969: Little Dragon

One of the things I have the privilege to be involved with is the proof-reading/editing of books from origamishop.com. As such, I get a chance to make changes in diagrams and instruction annotations, and test fold:

Chen Xiou's Tiny Dragon

This is “Tiny Dragon”, a beautiful little model from a forthcoming book by Chen Xiou.

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901: (351/365) Little Bird

On my “must fold” for some time has been this design bu Hideo Komatso:

Entitled “little bird”, I folded it in black to make an obese crow. A deliciously complex fold that ends up being a 3d representation of a robin-like bird. Continue reading

772: (222/365) Boney McBoneface – Mostly Armless

It is wonderful when your hobby cheers you up, but there was an unexpected giggle when the first of these lovely arms came together:

For the anatomists amongst us, you will notice a full set of phalanges, a nice wrist assembly, radius AND ulna, lovely boney elbow and a fabulous humerus. Continue reading

522: Happy Australia Day

It is Australia Day “down under” on the 26th of January and there are few things more Australian than kangaroos (well, apart from football, meat pies and Holden cars, thongs, budgie smugglers, throwing another prawn on the barbie and getting a day off work):522Kangaroo

I have folded a couple of previous versions of this kangaroo, designed by Gen Hagiwara, but never this version (version 2013 featured in Tanteidan Magazine 147). It is somewhat ironic that the very best Australian Kangaroo designs are from a talented Japanese designer – I wonder if it is because us Aussies take these critters for granted whereas they appear fantastical to people who do not see them often? Continue reading

488: Burr Puzzle

In the hiatus between receiving parts of the Ryujin to fold, I am always on the look out for something interesting to fold.488BurrPuzzle

I first saw Froy’s Burr Puzzle on the Hong Kong Origami Society’s forum and decided to give it a try. Continue reading

484: We are Groot!

Not sure if you have seen it but I enjoyed “Guardians of the Galaxy” – nice escapist buddy movie whose adventure that does not withstand much scrutiny from a plot perspective. Love the characters, particular Rocket Racoon and Groot.484WeAreGrootView

When I first saw Groot on screen, I knew he was perfect origami material, resolving to design something similar to my tree model for him, but Luciffer Chong beat me to the punch with his simple yet effective Crease Pattern.484WeAreGrootView2

I see influences all over for this model – lovely joisel-like hands, Acuna-like arm formations, I am sure I will fold him again – might be fun on some rough textured hand-made paper also. Continue reading

471: Folding Chair

Needing to clean my brain, I looked for some box-pleating (as that is absorbing, fiddly and it is difficult to to do or think anything else while doing it):

I came across a design for a folding chair, folded in 24ths and decided to give it a go.

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470: Osteichthyes

Osteichthyes or BONY fish appear from fossil evidence as far back as 420 million years ago when they appear to have differentiated from cartilaginous fishy things. Fossil records are sketchy but shapes and morphologies are visible in traces in very ancient rocks.

This odd origami attempts to hint at the faint fossil traces left in a rock of a conventional bony fish and it does a pretty good job for such a simple fold. Continue reading

457: Happy Book (WTF#18)

Fernando Gilgado is a legendary character folder, I have made many of his models, this one is a charmer:

from one sheet of paper, you get 6 pages, a hard cover, arms, legs, a smile and eyes peeping over the top – neat

So, as I mark furiously (having run out of the ability to put it off any longer), my procrastigami takes hold and I started bending something. I also wanted to try out my new self-healing craft mat (the green griddy thing) and have discovered that folding from an iPad or other tablet is better than a book because of the pinch-zooming possible to help old eyes see details of diagrams. Continue reading


The link between a boy and his pet is a special one, even if the pet is a hermit crab named “Smee”

When I heard Sam had suffered the loss of Smee I remembered the pets I had also said goodbye to, tough gig indeed.

I remembered I had folded, as part of the 365 project, a hermit crab – never quite mastering the fold so was determined to re-attempt it (with a few more years skill under my belt) Continue reading

381: Rodin’s Reader

It is little known (partially because it is blatantly not true) that Rodin, prior to sculpting his masterpiece “The Thinker” had an altogether different idea:

Our school library is celebrating the National Year of reading by exploring a different theme each month – March is “think” so I put 2 and 2 together and got 17.3.

Based on Neal Elias’s box pleat, this little model is cute with a Brill “Spelling Book” on his lap.

Will not be around for the next couple of themes so this will have to do for a little while

346: Urchin Star

The “monthly modular” is something that would be suitable for hanging on a christmas tree that YOU could make along with me:

This is an Urchin Star, designed by Martin Sejer Andersen with the folding sequence videoed by Jo Nakashima here. I have made a cutting pattern that requires you to print it out on A4 paper twice – you can download that here: print-me-twice.

You need 30 modules, but they are easy to fold, taking no time each once you get into the zone, and they slot together really easily (certainly the easiest assembly of ALL my modulars so far) – even with fat, clumsy fingers like mine.

You should make these – they are lovely – if you use paper coloured on one side, the tips of the star are white, which is pretty also. Wrapping paper would work well – some of the thicker foil-based paper would work well indeed (not that thin plasticised stuff tho, it does not take folds at all)

Have fun with this – totally try it and post your result as a photo on facebook for me to see how it went please.

341: Jolly Roger

Now I do not know much about pirates, nor why a skeletal chap called Roger should be jolly, but there you go:

When I first saw Hojyo Takashi’s 3d looking skull I knew I had to try it. A torturous box pleat in 12ths, the collapse to get the face right was nearly as complicated as the pre-creasing.

Saying that, the resultant model was screaming out for a set of cross-bones, so I sort of improvised them from a second sheet of A3 split lengthwise.

I think this turned out splendidly – amazing given the copy paper was disintegrating in my hands due to the high humidity (it is miserable, cold and grey outside – odd for summer, but there you go) as the paper is hygroscopic and kept going limp. I was sure it was going to split at the bottom of the eye sockets where the most difficult pleating takes place, but no.

The beautifully proportioned skull is 3d up to a point – it is backless, but none the less lovely – I love the eye sockets and nose hole, the teeth are also nice (but if I had folded it bigger scale I reckon I could have crimped some gums and gaps between them also.

Why a “Jolly Roger” I hear you ask – WHY NOT says I.

329: Xmas Trees

Synchronicity happens – i was asked by my lovely wife if I could make an origami xmas tree – I said I would have a look, and did – there were lots to choose from but then came a posting on the British Origami Society mailing list with possibly the best design of them all:

Designed by Francesco Guarnieri, demoed by Sara Adams here, this beautiful modular is a very clever design. Sure, it is a little labour intensive but wow!

Held in shape by paper tension, lovely pendulous layers interlock and sit atop a snarly trunk, each tree probably takes about an hour and a half but it is a thing of beauty.

I made 4 – naturally. One for the lady in the print room (one of my paper dealers), one for the library (then the TL asked where the angel was – she did not realise I was obsessive compulsive so I folded 4 small gold Brill angels) and 2 for the counter of my wife’s office.

Very happy with these, they look wonderful from all angles and are suitably festive as we creep ever so closer to holidays.

327: Octopus

Now normally, there is a set of directions that I follow to make someones model – we origamists call them diagrams. Sometimes diagrams have yet to be made for a model but some enterprising designer unfolds their creation and traces all the folds as a starting point – we call this a crease pattern:

This delightfully devious and slippery fellow was folded from my first crease pattern – you can see it here: octopusCP. Naturally, folding from a crease pattern is much more challenging as there is NO indication as to what folds are done first.

Sipho Mobona is a masterful paper engineer and is responsible for beautifully naturalistic models but finding diagrams of his models is really hard work, so you sort of have to … improvise.

Had I not done the Hoodie, all those months ago, I would not have had a hope in hell of achieving this model – pre-creasing into 32ths was painful, literally, then crumpling along selected folds was problematic (I originally crumpled it inside out, only to unfold and re-crumple the right way round).

The details here (pity the photos do not really do it justice) are amazing – we have 2 lovely bulbous eyes, a siphon (the thing they jet alone with when in a hurry), 8 beautifully curly tentacles and a pendulous and tasty-looking body. genius from one square of paper, no cuts, no glue, no shortness of swearing.

Very happy with this fold – I learnt a lot along the way but he is soo cute, very octopi-like and I could spend hours just re-positioning the tentacles for lifelike crawley poses – very cute.

You may applaud now, and pass the lemon and cracked pepper – delicious on a bbq’d octopus indeed.

281: The Jester

Throughout history, people have acted “the fool” for many and varied reasons. In medieval court, Jesters acted the fool in a bid for self-preservation and increased favour:

All too often the jester is actually pretty bright, but uses that intelligence to work out ways of appearing foolish, doing comically silly things and overtly hiding in plain sight. The often painful “notice me” behavior is more of an indication of their own insecurity often than the bravado it exemplifies.

We all know jesters (more correctly, people who “act the fool”) – one can only wonder, when the retrospect finally kicks in (or when someone in the real world finally has had enough and punches them in the face and finally tells them to STFU), how they contemplate the time wasted avoiding behaving like everyone else and realise they actually had to work harder to appear so silly.

This is a wonderful character piece designed by Spanish origamist Fernando Gilgado. A hideous exercise in box pleating, made more so by the use of copy paper, which I struggled to prevent from disintegrating along commonly folded creases. After the initial pre-creasing, nearly no new folds are introduced in this brilliant design. He looks happy, a little silly, and has detailed face, a wonderful pointed hat with bells on. With duo paper, the face, hands and feet end up one colour, the rest (clothes and hat) are the other colour – again, genius in design.

I am very happy with this as a first fold – even if it seem to take an age it was a great way to weather a morning thunderstorm, and I will fold this again.

Because this model is flat, and great on one side (less so on the other), it suits card mounting, like this:

246: Satoshi’s Chocobo

There is a yellow bird that features in Final Fantasy called Chocobo:

Satoshi Kamiya calls it a “yellow bird” and advises not to attempt this model in anything other than tissue foil – reviewing the instructions I figured I could (maybe, perhaps, possibly) nurse copy paper through the torturous process and so set about to push an A3 cut square to it’s limits

I am so chuffed that I succeeded, managing to complete all folds, using plain copy paper – yes, that IS an achievement and yes, you should applaud now!

Based on some interesting box pleating, sinks and swivel folds, the tweety bird shape evolves rapidly – look at the feet, even beautiful claws, feathered wings and a tail, very pleasing

This is the second model I have folded from “Works of Satoshi Kamiya”, I am working my way towards the “Ancient Dragon” (yes Josh, soon, soon, sheesh!). I had my good paper out for when I finally admitted defeat but, who would have guessed it worked first fold – yay me!

232: Face-hugger

My second favorite sci-fi film of all time (Alien) brought new forms of terror to the screen:

In a well tried formula, a nasty makes itself on board a spaceship firmly clamped to the face of an inquisitive explorer (John Hurt), implanting an egg in the host’s tummy before scaring everyone and dropping dead. The newly hatched nasty then systematically, and with great suspense, eats everyone – you get that. This prototype xenomorph is all the more terifying because, based on Geiger illustrations, organically modelled after a sinister hand.

I like that there was always a life-cycle implicit in the Alien films, and that there was an innate social order amongst the xenmporphs also.

This model was a little trickey to fold – I had to nurse the copy paper as at many junctures it looked like it would disintegrate – I managed the fold without any paper fatigue I am proud to say and it is a worthy proto alien to compliment the adult I folded earlier in the year

Insectoid, reptilian, with gripsey fingers for walking, prehensile tail to wrap around the neck of the victim, off lung sacks for gas exchange, a well thought out model indeed (even if the instruction annotations were bewildering – thankfully I am confident enough to improvise when I cannot make head nor tail of what is supposed to go where)..

224: Lab Rat

Tomorrow marks the beginning of Science Week and I thought it appropriate to mark the occasion with a lab rat:

This delightful model by Robert Lang has a lovely shape but is very cruel on the paper it is made from (so much so that it split due to tension and fatigue along the neck and back)

I like this base, and am satisfied with this as a first fold of the model – I learnt a lot attempting it and will fold it again with more suitable paper I think – copy paper is a cruel mistress sometimes.

213: A Foal

Now in Australia, to save confusion, horse breeders take August 1 as the birthdate of ALL horses:

I made a foal, a newly born horsey to mark the occasion, he even looks unsure on his legs, but I cannot help but wonder what horses feel about us missing their actual birthday to celebrate the communal one. I wonder how horsey party supply places cope with the demand for balloons, streamers and cake?

This is a variation of “The Old Kentucky Horse” by Raymond H M’Lain from Robert Harbin’s “More Origami” ad the original model has always struck me as a much younger horse that promised – neato for today tho – Happy Birthday Horseys!