The turn-over symbol is one of the more instantly recognizable origami symbols. This page describes how to make a turn-over symbol using a vector graphics editor such as Inkscape or Illustrator.

circle & arrow construction

There are several approaches we can take to drawing the symbol. We could draw it by hand using a freehand pen, but this looks often looks very amateurish as the eye easily detects even small imperfections. Another approach is to think of the turn-over symbol is as a circle set below a curved arrow as shown in the image on the right. This suffices to get the concept across, but we can do better.

For a more aesthetically-pleasing shape, the best apporach is to consider the symbol shape as a path. A path is a continuous line drawn by a graphics program. However, the graphics program does not think of the the path as the line but instead as a series of points – called control points — through which it can draw a line. The often used analogy is to think of a path as the dots in a child’s join-the-dots picture. The dots describe the picture well enough to allow someone who knows the order of the dots to draw the picture.

This analogy is a little simplified. In addition to the dots and the order of connecting them, the path also defines the angle in which a line drawn through the dots leaves or enters each dot in the path.

When decomposed into a path, the rotate-paper symbol requires 6 controls points to define it. The diagram below shows how these control points are arranged. NOTE for symplicity at this stage in the description the arrow-head is not considered.


This arrangement is symmetrical. The precise arrangement is still going to be a matter of taste but using the control points allows you to exercise a very fine control of the layout.