Origami Folding Dinghy
Design by Benjy - Great Britain
(Plans available from Duckworks)
6'2" (188cm) Long - 17" (43cm) Wide - 4" (10cm) High.
6'2" (188cm) Long - 3'2" (97cm) Wide - 14" (35cm) High.
Origami is a small, easy to build and inexpensive folding dinghy. Don’t be fooled into
thinking that a good folding dinghy needs to be complicated and expensive. Most often,
simple is best. Origami is full of character, yet is surprisingly capable for such a tiny craft.
Its square shape gives immense stability and good interior volume. It folds up and away in
just a couple of minutes. Its light weight (about 26 pounds) means that it’s child’s play to
launch and to retrieve. Even stowing is easy - just lay it on a bunk down below or lash it to
the rails on deck.
Its fold down floors mean your weight is low down adding to its stability, yet far enough
off the floor of the boat to ensure you never get a wet bottom. These same folding floors
have built-in handles making Origami easy to move about when folded. When erected, the
rowlock mountings double as handles. With or without an outboard, folded or not, Origami
can be carried with ease.
With a 2hp outboard, speeds of up to 10 knots are possible. With a 3.3 hp speeds of up to
14 knots have been registered! This is not for the faint hearted however, but great fun never
the less. Rowing is a pleasure, and there are two different places to mount the rowlocks depending on the number of occupants, so you can always be comfortable when rowing. At
the rear on each side are skegs, giving origami very good directional stability. They also
double as protectors when dragging the boat up the beach. Despite its light construction,
Origami is an extremely tough little tender.
Origami is easy to make even if you have no experience. The comprehensive step by step
instructions are backed up with photos that were taken during the actual construction of an
Origami, a discussion of tools needed, and detailed instructions for marking out and
cutting. The main ingredients are a sheet of ply, some PVC coated nylon cloth and some
wood. You’ll also need a few basic tools such as a jigsaw, drill, plane and staple gun. The
necessary materials are easy to come by, inexpensive and are available in varying degrees
of quality to suit your budget.
Whether you want a super cheap dinghy or an
extremely posh one, Origami will let you decide. In the
instructions many different ways of building are
examined. The proven way is shown but at each stage
there are notes, such as choice of glues and pros and
cons. Either way you can still build an Origami. For
example, the use of stainless steel staples is
recommended. One could use steel, but after a few
years they will begin to rust and become unreliable. It's
also a nice touch to trim the end grain of the plywood
with solid wood, but this is time consuming and not
strictly necessary though it does help to protect the
vulnerable end grain from damage and looks so much
See How simple it is to assemble
an Origami Folding Dinghy:
Step One: Open one side
out as far as possible. To
stop the panel from falling
inwards, gently angle the
bottom of it slightly inboard.
Step Two: Pull out the other
Step Three: Let the floors drop
gently into the bottom of the
Step Four: Insert the
forward floor support under
the floor panels with the
glued square underneath.
Locate one end of the
support in between the floor
guides on the side panel.
Step Five: Locate the other end of
the floor support in the other side and
knock into place until it is at 90
degrees to the keel.
Step Six: Reach under the
floor panels for the aft floor
supports and slide them into
position between the floor
guides. Knock them into
place until they are at 90
degrees to the keel.
Q: How long will it take to build my Origami?
Much will depend on your skills and workspace. It is possible to have all the pieces
marked and cut out in about 6 hours. Varnishing the dinghy could take the same again
depending on how nicely you wanted to finish it. To actually assemble the dinghy once
everything is varnished will take about 6 hours.
Q: How much will Origami cost to build?
Approximately $300, but this figure can go either way depending on the quality of the
materials you choose to build your dinghy with.
Q: What is Origami's carrying capacity?
Two adults or approximately 350 pounds.
Q: How long does it take to assemble?
With practice Origami can be assembled, ready for launching in about one minute.
Q: Is there a sailing version?
Not yet but we're working on it. Visit this site from time to time to see what's new.
Q: What is the biggest outboard I can fit?
Origami will take up to a 3.3hp engine.
Q: Yes, but how does it row?
Origami rows very nicely. The position of the rowlocks can be changed for rowing with two
Q: How much does Origami weigh?
Origami weighs about 26 pounds and can be carried folded or assembled with ease.
Q: Can I personalise my dinghy?
Yes! The plans include many ideas for doing this, from changing the colour of the
cloth to choosing a different wood.
Q: I don't have any experience, can I still build an Origami Folding Dinghy?
You do not need to have any experience building boats, you only need very basic woodworking
skills, and a few tools such as a jigsaw and a plane.
Q: What are Origami's folded Dimensions?
6'2" (188cm) Long - 17" (43cm) Wide - 4" (10cm) High. (figures approximate)
Q: What are Origami's assembled Dimensions?
6'2" (188cm) Long - 3'2" (97cm) Wide - 14" (35cm) High. (figures approximate)
(Plans available from Duckworks)