Paper fun things.

I've enjoyed playing with paper since before I can remember. Origami is great fun, and you can look up how to do that with an internet search.. here is one page I like:
Here I have examples of other things to do with paper. (I don't know any real names for them, so I just call them what they seem to be):

Stars, Vertical cut popups, & Accordian folds



These little things are just cute. They remind me of Lucky Charms marshmallows =). They're easy to make, all you need is a long strip of paper. Big one's are okay, but the small ones are best. I made one really big one with 16 pieces of paper all taped together. Interesting, but not as fun as the little ones.

Here's how:

-Get a long strip of paper, 1/2 an inch by 11 inches is a very good length. Just take a piece of paper and make a long fold, then cut along it.

-Tie the strip of paper into a simple knot, like in the top left one in the picture.

- Carefully pull the knot tighter, until it's as tight as it will get and you can squash it flat, like the second step in the picture. This makes it into a pentagon, which is the basic shape of our star. Don't crease the edges down really good, just squash it flat. (If you make the folds really good here it won't poof up as easily later.)

- Start to wrap the remaining paper around the knot. When you've wrapped all the paper around tuck the last bit underneath some of the paper on the knot, that way no paper hangs loose. Now you've gotten to the third step in the picture.

- Ok, now take your thumbnail and dent in the sides of the pentagon. This is the fourth step in the picture.

- Now keep going around denting the sides in a little bit more at a time. After doing that for a while you can pinch the points out nice. Now you have a great little star!

Thanks go to Matt Kiener who showed me how to make these. =)



Vertical cut popups

I first learned about these from the magazine Omni. The idea is simple, make parallel cuts in only one direction and then fold a piece of paper in half. Only, as you fold the paper fold the strips in different directions. The two big ones are a simple 'binary city' pattern. It's a great pattern, and easy to do, but there are better things to be done with this kind of paper art. The piece in the front is from a book I found back in high school. It makes a little building, very nice.

Here's how:

I have two simple examples to get you started. The left one will make a simple building (two boxes, one on top the other). The right one will make a staircase.

- Take a piece of paper and cut vertical cuts where you see the vertical black lines

- Fold valleys where you see the small red doted lines

- Fold mountains where you see the longer blue dashed lines.



Accordian folds

This is a great way to produce many interesting... things. =) I don't know what they are. They have interesting structural stability, if that interests you. I saw this on TV as a simple tent design. I then made ones more complex. Above on the right is one with a curved meta-fold. The middle one has the folds interleaved. Below is the same thing, only with the accordion fold done radially. It makes for very interesting objects (some simpler stars shown here), but they can be very difficult to make.

Here's how:

- Start by making an accordion fold along a piece of paper. To do this fold the paper in half, then in half again, then in half once more. Make the folds very crisp, use your finger nail to press the fold down on the table. Make the folds alternate as shown in the left one in the picture. Then, reverse all of them so that the accordion is reversed. All the folds should be happy to fold either way.

- Now hold the accordion all together, and then fold the whole thing. (This is a meta-fold.) You should now have something looking like the paper in the middle of the picture.

- Open it all up, and then reverse the accordion fold on just one side of the meta-fold. This can be tricky, and the only think I can do it just say try it. Make the valleys of one side become mountains, and the mountains valleys. When you're done you should have a piece of paper like the right one in the picture. That zig-zag on top is the meta-fold.