How to Make a Cootie Catcher: Step-by-Step Instructions

Are you all set to head down memory lane, back to your childhood? Remember the good old cootie catcher – that folded origami fortune-teller?

Well, it’s not just a thing of the past. Spend some quality time making one (or several!), and you’ll find this game is as entertaining now as it was then, regardless of how grown up you are!

In our simple step-by-step guide, we will show you how to make a cootie catcher from scratch.

Whether you want to test fate with friends, fancy getting nostalgic, or simply enjoy a fun DIY project, grab some paper and come on in – let’s get folding!

Short Summary

Paper Fortune Teller: What Is a Cootie Catcher?

Complete cootie catcher.
Complete cootie catcher - Photo by T Singapore

The paper fortune-teller, also known as a cootie catcher, is an origami toy that’s been entertaining kids for decades. Folded from a piece of paper and formed into a playful square piece shape, it includes four labeled flaps on the outside featuring numbers or colors.

Hidden fortunes or messages are written on smaller flaps inside. Cootie Catcher game, players can pick a number or color. Then, they open and close the cootie catcher in alternating fashion until they get to see their hidden message.

Here’s how to play with a cootie catcher: Find a willing participant and have them choose one of the colors from the top flaps. Use the letters in that color to spell it out, opening and closing each time.

When you reach the last letter of that color, reveal some of the numbers on those four flaps and have them choose one. Open and close the cootie catcher again while counting up to their number choice. Voila!

For example, if you choose “Red,” your possible fortune might be “You’ll have an exciting adventure.” These fortune-tellers aren’t just amusing. They help develop creativity and encourage more social interaction than video games do.

Supplies Needed to Make Cootie Catchers

If you’re itching to get started on making a cootie catcher, don’t worry—this classic paper toy requires just a few items that are easy to find and cheap. Here’s what you’ll need in your toolkit:

See? Nothing too tricky! Feel free to gather any additional materials that inspire your inner artist as well—there really is no wrong way to make one of these little guys.

Steps to Make a Cootie Catcher

Here are the detailed steps to make a cootie catcher:

Fold your paper lengthwise and widthwise.
Fold your paper lengthwise and widthwise - Photo by T Singapore
Fold the corners into the center.
Fold the corners into the center - Photo by T Singapore
Label the tabs with the names of colors or the color of ink.
Label the tabs with the names of colors or the color of ink - Photo by T Singapore
Label inside tabs with numbers.
Label inside tabs with numbers - Photo by T Singapore
Insert your fingers into the open spaces and play.
Insert your fingers into the open spaces and play - Photo by T Singapore"


Congratulations! You are now officially an expert on making a cootie catcher. So, get ready to try thinking of the things you can add to this design and go make yourself one to play for hours.

Whether you want to challenge friends with clever fortunes or simply go back to the days of your youth, there's no end to what this classic paper fortune-teller can do.

Get some paper, scissors, pens –– whatever you'd like to use –– and try your hand at making a pretty awesome one of your own. Why? Because hours of fun – predictions, and fortunes included – are ahead in a game that has stood the test of time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Do They Call It a Cootie Catcher?

The term “cooties” is believed to have originated around World War I and refers to imaginary germs or lice that children used to believe each other could be caught from. This game was named after those, adding an element of playfulness and intrigue.

What Is the Meaning of Cooties Catcher?

“Cooties catcher” doesn’t necessarily have a specific meaning beyond its association with the game. It’s just a whimsical name for the origami fortune-teller because it sounds fun and connects back to childhood imagination in some way.

What Do You Write Inside a Cootie Catcher?

Inside a cootie catcher, you can write all kinds of fortunes, questions, or prompts; anything from predictions about future events or relationships through quirky challenges to riddles – all ideas are welcome!

How Do You Play the Game Cootie Catcher?

To play this game, one person holds the cootie catcher between their fingers and thumb moving it open/close while another person selects colors/numbers (as instructed, e.g., “Red” or “Three”) on it. Then repeat until you get down to an inner flap before reading aloud what’s written underneath for fun!