[[quoteright:350:[[WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/impossibly_compact_folding.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350: [[ToonPhysics And to think all of this was unfolded from a normal sized brochure.]]]]

->'''Barnacle Boy:''' Drive? What do you know about driving the Invisible Boatmobile?
->'''Spongebob:''' Tons. Like the windshield wipers are right here. (pushes a button)
->'''Barnacle Boy''': Don't touch that button, that's the... (folds into origami swan) ... Origami Button.
-->-- ''WesternAnimation/SpongebobSquarepants''

In some works, a character will pull out a small piece of paper or metal, which will then unfold to an object many times its original size. In others, a large object will fold itself up into a smaller one. Either way, the object becomes much smaller than is at all reasonable (and may also [[ShapeshifterBaggage change mass accordingly]]) through folding.

A subtrope of {{Hammerspace}} and ToonPhysics, and a supertrope of TelescopingRobot. May overlap with TransformingMecha, BagOfHolding, SwissArmyWeapon. or RetractableWeapon.



[[folder: {{Advertising}}]]
* A commercial for the [[Creator/{{Syfy}} Sci-Fi Channel]] featured a car folding into a briefcase. May be a ShoutOut to ''WesternAnimation/TheJetsons'' (see WesternAnimation entry below).

[[folder: Anime and Manga]]
* ''LightNovel/ChromeShelledRegios'': The dites, which, for something that collapses into a perfect box the size of a remote control, can be anything from a pistol to a surfboard-sized {{BFS}}.

* ComicBook/TheFlash's entire costume is stored inside his ring, but the folding is aided with a special shrinking gas.
* ''ComicBook/{{Iznogoud}}'' features an example of this. In "Iznogoud's Nightmarish Birthday", he opens a very small box and extracts a small piece of paper and proceeds to unfold it (it's so small that he needs a magnifying glass to start to unfold it). When completely unfolded, the paper is several metres large. Of course, the box had been given to him by the guild of mages...
* At one point in the original comic-book version of ''ComicBook/TheTick'', the Tick and Arthur take a road trip; the Tick insists that he knows how to fold up their (standard US-style) road map, but every time he tries, he produces an even larger wad of paper, until he's filled up the entire backseat of the car with it.
* In the Silver and Bronze Ages, {{Superman}} used to hide his [[{{Muggle}} civilian]] clothes by folding it up to the size of a wafer; everything he wore was chemically treated to survive the super-pressure this required. This process, oddly enough, only worked on items which were red, white, or blue, resulting in a very limited wardrobe for Clark. No word on what he did with his shoes [[AWizardDidIt (or how he hid his boots and cape under Clark's socks and shirt while wearing both)]].
* In the 1970's and 80's Tony Stark routinely carried around his ComicBook/IronMan armour in a slim briefcase barely larger than a contemporary laptop case. "Depolarizing" the armour mesh supposedly rendered it ultra-super-mega-compressible, but a shot of the open case once clearly showed the mask alone taking up most of the interior space. In one instance Stark was thrown out of an aircraft in flight and, while in freefall, he was able to open the briefcase, don the modular pieces of the armour one by one, and ignite his boot jets seconds before hitting the ocean! Many, many laws of physics were harmed during this production. But so what? It was [[RuleOfAwesome awesome]]!

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsonsMovie'', Homer has a small billboard-sized poster of Alaska folded up to the size of a business card.
* In ''WesternAnimation/DespicableMe2'', Lucy Wilde's teeny-tiny car suddenly sprouts massive sternplanes, rudders and engines -- all obviously bigger than the entire volume of the vehicle -- when it transforms into a submarine. Impossible, but perfectly in conformity with the RuleOfFunny.


[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* In ''Film/TheSorcerersApprentice'', when Balthazar gives Dave the book, Dave marvels at how tiny and light it is. Balthazar then proceeds to unfold it several times until it's the size of an atlas, and hands it to Dave, who no longer finds it light. Balthazar then picks the top and lifts it and the book also becomes thick as a technical manual, nearly making Dave lose his balance.
* In ''Film/{{Transformers}}'', the All Spark cube goes from the size of a house to the size of a basketball.
** It also, apparently, forgoes the conservation of mass by allowing a teenager to lift it without trouble.
* In ''Film/{{Iron Man 2}}'' the suitcase Iron Man suit. A full body powered armor suit all in a briefcase. It is however shown in that battle to not be nearly as durable as the regular suit nor is it seen if it can fly.
* [[DownplayedTrope Downplayed]] in ''Film/CaptainAmericaCivilWar'' when Tony Stark summons (for lack of a better word) his Iron Man suit glove. He taps his watch then pulls towards his fingers, and an Iron Man suit hand expands over his fingers, which then takes a bullet from [[spoiler:a brainwashed Bucky Barnes]] at point blank range with no harm to Tony.
* ''Film/FreddysDeadTheFinalNightmare'': While the teens are cruising around the abandoned Springwood, Carlos unfolds a road map to see where they are. It just keeps unfolding and unfolding until it fills up the whole van, with a part of the map saying "You're fucked!". This is then revealed to be a nightmare.

[[folder: {{Literature}}]]
* Creator/RobertAHeinlein:
** ''Literature/GloryRoad''. The foldbox which carries all of the team's equipment.
--->Rufo's baggage turned out to be a little black box about the size and shape of a portable typewriter. He opened it. And opened it again. And kept on opening it and kept right on unfolding its sides and letting them down until the durn thing was the size of a small moving van and even more packed.
** In the short story ''Literature/AndHeBuiltACrookedHouse'', a [[MadArtist mad architect]] designs a house in the form of an unfolded tesseract (four-dimensional cube); it is constructed in Southern California; an earthquake causes it to fold up. ''[[AlienGeometries Into the fourth dimension]].''
* Planetron, star of two children's books about the solar system and the galaxy, unfolds from the size of a toy robot to a fully functional spaceship, and back.
* Played for horror in China Miéville's ''{{Literature/Kraken}}'' when ThoseTwoBadGuys use magical 4-dimensional folding to hide themselves in a small package in order to break into the hero's home, and later to [[BodyHorror kill the folding expert who taught it to them]], giving disturbing new meaning to "tying up loose ends".

* ''Series/{{Angel}}'': Wesley's folding wrist blade/sword in later series. Could function as a short 'assassin' style retractable blade or could unfold with a 'swinging' motion into a full-blown long sword in one of the simpler yet cooler special effects to appear on the show.
* ''Series/BabylonFive'': Minbari battle staff instantly extends from a small hand-held cylinder when you shake it.
* ''Series/StargateSG1'': Jaffa helmets fold down into the collar after having glowing red eyes and apparently relatively thick armor. The Iris also folds up into a thin ring around the edge of the Stargate.
* ''Series/WaltDisneyPresents'': In "A Day in the Life of Donald Duck", Donald parks his car at the Disney Studio and a cop makes him aware that he's in a "No Parking" zone. Donald responds by folding his car to miniature size and hiding it under his hat.

[[folder: Mythology]]
* [[Myth/NorseMythology Skidbladnir]] is a Dwarf-built ship that could carry all the gods and all their gear while magically raising good winds. It also folds up small enough to carry in one's pocket.

[[folder: TabletopGames]]
* ''TabletopGame/{{Paranoia}}'' adventure The Yellow Clearance Black Box Blues, Mission 4. In order to enter Troubleshooter Headquarters, the {{PC}}s must enter a huge machine. If they stall, a NPC enters to demonstrate how [[BlatantLies safe]] it is, and the machine folds in on itself repeatedly until it's the size of a suitcase. If they don't stall, well, activate clones.
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' module I12 "Egg of the Phoenix". The title egg is an homage to the foldbox in the ''Literature/GloryRoad'' entry in the {{Literature}} section. It can be opened up multiple times, each time becoming larger.
** There is also a folding boat.
** In 4th Ed., there's the "Compact Folding Astral Skiff", which folds to the size of a backpack and only weighs a few pounds, but folds out to a full-sized astral skiff which requires a crew of four. Of course, like many items in the book it's introduced in, it has some weird multidimensional physics applied to it.

[[folder: VideoGames]]
* The ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}'' games feature a bike that can be folded up small enough to fit into a backpack, although this may just be an example of BagOfHolding.
* Manny Calavera of ''VideoGame/GrimFandango'' can fold up his huge SinisterScythe to fit in his coat pocket.
* Everything in ''VideoGame/PaperMarioStickerStar''. Apparently that wooden bridge can be turned into a folded up sticker the size of a rubber band ball then chucked across the map. Then unfolded and stuck back down in place. See about [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bv1I3SJc3Fc two minutes into this video]]

[[folder: WebAnimation]]
* ''{{WebAnimation/RWBY}}'' is a series where almost everyone uses a SwissArmyWeapon, some of which make limited, excusable use of this. And then there's Coco Adel, whose briefcase-sized HandbagOfHurt can somehow expand into an [[{{BFG}} enormous]] [[GatlingGood minigun]].

[[folder: WesternAnimation]]
* [[WesternAnimation/TheJetsons George Jetson's]] car could fold up into a briefcase, which he can easily carry into his workplace in the show's intro.
* ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb'' loves using this.
** As seen in the page image, Ferb once unfolded a map from a roughly two by two inch square into a world map larger than the house it was leaning on.
** Their "Plataposterior" robot is about 10 feet tall, but folds up into a square that fits in Ferb's front shirt pocket.
** The full-sized chemistry lab they carry around with them also qualifies.
** Also the "Wrapped up in a nice little boxinator" literally compacts his WHOLE BUILDING into a tiny box.
* ''WesternAnimation/InspectorGadget'': The Gadget Hat and Shoes are half-this and half {{Hammerspace}}, even more so in the live-action movies.
* A common gag on ''WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes'' is for a character to fold a large box, door or what have you, into a square the size of a matchbox.
* ''WesternAnimation/SpongeBobSquarePants'': Pushing the [[ContextSensitiveButton origami button]] on Mermaid Man's invisible boatmobile folds it and everyone inside into a paper swan.
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'', Homer folds a GiantNoveltyCheck into a small wad and stuffs it into his pocket. [[SubvertedTrope Then it expands.]]
** Marge buys Homer some large underwear for Christmas. After making sure it'll fit him by asking to two clerks to wear it together, one clerk then folds up the bed sheet sized underwear and stuffs into a gift box that would fit a wedding ring. He warns her to be careful when opening it.
* On one ''WesternAnimation/ThePinkPanther'' cartoon, Pink is hungry, so he folds up the background to the size of an index card, sprinkles salt on it and eats it. [[DinnerDeformation It then unfolds inside him.]]
* In ''The Car Of Tomorrow'', there was a car "designed to fit the working man's pocket". The man driving it steps out, folds it up, tucks it in his jacket pocket and walks off.
* Lampshaded with the credits of ''WesternAnimation/RockyAndBullwinkle'', which Bullwinkle claims "are all here on this itty-bitty card"; the card then folds out to list the cast and crew.
* In the ''[[WesternAnimation/TheFlintstones Flintstones]]'' episode "The Hit Song Writers", the celebrity songwriter Hoagy performs Fred and Barney's song on piano, then immediately folds the piano into a briefcase and exits the stage.
* On ''WesternAnimation/HowToHookUpYourHomeTheater'', WesternAnimation/{{Goofy}} opens the "easy" instructions for the home theater. Unfolded, they cover most of the room.
* In one episode of ''WesternAnimation/BackToTheFuture'', Doc Brown builds a car that can fold itself into a briefcase, just like George Jetson's example above. However, it's ''still'' a car, and requires a crane to lift.
* In one old episode of ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'', the Griffin family is preparing for the [[MillenniumBug [=Y2K=]]] Apocalypse. Peter and Lois have this conversation...
-->'''Lois:''' What the hell, Peter?! You just ate a year's worth of dehydrated food!
-->'''Peter:''' Yeah, and it was a waste of money! I'm still hungry!
-->''*Peter drinks a glass of water and his body immediately expands to several times its size, smashing the chair he's sitting on*''
-->'''Peter:''' Everyone leave. I have to poop. '''''NOW!!'''''
* Common for Aviva's inventions on ''WesternAnimation/WildKratts'', such as the miniaturizer and the remote time-trampoline.

[[folder: RealLife]]
* The current world record for folding a piece of paper in half is 12 times. That's about 4,096 layers (2^12). It was done with an incredibly long "roll" of toilet paper, folded lengthwise. (For the record, the most you can get with notebook-style paper is 7, maybe 8 depending on folding technique. 8 folds is possible with tracing paper.) The Series/MythBusters managed to get 11 folds in alternating directions, but this required a "sheet" of paper the size of a football field and the assistance of a forklift and a steamroller.
* Vacuum packs kind of sort of do this with your clothes and other cloths since a good chunk of their volume is air.
* "Astronaut Blankets", or metallic Mylar sheets, come in a pack no bigger than say two of those tissue packs stacked on their side, and can fold out to cover about a 8'x4' area. Considering these are normally meant for campers, it's better if they're tiny.
** On the other hand, any camper who has actually had a reason to open one has discovered the joys of trying to fold it back into that size. (It's not possible, by the way, not without machines.)
* One of Creator/RoaldDahl's teachers proved to his class that a sheet of paper 1/4" thick, folded 50 times in half, would reach from the Earth to the Sun.
* Many engineers are working to create objects capable of this trick, working from the premise that much of the problem is in the empty space and unnecessary excess material present in most objects[[note]]for instance, thinner paper that is folded to be completely flat and smooth can be folded many more times than sloppily folded thicker paper.[[/note]] The holy grail is an object that functions like a dome tent- a bare-bones but strong and stable structure large enough to comfortably sleep two or more adults, which folds into a tiny bundle of tubes and cloth easily stored inside a hiker's pack. The mass remains constant, but unnecessary empty space is eliminated.
** When folded, much like the tent, the object would be condensed into an ultra-compact form- ideally a nearly solid block or tube. When unfolded, however, a collapsible device could expand into a significantly larger structure utilizing [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chuck_Hoberman Hoberman lattice structures]] and inflatable supports kept rigid by compressed air or a honeycomb structure, potentially covered in a thin layer of metal, plastic, or carbon fiber skin to give the illusion of a solid object. A well engineered device could be just as strong or stronger than an equivalent solid device, but much lighter. A shovel could fold to fit in a pocket, a self-deploying multi-wing modern surgical hospital in a single (rather heavy) shipping container, needing only the addition of perishable supplies, a water source, and staff.
** Nanotech could take this even further by allowing the empty space to be minimized on a molecular level, condensing an entire structure into a solid ingot of material containing all the mass needed to extrude the full structure.
* Similar to the above, available ultralight camping/backpacking equipment approaches this. A sleeping bag/quilt might compact to the size of a beer can and weigh less than a pound, yet expand out to become a thick, fluffy warm bed. A tent/tarp might be the size of a book but be entirely capable of sheltering multiple people against rain or snow. Even the clothing is often this way; wind shells roll up small enough to fit in your pocket but cover your entire body and provide more warmth per weight than any other article of clothing. This can occasionally be visually spectacular to a newcomer, as a complete campsite can be set up from the contents of a small bag in a matter of a few minutes.