Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Origami Flapping Butterfly

When I started attending San Diego's Origami Society two years ago, I met a man named John. He was welcoming and kind and taught me several interesting structures. He invented the modification to this butterfly that makes it flap when you squeeze the last fold between your finger and thumb. Sadly, John is no longer with us, but I enjoy making his forms and am happy to be able to share this one with you.


Fold a crisp new dollar (or a piece of paper that measures 6 1/8 x 2 5/8) in half lengthwise. Turn and fold in half the other way as shown. These are mountain folds.

Fold down each top corner from the centerfold until the corner touches the bottom of the dollar. Do not crease the corners flat. Stop when you meet the center crease.

Fold back the long center mountain fold. Allow the points of the bill to stand and curve as shown.

Flatten the previous curved paper by folding in the bottom of each side until it meets the long mountain fold. This fold should result in the top points being divided in half.

Fold back the bottom points until they open out as shown.

Valley fold each side of the dollar along the middle fold. This picture shows the left side folded down.

This is how the dollar looks after you fold down both sides along the center. Turn over the model and fold back each side to the center fold. 

The butterfly looks like this after the last fold. Turn the model over again.

There is a center kite shaped that needs to be folded to make the flapping mechanism. 

Fold up the bottom of each side of the center kite. Invert these folds as in the bird base (see the picture below).

The point you just created can be grasped and pinched and the wings will flap.

Enjoy John's flapping butterfly!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Making Leather Journals and Handmade Inserts

I have been beguiled by the journal keeping craze that is everywhere currently. Why not? I love making books and I have all kinds of papers appropriate for journal pages. Now I just need to put something in them...

Here are picture of my process for making a leather bound journal (8.5 x 5 inches) and inserts using things I have in my studio. Enjoy!

Supplies to make a leather journal. (Leather, elastic, inserts, washi tape on acetate sheet)

Some notebooks I already made with different kinds of paper inserts.

Notebook cover with pockets made from Graphic 45 cardstock

Cut the paper to 8.75" x 12". Fold up the bottom part at 8.25 inches. This creates a pocket that is 3.75 inches deep. Cut a V notch in the middle as shown.

I got this piece of 8.5 x 11 inch leather at Michaels. It is the perfect size for this journal.

Cut paper inserts (I used 12 sheets as this Tomoe River Paper is very thin) to 8.25 x 8.25 inches and fold in half with the grain. If you are using thicker paper like watercolor paper you may want to limit it to 8 sheets, which folded in half gives you 32 pages.

Make a template to create sewing holes in the inserts and cover paper. For this project, I measured in 1.25 inches from the top and bottom and made a center hole at 4 1/8 inches. Then I used an awl to poke the holes.

Place the template in the center fold of the pages and poke holes.

Use double stick tape to tape up the sides of the folders in the insert cover. 

Pockets are complete.

Put holes in the cover the same way you made them for the pages and cut a piece of waxed linen twice the length of the pages (16.5 inches)

Sew the pages and cover together using the Pamphlet stitch.

The insert is complete.

To finish the cover you need to make holes in the leather spine using a screw punch. I used a 2.5mm bit and placed three holes at the top and bottom and one hole in the center. The Center hole is located 5.5 inches in from the left and  4 1/8 inches down from the top.  The top and bottom holes are 1/4 inch up or down from the edge of the leather and placed at 5, 5.5, and 6 inches from the left edge. This creates a 1 inch spine with plenty of room for 4 inserts.

Screw punch and leather.

I used elastic from the craft store to bind my inserts. Start at the top left hole and come in from the outside of the cover. Leave a tale and run the long end through the adjacent center hole to the right. Then go down to the bottom of the cover and go out through the center hole and into the hole on the right. Go to the top and out the right hole and back through the center hole. Then go down to the bottom of the cover and out the center hole and in the left side hole. Tie the two ends of the elastic together in a square knot. Trim the excess elastic. You will need about 36 inches of elastic for this and you want to pull it taut. It should buckle the leather slightly so that there is some tension when you place the inserts inside.

Use ~14 inches of elastic for the center hole loop that will keep your journal closed. Tie a knot in the ends and insert the loop from the inside to the outside so that the knot is inside the cover.

The finished journal with inserts.

My three handmade journals!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

My Catalog of Spirals ...so far

I spent a few days last week organizing and making detailed drawings of the spirals I have created based on Tomoko Fuse's in her book Spirals. Here are the results. I have paired the sketches with the samples so you can see how they look folded. I hope you try one or a few. Let me know which one is your favorite. (Mine is #2.)

1. Basic spiral.

2. My addition to the basic spiral. It makes a leaf shape that I like.

3. This combines two spirals and kind of looks like a ram's head when collapsed.

#3 Open

4. Long skinny trapezoid has more turns than the regular one.

5. This is a different spiral, based on Fuse's Naval shell with modifications by me.

6. Naval shell with a twist.

7 a & b. Variations on collapsing a spiral result in different effects. 
7a is locked in the closed position. 7b opens into a complex corkscrew shape.

8. Note that in this sample the  parallel lines are angles up slightly towards the center fold. This creates the openness in the center of the spiral. (see the picture below)

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Folding in Curved Space

If you follow this blog you know I was recently away at Penland for a two week workshop with Matt Shlian. He is an extraordinary teacher and master paper engineer (in my humble opinion). He nudged me in new creative directions by planting seemingly simple ideas in my head where they flowered and started to bear fruit. I hope the harvest will continue now that I am home. One of the ideas he suggested was folding spirals from curved paper. This idea may sound simple, but it is a challenge. Here are some pictures of my explorations in curved space...


The spiral is concave and looks more shell-like than ones folded with straight lines.

A diagram of how I created the curves and fold lines.

Another view of the spiral shell showing some of the internal folds.

Compare the spiral on this shell with the one below. This one is folded with straight lines throughout and is convex.

This shell has a concave spiral when folded from a curved piece of paper.

The paper pre-creased and ready to collapse.