that most people associate with its flowers are not flowers at all! They are specialized leaves called bracts. The true flowers are the small, yellow structures found in the center of these bracts.
Variety of Colors:
While red is the most traditional and iconic color, poinsettias come in various shades, including white, pink, peach, and even bi-color varieties. So, you could actually do your Christmas origami project with non-traditional colors and they’d still be technically accurate.
Cultural Significance in Mexico:
In Mexico, the poinsettia is associated with the Christmas season and is used in nativity processions. The plant’s brilliant red and green foliage is said to symbolize the Star of Bethlehem and the purity of Jesus.
Poinsettia Day in Mexico:
In Mexico, the poinsettia is also called La Flor De Noche Buena, which means “the flower of Christmas Eve.” On this night, many people in Mexico exchange gifts as they celebrate the Christmas season. Often, gifts will be wrapped with poinsettias as decorations. (Another idea for your Christmas poinsettias! You can use them as gift-wrapping décor!)
Poinsettia Cultivation and Care:
In suitable climates, poinsettias can grow outdoors as landscape plants. In their native habitat, they can reach heights of 10 feet or more. But it can be a challenge to grow poinsettias outside their natural environment because these plants are sensitive to changes in light and temperature.
To induce the bright coloration of the bracts, they require specific periods of darkness. Careful cultivation is necessary to produce the vibrant plants commonly seen during the holidays. If you do bring home a poinsettia plant, keep in mind that they grow best when watered regularly and kept in moderate temperatures from 65 to 75 degrees F.
Okay, on to the details for making your very own Christmas poinsettia craft!
List of Supplies for Christmas Poinsettia Craft
- Colored craft papers
- Craft glue
- A pair of scissors
Instructions for Origami Christmas Poinsettia
Select different red, green, and yellow colored craft paper for the origami poinsettia. Prepare a piece of green square paper (10cm x 10cm).
Fold the square paper diagonally in half.
Unfold the last fold (the diagonal fold).
Hold a corner (on any one side of the diagonal half crease) and join it with the half crease.
Fold the open edge of the last folded corner and align it with the diagonal half crease again.
Similarly, fold the opposite side of the half crease.
Fold any one side of the current pattern along the yellow marked line shown in the picture of this step.
Again, fold the current pattern by joining the 2 yellow lines.
Prepare a piece of round shape from yellow paper and cut a spiral from its outer edge and towards the center.
Coil the spiral from its outer edge and coil it all the way to the center. Use glue to secure the coiled spiral.
Craft 3 green origami leaf patterns.
Craft 3 red origami petal patterns (use 8cm x 8cm sheets for each pattern).
Prepare a piece of square paper to use as a base for the Christmas origami poinsettia flower. Apply glue on the top surface of the base cutout.
Attach the origami leaf patterns on the glued paper side by side.
Now take an origami petal pattern and join it on the top (center) of the leaf patterns.
Join all 3 origami petals one by one.
Attach the yellow spiral pattern in the center of the petals to complete the craft.