Archive for the ‘diagrams’ Category

Waribashi and online diagrams

2013|12|01

As I have previously mentioned, I collaborate with Waribashi – a free portuguese online magazine featuring japanese culture and events – on the origami section. Recently, or not so recently, I have added the responsibility of the facebook page of Waribashi, on management and creation of content, and even though I’m quite silent in the blog I still fold! Rest assured! :)
So, since I have yet to finish a print version of the models I’ve been folding and diagraming for Waribashi, not mentioning other folded models, here’s a short assembly of the models with a photo and link to the magazine featuring it (since 2012). All models are quite simple!
No knowledge of portuguese is required. Use thinner and strong paper for small models, sturdier paper for bigger models!
A safe choice/ recommendation:
. rice paper for tiny models
. kraft paper and wrapping paper for small models
. origami paper, wrapping paper and/ or copy paper for bigger models
. exception: tanzaku, use sturdier paper or light cardboard for the base and origami/ wrapping paper for the model

Happy folding!

links open in new tabs/ windows and are a direct link to the magazine online pdf

Waribashi 39, kirigami sakura
April 2012, Waribashi 39
Kirigami Cherry Blossom : 切り紙の桜

Waribashi 40, tsuru
June 2012, Waribashi 40
Crane, twin cranes and mother and child cranes : 鶴、双子鶴、親子鶴

Waribashi 41, butterflies
August 2012, Waribashi 41
(simple) Butterfly : 簡単な蝶

Waribashi 42, traditional kusudama
October 2012, Waribashi 42
Kusudama, traditional : 薬玉、伝統的

Waribashi 43, hebi
February 2013, Waribashi 43
Snake and Year of the Snake : 蛇と巳年

Waribashi 44, unit sakura
April 2013, Waribashi 44
(yet another modular) Cherry Blossom : (ほかのユニット) 桜

Waribashi 45, semi
June 2013, Waribashi 45
Cicada :

Waribashi 46, shiori, tanzaku
August 2013, Waribashi 46
Book marker and Tanzaku : 栞、短冊

Waribashi 47, akino ha
October 2013, Waribashi 47
(simple) Autumn Leaves : (簡単な) 秋の葉

December 2013, coming soon!

animals: scottie

2012|03|10

As soon as I saw this dog I knew I had to fold it! I love simple models! This model captures the essence of a scottie dog and is quick to fold. And easy! What can possibly top that?
I was planning on folding it with brown canson paper. I know I have some. Somewhere. I must’ve had stored it away to protect it. Having a cat and humidity next to paper insures a short life span. Adding to that, the more expensive the paper the more my cat likes it. Back to the paper, I couldn’t find it so I went with the first square cut paper I found: a beige grayish canson and a blue grayish paper which name eludes me at the moment. After that I found black paper and so a black scottie was born. I love the black scottie! Dark colors suit this model well!
I misread the diagram the first time so I made one extra fold that is quite visible on the first photo, on the bigger scottie. Oh, please do not be like me and actually ensure that the paper you use is square. My squares weren’t completely squares (they were off by a millimeter or so in smaller papers and by 2 or 3 millimeters on the bigger paper) so one of the ears of the scottie isn’t as pointy as it should be. In *all* models. You should always verify that the squares you cut are indeed squares. And so should I!

Scottie is authored by Marc Kirschenbaum.
More information on the model: a 6.5×6.5cm / 2.55×2.55″ square becomes a 3cm / 0.8″ tall by almost 5cm/ 2″ tail to muzzle scottie.
Wet folding offer good results because the final model does not open up. As long as it dries prevented from opening up, that is! I use a strip of paper, secured with tape, for that. Drying complete, strip away. Hmn, nice wording.
This diagram is available online! You can see the diagram by clicking at the preceding sentence.
I recommend dark colours and wet folding for this model but as long as you use a paper you like and enjoy folding anything is fine. Happy folding!

As usual, but even more than usual, I’ve been busy. That’s why there’s such a gap between posts! Now I’m taking any coffee break I can to post about models I have been folding. That or you get a post a year and that’s a no-no!
I’m just using paper leftovers, already cut in small squares, to fold models I like. Models simple enough to be foldable in little time. Since I like simple and small models it works fine. A back to basics or a less is more kind of approach.
So, busy people out there who like origami, these posts are for you!
These models are perfect for beginners too! They require little paper, little time and are easy to accomplish. Great to boost your confidence, add some nice folded figures to your collection or to give away!
And just so you know, actually, instead of a coffee break, it’s a tea break. I’m more of a tea person! Having some Earl Grey, Assam and green tea at my place ensures happiness. On winter, with cookies, and some folding, it’s pure bliss! :)

kusudama: mosaic box (iii)

2012|03|03

Here are some unexpected developments!
Isabelle, somewhere in a comment around the blog, said she wanted to do the mosaic box/ モザイク Box and that the diagram is no longer available. When I was backing up my drive I remembered it; so I made a search for the diagram, and contrary to all my expectations, the search returned valid results. Naming, the diagram! It’s as I copied it from Mio’s site: in japanese and it even has the go back and forth arrows. Ahahaaa, I should’ve deleted those, at least. And remember the diagram is © by Mio TSUGAWA! ;)
I’ve talked about the mosaic box before, here and here. But going back… Those were some nasty photos.

I think the diagram is quite understable but since I know some japanese I might be using it unconsciously.
Just bear something in mind:
1. If you start with squares of 15cm/ ” you’ll be ending with a half the size kusudama so you might want to avoid small papers. At first.
2. The back of the paper will show, be it white pattern or plain simple colours. Cheap options for paper are wrapping paper and, of course, kraft.
3. Have paper clips or some small (cloth) springs at hand. It will be handy when assembling. I recommend glue, too, if you want your kusudama to stay assembled.
4. The kusudama has a cubic shape, so only 6 sheets are needed. It’s simpler to assembly a corner, with 3 units, another corner with another 3 units, and, after that, join the two corners to form the cube. Assembling it one by one will make it harder to tuck in the last piece.
5. Have fun! :)
This is quite easy to fold and even though it’s simple it’s quite nice when complete!
I even folded one since it’s so simple! The wonder of cube like kusudama and only 6 units!

And here I am with another post… Wow. I’m starting to think that I can even post about the long awaited cherry blossoms before summer. Now, it seems possible!
I guess I’m complying with the new year resolutions! Feeling good! :)
Happy and fun folding!

animals: cat (i)

2012|02|25

This is the first of a series of cat posts. There will be a post with a variation of this cat and another post with a different model. If I get the time you’ll get to know even more cats! But, be aware, I can’t specify the time frame between posts! I’ll say no more since I’m owing some kusudama and flowers to the blog and to you, beautiful people who visit this blog even when I have so little time to update it.

TAKAI Hiroaki's cat and standing version

But I have a plan! To buy a transparent necessaire, or a neat transparent bag, for me to carry paper in the bus. This way while I travel back and forth I can fold units and put them somewhere where they are not squashed by my laptop or the books I carry. If I fold 5 units a day, and I use the bus at least two days a week, I can have a 30 unit kusudama in 3 weeks. Long? Yes, but I’m taking any available time to fold. Recently it’s a kusudama every 6 months, 3 weeks is no time at all!
I do not like to read in the bus and I have no time to fold, or so I though, so this is a hour per week, minimum, to fold!
This is the plan!
I’m sharing because, who knows, there can be someone like me out there! You want to fold, you have no time, and then you realize that you may squeeze some folds while commuting from home to work or school or whatever makes you commute. I’ve seen people knitting so it’s not out of this world. And knitting needles can be dangerous. Paper is secure. You can’t even smoke in buses so it’s as safe as it gets!
Oh, and I, or you, can fold while waiting for the bus! I love when I have these very basic yet grounded and obvious ideas.

Author of the cat: 高井弘明/ TAKAI Hiroaki.
About the cats: this is a simple version, there is another version, of a more detailed cat. I’ve learnt this cat, the simple, by unfolding a model used by a friend as an id plate. The one in the photo with the name. A friend of hers folded it, I saw it, took possession of it and tried my luck. I was lucky with the black and white cat. I then noticed that some folds were unnecessary and folded the calico cat.
Then, by chance, I saw a image named “cat by Eric Bergmark”. It’s made on a dollar bill with quite nice results since the o of one serve as a cat eye. On a side note: Is it me or I’m being pursued by one dollar bills? You can see the post on the asian dragon for further enlightenment about me and 1 US$. Returning to the cat: I consulted a nice friend of mine named google and it revealed the cat’s author. It’s on the Origami USA page: the cat in a calendar, nicely folded and even better photographed.
The google search also showed a standing cat so I tried folding it too: it’s the red cat. I also folded the cat from a square paper resulting in a kitten; when you control the paper sizes of different models it turns out quite nice!

The almost white cats are wet folded and are made with heavy paper. 100grams per square meter. As you can see the back of the model holds no charm.
Paper ratio: 1:1, or a square paper, gives you a kitten; a 1:1.5 ratio is fine for either the standing or normal cats. The normal cat can be made with ratios closer to 1:1. It depends on how you like your cats, longer or shorter.
The light brown grayish cats are the last I made. I loved folding them! Made with wet folded canson.
Kitten: paper is 5x5cm/ 1.96×1.96″; model is 2.5cm/ 1″ tall and 3.5cm/ 1.35″ wide.
Standing cat, longer tail: paper is 9x14cm/ 3.55×5.50″; model is 7cm/ 2.75″ tall and 5.5cm/ 2.15″ wide. (curled tail)
Standing cat, short tail: paper is 9x12cm/ 3.55×4.70″; model is 6.5cm/ 2.55″ tall and 5.5cm/ 2.15″ wide. (pointy tail)
Normal cat: paper is 9x12cm/ 3.55×4.70″; model is 9cm/ 3.55″ tall and 4.5cm/ 1.75″ wide.
The smaller side of the rectangle gives you control about the head size!
The diagram is available online. It has japanese text but it’s so easy to follow that you can just ignore it! Link on the first phrase.

I hope you like this cat. I’m going for simple things! The easier to fold, the better. Also, you may ignore my rumblings; but I hope they help you or somebody else!

block folding: mini swan

2011|08|05

Block folding, chinese modular origami or 3D origami strike once again! This was the fastest diagram I made for Waribashi. It totally slipped my mind and then “Hey, do you have a diagram for the magazine? We’re closing it…” and so I panicked and though and though some more and decided to stop thinking and start folding and taking photos and assembling the diagram! Some hours later I sent it… And now you have it too!

This is the mini swan! I explain: there are, at least, 3 swan models that are quite common.
The first is the swan, big with lots of pieces and several variations on the wings and tail and colours…
[edit: by big I mean with several hundreds of pieces: 700 to 900 pieces are common for this swan!]
Then, we have the second swan, the small sawn, a petite version, for fast assembly and a cute look. Also with some variations on tail and wings.
[edit: overall this swan needs 100 to 200 pieces!]
Finally we have the mini swan, a super small swan that’s really fast on folding and assembling… The diagram is a bit different of the other swans though! I saw a variation of this swan that added some beautiful wings and if I can reproduce it, it will end up here!

I like all these swans and for once I can start with the basic and then proceed to the more complex ones.
You can click here for downloading/ viewing the diagram (in pdf format).

This swan has only 11 pieces for the neck and 45 for the body giving it a grand total of 56 pieces! Nice, very nice. (:
As in the last paperblock models the paper is 1:2. For regular copy paper the best paper size is 4x8cm, 1.5×3″, or 5x10cm, 2×4″. For thinner papers perhaps 3x6cm or 1×2″. Thicker papers and 6×12 or 8x16cm, 2.50×5 or 3×6″ usually are fine.
As in all models you should fold one to three pieces first to test the paper and how the paper reacts to assembly. Too stiff and your model will be hard to assemble and too malleable and it’s not easy either!

This model was folded from office notes of 4,5x9cm (1,75×3,50″). I just love to have (pre)cut paper available (;

First you should fold all 56 pieces. It’s only 56 pieces and since the assembly is so simple and fast you can do it in one go!
You can assemble the swan’s neck first (if you watt to put eyes on it you should put them where the symbol “o” is!) and then you assemble the body. The neck fits right at the middle on the first line of the body.
Another optional thing is the ribbon. It’s common but it’s your choice! You can see two photos with and two without a ribbon. You can put something prettier to hold the ribbon but I had none at home… Nor had I the time to go buy one, too. This is why a little planning before folding can come in handy!

About the glue: if you want to use it, for stability or for a give away swan, I’m going to say what I always say: white glue for wood is the best! You have it simple or fast drying, either way it’s transparent when dry and you can mix it with water and cover your model with it. It gives a shiny acrylic feeling to the model.
You can also adjust the pieces after gluing but you should assemble the model fast for that!
Happy folding!

Spring Flower Ball /Shunka Temari

2011|05|02

Shunka Temari aka Spring Flower Ball, 6 units

Modular origami is back! This time, I’m authoring it. However it wouldn’t be possible without Sakuradama (KAWASAKI Toshikazu), Temari Sakura (FUSE Tomoko) or some beautiful kusudamas like Plumeria Flower Ball or Petunia Flower Ball (Meenakshi MUKERJI). And of many more kusudamas! Thank you very much!
As soon as I find the last two kusudamas (they are stored) I’ll photograph them and post them here. They are very beautiful! You can see the Sakuradama on this post and the Temari Sakura on this post and this more recent one!

Shunka Temari aka Spring Flower Ball, 12 units

This one was though to be floral, so hence the name: Spring Flower Ball or, in the japanese version, 春花手毬 or 春花てまり. Despite the name, and the original intentions, the floral look is best achieved in the 30 units’ model. It was thought to welcome Spring, too. (:

Shunka Temari aka Spring Flower Ball, 6 and 12units + 6 units variation

Once again you can find this origami in Waribashi! You can click here to view/ download the pdf.
The best folding paper for this one is thin paper, but strong too. Any kraft paper provides these qualities; there are many wrapping papers that are good for this, too. You should fold a couple of units first to test the paper and the assembly. With kraft paper, or similar, 7×7 to 9x9cm / 2,75×2,75 to 3,5×3,5″ are best; if you use copy paper (80g/m2, for example) it’s best to use squares of 10 to 13cm / 4 to 5″ (side length).

Shunka Temari aka Spring Flower Ball, 6 units, variation

Unit folding has many steps but is, even though, simple. You need to crease well all folds; the next step usually inverts the fold or uses it as a guideline. If you don’t understand the fold you may, and should!, look at the next steps: the fold is either complete or further explained. In the final steps two variants are shown; they give the finished model a different effect.

Notice that these units allow symmetric, or mirrored, units so be attentive; all units need to be of the same type because “left” and “right” units don’t fit into one another.
Some assemblies the unit allows are with 6 units (cube or hexahedron), 12 units (starred octahedron) and 30 units (starred dodecahedron or icosahedron). If you plan on assembling the cube, you only crease the top and bottom of the first crease so you can use it as a guide for the second step. On all the other assemblies you need to fold that crease.
On the cube all units are assembled in a 3-3 basis, «petals» or not. On the octahedron they are grouped as 4-3, flowers with 4 petals, and with 30 units as 5-3, flowers have 5 petals.
Have fun folding!

PS: There are more variants of this kusudama. They will be presented soon! Soon as in next month or the other (; They’ll be presented as soon as I find the time to complete the diagram and fold all the models… Well, and photograph them but that’s the easy/ fast part.

Creative Commons License
Shunka Temari/ Spring Flower Ball by Paper Unlimited is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

origami 3D heart

2011|02|14

These are similar to the 3D stars already posted! As them, these can reuse various papers: wrapping paper, origami paper, publicity or pretty sheets of paper. I made these in two colours only but can do them in various shades of red or whatever colours you wish! More visual appeal will be achieved with a set of two colours however.

For first tries either a 20x420mm /0.78×16.5″ strip of paper (from an A3 sheet) or a 10x297mm /0.40×12″ (from an A4 sheet) strip are good sizes. The more the paper weights the larger can the strip become. Best results come with longer strips!

Another second version diagram of the waribashi magazine. Download or view the 3D heart diagram!
Basically you make a knot with the strip; you crease the resulting pentagon real well; you turn the pentagon into an irregular one. Since the pentagon is no longer regular you have to make slight adjustments as you fold without creasing. As soon as the heart has enough volume you hide the strip tip into the folded heart. Most times there’ll be more paper on the strip than needed. The last step is to inflate a bit the heart. The result is a simple 3D heart.
Depending on the length of the strip you might to do more than the steps shown. If that happens you can still use these steps to guide you; if you keep folding you’ll need to repeat some steps, equal or similar to the ones in the diagram.

Oh, happy Valentine’s Day! Or happy «Single by Conviction Day» (; let it be your way!

bookmarks: simple & lotus flower

2010|12|09

An item that any book lover, or book user, never has too many: a bookmark! The japanese word for bookmark is しおり・栞. These are just one type of origami bookmarks, more will be featured here in the future.
I learned both of these bookmarks as traditional, if you know otherwise, please let me know! (:

simple and lotus bookmarks

This is one of the simplest origami bookmarks there is! You can use paper with different colours/ prints on both sides and it results as well as simple paper and prints… The diagram is here! Hope you enjoy it. Scroll down for the other diagram and info on the other bookmark.
A square of 7x7cm/ 2,75″ will end up in a bookmark with 3,5×3,5cm/ 1,37″. Papers of 10×10 or 9x9cm (3,94″ or 3,54″) turn into nice sized bookmarks!

simple bookmarks

simple bookmarks

I prefer the lotus one… My love for (almost) anything flowery on action, perhaps. But I use this one mostly at home, the lotus petals became a bit jaggy when used on books I carry with me… Click here for the diagram, another waribashi one, too.
This bookmark is best made with paper that has the same colour or print on both paper faces. If not the other colour print will show on the outer petals. A square of 9x9cm/ 3,54″ results in a bookmark with 5,5cm/ 2,16″ wide and 4,5cm/ 1,77″ tall.

lotus bookmarks

lotus bookmark

lotus bookmarks

A pack of 3~5 bookmarks is a nice extra in Christmas and birthday presents… If you offer a book, why not offering some bookmarks, too? And even if you don’t offer a book, you can still offer bookmarks! (;

simple and lotus bookmarks

traditional: lotus flower (water lily)

2010|11|27

The lotus flower, also known as water lily, as mentioned in previous posts (such as traditional: water lily/ lotus flower and lotus flowers (: more recently) is associated with new beginnings, and, in India, with the god Ganesh which is, also, the god of new beginnings. It’s also associated with purity as it grows in muddy and unclean waters and it’s always clean and beautiful. The japanese for it is 蓮の花・はすのはな meaning lotus flower (I’ve also found references to 蓮華・れんげ with the meaning of lotus flower!) and also 睡蓮・すいれん as water lily and both are used when naming diagrams.

lotus with two layers of petals

If this is the first lotus flower you make you might want to try the simpler one, with two layers of petals as shown on the diagram, and on the picture above. After that, you can add one or even two layers of petals to the lotus flower.

lotus with two and three layers of petals

This traditional diagram, another one made for the waribashi magazine, introduces the Blintz base: a common base used in flowers, animals and even some modular assemblies. This is the second version of the diagram, basically a enhanced version, and I completely forgot to identify the Blintz base; step 2 of the folding sequence is the Blintz base. (Actually in the original diagram I might have misspelled Blintz for Blitz, too; let us hope I proofread it!)
In this diagram some steps have explanation lines to make it somehow clearer; they are in portuguese and english and are very brief. I also included hands for you to know how to position your hands. A real step by step diagram this time around! Perhaps too much? Take great care when you pull the petals as the paper might tear! If it does, keep going; do another one, or how many it takes for you to understand how much pressure you should use and how to hold the paper for it not to tear. Good luck!
In this diagram if you use a big or thin paper you can repeat step 2 and do three layers of petals instead of two. Or, if the paper is big and thin, and perhaps with a bit of wet folding, you can even add a fourth layer of petals. In the picture above the orange lotus flower has three layers of petals and the other two, two layers each.
You can also do this model in paper napkins to garnish a table! It’s quite useful as a cup or a glass coaster! (;

block folding: turtle

2010|11|23

A traditional block folding model. This is a very simple diagram with at least two variants; the blue and green turtle is from the main diagram and the smaller one, in earth tones, is the variation one.
The base piece is the same for all block folding diagrams. These turtles are assembled almost identically to the fish; the main difference is how the “paws” are joined in between the assembled body pieces. The assembly varies a little for the two turtles! Almost not noticeable.

block folding turtles

Once again, this model does not need glue but you can use it to enhance the models’ resistance.
The blue and green turtle was made with office notes, the ones without glue and the smaller one with some heavier and patterned paper. And smaller size pieces too.

block folding turtles

The diagram is very simple and only has the assembly diagrams, for more on how to fold the base piece, please check the block folding fish diagram out.