In the analysis of origami structures, the deformation of shells usually couples with the rotation of creases, which leads to the difficulty of solving high-order differential equations. In this study, first the deformation of creased shell is solved analytically. Then, an approximation method named virtual crease method (VCM) is employed, where virtual creases are used to approximate the deformation of shells, and then a complex structure can be simplified into rigid shells connected by real and virtual creases. Then, VCM is used to analyze the large deflection of shells as well as the bistable states of origami structures, such as single creased shell and cell of Miura-Ori. Compared with experiment results, the deformed states given by VCM are quite accurate. Therefore, this generalized method may have potential applications in the analysis of origami structures.

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