524: Happy Valentines Day

I find it fascinating that there are so many models and folding techniques I have yet to try. The “Magic Rose Cube” is a case in point – I am amazed I have never folded it:v4

Such a beautiful little modular, 3 pieces the flower, 3 slightly different pieces the leaves, slots together into a cube easily, unfurls beautifully. Continue reading


Faced with a brief hiatus before marking became crippling, I set about to re-master the free form folding technique of the Sato Rose:bunch

I have found many guides for Naomiki Sato’s rose that do precise pre-folding, invariably I get lost or end up with a bloom that is so geometrically perfect that it is not very realistic, so went searching for a technique that allowed for natural bloom variation.red

Two years ago (or thereabouts) I had mastered the knack of turning a free-form Sato rose, but then lost it – not sure why. I mangled dozens of sheets of paper trying to get it back to no success. “Free form” is a term I use to describe a process that has nearly NO landmarks – you fold it to about here, then back a little and so on. With such a complicated fold, mistakes early ruin the later fold as they compound out of control. Continue reading

505: Dragonfly

As part of my JOAS membership, I get sent magazines with models to try – a really excellent collection of complex models from the worlds best designers. When I saw Satoshi Kamiya’s Dragonfly, I was really scared of it.505DragonFlyThe level of pleat management and re-arrangement of flaps and layers is truly terrifying when viewed as a whole.

As a “treat”, to reward my marking progress (I am a teacher, I set assessment but hate marking it) I allowed myself to complete a couple of steps each sitting. This fold has taken place over the period of 3 weeks, a little at a time. the advantage of this method is that I did not get freaked out by what was to come, just concentrating on the couple of steps I was allowed to complete. Continue reading

Vermillion Oncidium

…so a friend was in Osaka Japan, and found some paper, rolled and posted it home to me – one of the sheets was this lovely hot orange flecked with gold leaf.

Orchids sprang to mind, so I cut the sheet (the first cut is the hardest) into 6 graduated squares with nearly no wastage and then folded Lang orchid blooms from them. Continue reading

Folding Algorithms – Sato Rose

Much of Origami is algorithmic (algorithm = procedural solution to a problem). A rabbit ear is an algorithm, one knows how to fold it on a corner – double rabbit ear is the same solution, folded two simultaneously. Petal fold is also a standard maneuver which got me thinking of the Sato Rose algorithm.

I like this algorithm particularly because of the free-form nature of much of the folding, and the way it seems to “fit” a pentagon. I decided to use the same folding algorithm but try it with other regular polygons – I tried triangle(3), square(4), pentagon(5), hexagon(6), heptagon(7), octagon(8), nonagon(9) but gave up on the decagon(10).

The algorithm involves “nearly” bisecting each vertex to form an echo shape at the centre of the sheet – you then halve that internal echo to create a slightly offset echo and use that as the basis of a “kawasaki twist” Continue reading

464: Say it with Flowers

In our previous house I had a rose garden – I planted and maintained 42 rose bushes, lovingly collected cow poo, mulched, pruned and relentlessly sprayed them to combat the Queensland climate’s unsuitability for growing them. I also was a member of the Queensland Rose Society so occasionally displayed blooms at shows and in competitions, gaining an appreciation of the ‘technical appreciation’ of a bloom’s structure, symmetry and form. Needless to say I love roses.

I have long been fascinated and frustrated by the modified Kawasaki Rose II in equal parts, it’s mathematics is mind-buggering and all the techniques I had been exploring contained so much pre-creasing that the resultant bloom is mashed and dented beyond recognition. This variation, designed by Naomiki Sato is quite the loveliest thing of this ilk on the planet at the moment in my opinion. Continue reading


I was gifted some beautiful but fragile rice paper (paper made with rice plant fibre) that is flecked with gold leaf:
Soft, fabric like I realised it was fairly useless as a folding medium so, armed with some freshly prepared MC, I plastered it to a window in the hope that the addition of sizing to the paper would make it useable. Continue reading

428: Hibiscus Flower

My wife and I spent some time in a rainforest cabin – whilst there I folded this week’s WTF#3:

On a tropical theme, I left the model for the cabin owner as a thank you for a lovely time away.

A simple, slightly asymmetric fold that teases an odd number of petals, stamen and stem, cleverly managing the layers so the flower face and stamen would be one colour, stem another if I used duo paper.

I was looking for a simple fold and amongst my Tanteidan magazines I spied this figure, designed by Yamaguchi Makoto – must try it with colourful paper.

No one was able to discern it was even a flower – very disappointing people!

409: Wedding Blossoms

A little over a year ago, my daughter as part of the very early planning stages for her wedding asked (in only the way a daughter can) if we could do something different with the flowers:

After much looking around, experimentation and reject schemes we came up with a 5-sheet rose (4 2×1 rectangles for the petals and 1 square for the calyx) secured by wire to make pose-able stems. We have folded for a year, making hundreds of blooms, to be deployed in each of the floral components of the ceremony and reception.


The original idea was to create enough flowers so the bouquet was a little wider than a hemisphere – each containing 3½-4 dozen roses based on 2 colour schemes: the bride wanted dark blue with occasional white blooms, the bridesmaids were predominantly white with occasional sky-blue blooms.

After the roses were stemmed and calyxed, the were wrangled into bunches, stems bent equidistant from the bud to later help in the whole ball effect.

We then bound the wire in white gaffer tape to form a preliminary handle and the tweaked the flowers to be evenly distributed and ball-shaped. On the evening before the wedding we added baby’s breath (gypsophylla) and a sheath of spathyphyllum and bound them with florists green tape (a goopy, stretchy stuff that sticks on contact).

The morning of the wedding I then frapped (macramé term) the handles with white ribbon, trimmed the tail and they were done

– every bit as lovely as I had imagined them, perfect foil to the lovely bridal party.


Grooms-men, parents and siblings needed a buttonhole – single bloom, amidst baby’s breath, atop a sprig of asparagus fern from the garden.

The scheme was simple – powder blue for the grooms-men to match the bridesmaids bouquets, white for parents and siblings.

We wrapped them with florists tape to store-bought brooch pins, presto, done

– quite smart I think and a nice tie in to the rest of the floral theme.

Table Decorations

To tie in the floral accents, we decided to do something with flowers on the tables, containing all the colours we used (3 shades of blue and white).

Originally it was going to be just a sheath or arrangement, but the bride to be found candle holders so I found wicker rings that encircled those, then we made circular wreaths of randomly scattered blooms.

The day before the reception, we added baby’s breath and twigs off our needed to be pruned miniature camellia from the garden, creating lush and beautiful garlands which, when the candles were lit were really magical. I was a little concerned that the waterproofing spray (a plasticiser I thought might be necessary to stop moisture making the petals droop) would increase the flammability but all was safe in the end.

Guest Gifts

We wanted each guest to leave with a little of the floral loveliness, and also tie in who was at what table, where.

We hatched a plan to make a bloom for everyone, attached an embossed leaf to each (bone-folder to impress “veins”) and hand-written names for all invited guests.

Those that could not make it will receive their blooms via some other means – nice memento of what was a lovely wedding.

407: Chan’s One-Sheet Rose

Browsing Origami Tanteidan 12th Convention, I noticed a seemingly impossible fold:

Brian Chan is an amazing designer (Attack of the Kraken is one of his) and this flower is an ingenious, if intense, use fo a coloured square of paper.

If the paper was coloured green one side, red the other, then the way this design turns out the green bits of the flower and the red petals sort themselves out appropriately – amazing.

I only had some glossy red (a cheapo pack of coloured origami paper that loses colour all over your fingers) but persevered with it, despite the mess and the tiny size.

I still have to master the flower shaping, it sort of looks correct (and I have no doubt if i wet-folded or used methyl cellulose I could mould it more naturally , but I am happy I have got the hang of the fold. 

I used a 25cm red/white square and that is hard work – some of the accordion pleats are tiny, but it worked out ok. My second fold was a 45cm brown kraft fold that was easier to complete.

Interestingly, the box-pleating technique to raise the leaf is similar to the “dollar flower” I have been folding from the cut-offs from A3 squares, so found that part of the model really easy. The technique of raising the colour-changed petals for the rosebud is ingenius.

395: Showing Off

Our local council library has a large glass display case that usually has things on show for a month. I cautiously asked one of the librarians if she thought some origami would interest patrons and she was very enthusiastic:

There are around 200 models now on show at Holland Park Library for June and I am quite chuffed about that.

Dragging 3 large tidy-tubs of models, most of which I had left over from the 365 Origami Auction, they fill the case rather completely.

You can see models designed by me amongst designs by such luminaries as Kade Chan, Robert Lang, Eric Joisel and many others.

In addition, I was asked to run a workshop in the first week of my school holidays for interested folders (10 years old and up) – see the Holland Park Library website for details and bookings if you are interested.

The only question that begs answer is what the floop I do with these lovelies AFTER the month on show? Suggestions welcome … dear reader?

389: Kusudama Dafina

I saw Tadashi Mori demonstrating a Kawasaki Rose-based modular and thought I would give it a whirl:

Having failed miserably every other attempt to fold a Kawasaki Rose, I was chuffed to succeed this time.

I want to say I will fold this again – it took an age and although I was impressed with the rose, the modular attachments (tabs and pockets) did not positively hold it together (I cheated in the end and stapled them together).

Each rose is a masterpiece of box pleating prep work followed by a beautiful spiral collapse. Happy to be finished it tho.

378: Be My Valentine

So today is Valentines Day, and rather than buy into that commercial thing, I thought a more personal touch was required:

Using 4 2×1 rectangles, some tight pleating and curling, and some florist’s wire to keep them together we have some rather lovely roses.

I happened to have some lustrous red metallic paper from a “going out of business” craft store sale and it does look rather pretty. I also fashioned some calyxes out of a dark green stock paper to complete the look (and hide the wire twist).

Fiddly but shapely, and a little cheaty (the wire and a dob of tarzan’s grip to keep the calyx up) but all is fair in love and paper folding, right? I must investigate some foliage to fill out the arrangement. She liked them, that was the main thing <3

288: Happy Birthday Gemma

A friend turns 40 tonight, and quite likes roses, so I thought a paper construction might compliment the rose bush we were taking as a suitable milestone:

Made from 40 pieces of paper, this is a variation of Maria Sinayskaya’s “Little Roses” kusudama (rose ball), a curious construction that features triplets of lightly bent petals that interlock in threes, making pentagonal vertices – the maths here does my head in.

Was lovely to catch up, Happy Birthday Gemma, and happy house-warming Mark, Gem, Jake and Kit.

277: Azalea

I realise I have not folded many flowers – in my opinion not a lot of them look like flowers:

This azalea is pretty good – yes my first fold is a little wonky but I can see how if I were to fold it again I could improve it.

A nice design using Rhodes double-bird base, I can see applications for this flower and may try it again when I am less busy.

238: Daffodil Day

In Australia, August 26 this year is nominated as “Daffodil Day”:

We celebrate the lives of those brave people who have fought cancer in all it’s forms – to do so we use a flower, the fragile symbol of hope and beauty:

I made a white one, then folded 4 in colour and scattered then strategically around my school. I remembered, if few others did initially. I do this in memory of some dear friends that lost the fight and suffer no more.

A complex and time-consuming fold,  the flower head is dense and made, unusually from a hexagon cut from an A3 sheet, it collapses down to a life-size bloom via some interesting sinking, swivels and squash folds. An interesting (and cathartic) fold designed by Paul Jackson, taken from a book loaned to me by Amanda (thanks @ackygirl)

I hope you remembered Daffodil Day, or at the very least people you know who have been touched by Cancer.

188: Edelweiss

Now I am on the look out for effective flowers, and oddly Origami has lost of four-petaled ones (which in nature are fairly rare). this edelweiss caught my eye:

Made from a frog base and a deep sing, the bloom has a lovely symmetry about it and the stem works will together with it.

A simple fold, will try it out in colour als to see if it is effective – building up a repertoire of paper blooms soif I need to consider a bouquet at some time that is a possibility.

Why Edelweiss? 2 reasons – (1) Mum is home from the UK and it might be nice to give her flowers (awwww); and (2) I saw pictures of @Edelweiss – the dog owned by @jzagami and thought it so cute … yeah, I know, tissue thin justification but you get that.

Addendum: Made some light lilac blooms on 2 colours of green stems – they stack you see – noice, unusual, different – I hope my mum loiks them 😛

183: Hummingbird Feeding

I have the greatest of respect for Robert Lang, his models are discussed mathematically and with great artistic intent also, and when I saw this hummingbird in “Origami Design Secrets” I knew I had to make it:

Having never actually seen a hummingbird (except on the telly), I am amazed and in awe of their size, industry and life habit. After folding the bird I decided it absolutely needed a flower to feed from, found a simple blossom in Harbin’s “Origami 2” by Toshie Takahama and fixed them together with the wire from a straightened paperclip and a (shhh) little double-sided tape.

Hummingbirds use huge amounts of energy to fly, and so feed voraciously on high-energy foods like nectar, so I can imagine my little bird about to plunge into the nectary of this flower for a much needed energy boost.

Am really pleased with this model – beautiful beak, breast and wings, the tail was a surprise as it came from a tortured sink early on. A masterful design that, from what I can gather, captures the intent of the bird mid flight. this makes it difficult to pose (as it has no legs) and, interestingly, every picture I have seen of this completed model is posed adjacent a bloom (presumably using the same support trick I used.

You may, collectively, go awwwwww now, as that was my reaction when stepping back from the handiwork.

168: Tulips for Jo

Today is my Wife’s Birthday, her favourite flower is a tulip so I had an idea:

After researching tulips suitable to stick on a card, I discovered that none were suitable so I invented a fold for that, then I decided that real-size tulips were also a good idea – a dozen a piece

I chose some nice pastels and strong colours, invented stems and foliage, made a custom vase (pyramidal) and then went to the florist to buy some dry oasis foam and cut it to fit – after a little faffing around a lovely arrangement was made and the presents sorted.

Happy Birthday Jo, love and hugs.

144: Carambola

I stumbled across this nice geometric “floral” design by accident but rather like it’s simplicity:

It reminds me of an apple blossom, or a star fruit in cross section

Unusually, it is made from a pentagon, and the pre-creasing means the shape is largely just a collapse

Busy day, vicious earache, simple but lovely model – enjoy. You too can have a go at this here