You can sell downloadable origami instructions on the OrigamiUSA website through the online Origami Source. You can sell individual instructions or collections of several instructions in a single product, as you prefer. Of course, you must have permission from the relevant artists (composer and diagrammer) to sell their work. This page tells you how to get started. Please read through it all.

The process is quite simple. You will start by signing up for a website account and applying for authorization to upload downloadable products.

Once you are approved, you will submit your downloadable material along with further descriptive material to the website via a web form. The Source team will review, possibly edit, and approve your product listing and post it in The Source for sale. When customers buy your product, they'll receive a customer-specific link allowing them to download it. The link will remain active forever (or until we change the program or you withdraw the product from sale).

You will receive quarterly payment for downloads of your products (subject to a threshold, see below). You will receive up to 70% of the list price, which you define. You will also have access at all times to an online report that shows current sales status of all of your downloadable products, as well as all past payments to you.

Downloads will be in PDF format, so that's the format that you'll provide for your products.

Website accounts

To sell a product, you must have an origamiusa.org website account with full and complete contact information (postal mailing address, email address, phone number). This account establishes your identity as a seller. You will need to be logged into your website account to see the status of your own products.

To apply for authorization to submit downloadable files, do the following:

  1. Create a website account if you have not yet done so. Please make sure you fill in the Contact Information section completely.
  2. Login to your website account. If your Contact Information is not filled in completely, please click the "Edit 'Contact Information'" link and fill it in.
  3. Read the Terms and Conditions (below on this page).
  4. Fill out the seller application form and submit it.

Once you've been approved, you'll receive an email notifying you that you've been approved as a seller. When that happens, you'll see a new "Download Sales" tab on your profile page, which will show you your products and your payment information.

The Download Sales tab contains five sub-tabs that relate to your sales:

  • Products — A list of your approved products, pricing, and sales
  • Payments — A summary of past payments and amount currently due you
  • Pending — Products you've submitted that are awaiting approval; also the link to create a new product.
  • Seller Information — Public information about you, visible to your buyers
  • Seller Information (private) — Private information about you, used only for administration.

When filling out the application form, you have the option to specify whether you want to receive your payments via check (best for U.S. sellers) or PayPal (best for international sellers). After your approval, you'll be able to create and upload downloadable files as products using the link on your Sales page, which will appear in your user profile (see the menu icon in the upper right corner) after you've been approved.

Creating a Product Download

After you are approved as a seller, you'll see a link on the Pending sub-tab of your Sales page for "Create new submission" that allows you to create a new product download. You will provide a title, a text description, a thumbnail image, the download file itself, and a price. When you submit it, the Source team will automatically receive an email of notification to look at it for approval.

At that point, the Source team will review your product. They may ask for changes or make suggestions or even edit it directly for consistency and style. Once it's mutually acceptable, they will publish it to the catalog, and at that point it will be visible to shoppers and ready for sale. (Approved products are visible immediately to logged-in users; there may be a delay of up to a few hours before non-logged-in users will see it.) Once it is published, it is no longer editable by you, but you can ask the Source to make changes on your behalf by sending an email request. The Source team tries very hard to review everything within 48 hours or less.

You can set any price you wish with a $1.00 minimum. You will receive up to 70% of your list price for each sale. The exact formula is: seller share = (70% x (list price) - $0.12), rounded to the nearest penny. Some examples are:

List Price You Receive
$1.00 $0.58
$2.00 $1.28
$5.00 $3.38

The seller share is computed from the product list price, so your amount is unaffected by the OrigamiUSA member's discount or any other discounts we might give (discounts come out of our share). The seller share is per-product: if one person buys a $1.00 product, you get $0.58, and if 10 people buy the product, you get $5.80. We impose no other transaction costs. If you are getting paid via PayPal, though, be aware that PayPal will impose their own fee of approximately 3% on what we send.

Describing Your Products

Title: Many of our customers may not be familiar with electronic formats, and so we want to make the format clear and prominent. The system will add the file format in square brackets at the end of your title after approval. That is, if you submit "Flapping Bird" in PDF format, after your product is approved, it will automatically be retitled "Flapping Bird [pdf]."

The Origami Source: On the "create product" form, there is a series of checkboxes for various categories that are used to classify your product: by type, by subject, level, etc. These tags will determine where your product shows up in the hierarchical catalog. Feel free to choose any that apply. At the very least, you should select EITHER "File downloads" (for individual model diagrams) OR both of "E-books" and "All Books (incl. E-books)" for anthologies or collections.

Price: This is the price you're setting. There is a $1.00 minimum. Don't worry about entering the symbol or extra decimal digits; to set a price of "$1.00", just enter "1".

Author/Creator: This should be the family name only of the author (if it's an e-book) or the creator (if it's an individual model). List only the family name (e.g., "Yoshizawa"). If there are multiple authors (but a small number), list them all, e.g., "Montroll and Lang." If your download is a collection of works by many authors, use "Various."

Image: This is what the customer will see. If your download is an e-book, it should be the cover of the book. If your download is an individual figure, it should be a drawing or photograph of the finished work. The listing thumbnails will be cropped to a 1:1.3 aspect ratio; on product pages, the image will be scaled to a fixed width but their aspect ratio will be preserved.

You can enter more than one image if you like; to enter multiples, click the Upload button for the first, then "Add another item." Your subsequent images will show up on product pages as thumbnails under the main image, but they'll be clickable to be seen in full-size view.

Download file: This is the actual download file. It should be in PDF format. We may add more formats in the future. It must be a single file; if you have multiple pages, you should combine them into a single file.

Description: Your product description will appear in the online catalog. It is used by the Source's own search engine (see the search box in the left menu bar); it will also be indexed by Google, Bing, and other search engines, so we encourage a thorough description! Of course, you should include relevant information like the creator, diagrammer, author or editor (for collections or anthologies), and some description of the work itself. For individual diagrams, we recommend you follow this format:

Creator: Jane Creator (here you can use the full name of the creator)
Diagrammer: Joe Diagrammer
Details: Anything else you want to say about the work.

If you just type plain text with line breaks, your description will be formatted into HTML. You can include basic HTML tags. If you click the "enable rich text" link (just below the text box), you will turn on an editor with buttons for bold, italic, links, etc.

In general, what you put in the description is up to you. However, please make sure it is grammatical and formatted as normal prose would be (e.g., do not put everything in italics or bold or ALL CAPS). If your description does not accurately describe what you're offering, you (and everyone else) will undoubtedly see that reflected in the comments on your product (see below).

By providing your instructions to purchasers, you are implicitly granting them the right to fold from them, at least, for personal use and enjoyment. If you are willing to grant further rights, such as the right to teach the design commercially or to fold the design for sale, we encourage you to include that information in your description. Conversely, if you would prefer people not do any of those things (or others), you might wish to make that clear, too.

Note that your Seller Information (which you filled out when you applied) will appear on each of your products. You can change your Seller information at any time (by editing the "Seller Information" sub-tab of your Sales page); the changes will immediately show up on your product pages.

The Source team's review is primarily for technical correctness, making sure that you've provided all of the elements, that you've checked appropriate tags, etc. We do not review for clarity or completeness or do test-folding; that's up to you. In general, the subject matter is up to you as well, but because OrigamiUSA's events and publications are used by young kids, we strive for family-friendliness; if your submission were a movie, it should be no more than PG.


The last item on the submission form relates to permission: you must obtain permission from an artist(s) before posting his/her/their work for sale. If the designer and diagrammer are two different people, you need permission from both. Of course, if you are both designer and diagrammer, there's no problem. For more information on this topic, please see our copyright information page. You must check the permissions agreement box with each product you submit to the store.


All PDF files will be automatically watermarked at the time of purchase, e.g., stamped at the bottom with the name and email of the purchaser. Please format all of the pages of your file to A4 (210 x 297 mm) or US Letter (8.5" x 11"). Leave a 1 cm margin at the bottom of your document; that's where the watermark will go. Please also make all your pages the same size and orientation (or the watermarker will get confused).

Watermarked files will be encrypted to prevent further alteration (so that people cannot readily remove the watermark) and the author in the PDF metadata will be set to your seller name (from your Seller Information). Users will be allowed to view and print the file, but not alter it directly.

Please upload unencrypted PDF files if you want them to be watermarked. The watermarker can only handle unencrypted files. If you upload encrypted PDF files, they will be sold as-is (with no added watermark).


Note that anyone who has purchased your product may post a comment on it. All comments are moderated. You can reply to any comments on your own products.

Tracking Your Products

After you are approved as a seller, on the Products tab of your Sales page, you'll see a listing of all of your approved file download products (including the list price and seller share) with links to payment detail for each product. The payment detail will show the amount currently outstanding for your product and a listing of all past payments on the product.


After you are approved as a seller, you'll see a listing of the amount currently owed to you for all products on the Payments tab of your Sales page, along with links to all past payments (which, in turn, can be broken out into individual products).

Payments will be made quarterly to any seller who has accrued at least $20 of payments due, totaled over all products. If you have not yet accrued $20, the amount due you will roll over to the next quarter and, if necessary, to succeeding quarters, until the total amount due reaches this minimum. When it does, you have the option of receiving your payment in one of two ways:

  1. Check in US$, drawn on a US bank, sent via postal mail.
  2. Paypal, sent electronically. Note that you are responsible for all fees deducted by Paypal for their services. Payment will be made to the email address of your website account.

You choose your preferred payment option via a setting in your user account, in the "Seller Information (private)" tab of your Sales page (which you set up when you applied to be a seller). You can change your check/PayPal choice and mailing address at any time. Changes will take effect the next time a payment to you is processed.

Changes To Products and Withdrawals

Once your download product has been approved, you will no longer have access to edit it. However, you can change the description, download file, image, or price, by sending your changes via email. To make any of these changes, send the new information to origamisource [at] origamiusa.org, and the Source manager will make that change for you. Please include a link to your product page in your request email. If you change the file, the new file must have exactly the same name as the old file. We do ask you to be sparing with change requests.

You can also withdraw a product at any time by sending a request to the Source manager. If you choose to withdraw a product from the catalog, it will no longer be offered for sale, but customers who have already purchased your product will still be able to download the file for an indefinite period.

If you choose to withdraw your participation in the download sales program, we will withdraw all of your products immediately and pay you any outstanding payments due you at that time. Customers who have bought your product previously will still get to download for an indefinite time.

Terms and Conditions

In order to sell your origami instructions through us, you must agree to abide by the procedures and restrictions described above, including OrigamiUSA's policies on copyright and permissions. If you violate these terms, we may require changes or make changes to your product listings and/or remove them entirely.

We will comply with DMCA and other applicable laws. If a DMCA complaint is filed for your product, it will be withdrawn immediately from sale and all downloads deactivated and we will notify you. Based on your response and the circumstances, the product and downloads could be reactivated. Any unpaid funds due you may be forfeited if we determine that your product is an unauthorized copy.

Approval of sellers and of specific products is at OrigamiUSA's sole discretion. If it appears to us that you knowingly submitted someone else's material without getting permission, you could be permanently banned from the program. Because we can't anticipate every possible situation, we reserve the right to reject any material for any reason (or no reason).

We may amend these terms and conditions in the future. We will notify you when we do by emailing a notification to all sellers, and you can have the option of either accepting them (by continuing to provide product for sale) or not accepting them (by notifying us and withdrawing all of your products).

Advertising and In-Linking

You are highly encouraged to link directly to your product from your website, Facebook page, etc. Every product has a unique URL (which is based on the title, so don't ask us to change the title if you don't want to break in-links.) Anyone can buy your product via The Source, as long as they have a valid credit card or a PayPal account.