Unfolding Origami

This is a video of some paper folded and cut with the intention of being unfolded through what is called capillary action. As the water is absorbed by the paper, it is sucked up the capillaries (small tubes) in the sheet. This action is a bit like inflating a balloon which straightens the capillaries, forcing the paper to unfold. 

It's a unique idea in the origami world. Gives a new meaning to wet-folding!


Cranestorm is Complete

The Brain Injury Association of Minnesota recently completed their massive Cranestorm project.

Picture taken by my friend S.B.

They have over 140,000 cranes!

There is another picture and short article at the Star Tribune.


Creased Images

I wanted to post a link to something interesting.

This is an illustration made from creasing a sheet of paper.

There are plenty more images at Simon Schubert's site.


Cranestorm Has Reached Its Goal!

The people over at the Brain Injury Association of Minnesota have reached their goal of collecting 100,000 cranes! Now they will be hosting events to string up all the cranes. From their site:
The Brain Injury Association of Minnesota will be holding crane stringing sessions at our office where you can bring your kids, spouse, friends, or anyone you may know who is interested in helping us get the art installation ready. The times are open and you are
welcome to drop in whenever it fits for you. Also, if you know of any groups who are looking for something to do this Spring, please let them know about these dates!

Thursday, April 7 from 1 to 3 p.m.
Saturday, April 9 from 1 to 3 p.m.
Thursday, April 14 from 1 to 3 p.m.
Saturday, April 16 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Thursday, April 21 from 1 to 3 p.m.
Saturday, April 30 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

I'll put them on the calendar as well.


Modular Origami

Last week at Origami Minnesota, we had a swap day. People brought in books, diagrams and paper that they had no intention of using in the near future and then people like me claimed them! I got a few new books, of which I am excited. One in particular I wanted to write a bit about. It uses a style of origami often referred to as modular origami. Instead of taking a single sheet and folding a whole model out of it, the process involves several sheets, each one a piece of the whole.

The book I now have on the subject is written in Japanese, so I'm not sure what the title is (if you can translate, I'd appreciate it!). It uses a form of modules that each look identical to one another, but combine to build an interesting whole. It reminds me a lot of the days when I played with Legos. Each block was rather nondescript and boring, but several blocks combined could build a spaceship or castle.

As my first attempt, I made a fish. 

It was not the same experience as folding from a single sheet. I made 28 identical pieces and then plugged them together. Unfortunately, just plugging the flaps into the pockets is not that simple. The flaps don't always want to stay in the pocket, especially when there are a lot of flaps in the same pocket. 

I imagine that people who like knitting patterns and cross-stitching patterns would like the designs I found in the book, but I wasn't all that excited, myself. I think in the near-term, I'll stick with origami from a single sheet. Maybe in the long-term, I'll take another look at this style again. 


Robert Lang Lecture

Gustavus Adolphus College hosted a night with Robert Lang as part of their Rydell Professorship program. It was at the Science Museum of Minnesota where he gave us his standard lecture: From Flapping Birds to Space Telescopes. I've seen it once before, but it was nice to hear it again.

Origami Minnesota also had a presence at the event. We have a neat new flyer, which has been printed on origami sheets!

I think it was a pretty great idea. We also taught some people how to fold cranes for the Cranestorm project, which has reached 70,000+ cranes! They still need almost 30,000 more.

If you want to see Lang's lecture for yourself, it's best to try and catch one of his live lectures, but there is a little bit online. Unfortunately, neither of the following links covers the total content of the lecture. :(

=>The IMA lecture is cut short, because they did not get permission to post all of the lecture. 

=>The TED lecture is short because TED limits their speakers to 18 minutes on stage, while Lang's lecture can fill up an hour, easy. 

Still, I hope you enjoy it!


Woven Star

In October I met a woman at the Scrap Paper Airplanes event at the library. She gave me a sixteen pointed star made of strips of paper. It was pretty awesome, but there wasn't time to sit down and learn how to make it just then. So last week, we met at the library and made a few so that I now know how to make them!

This is my first attempt at weaving paper together to make origami. I've always focused on using a single sheet of paper without cuts, for the sake of purity. There's a beauty in knowing that you can fold the model anywhere at any time with nearly any single sheet. The universality is nice. So it's cool to find something that makes me question that puritanical streak.

This star model is woven together out of four strips of paper. I cut mine from a 8.5 x 11 inch sheet, making 1cm strips. A good size strip would be about 1 x 28, maybe a little shorter.

The woman who taught me had learned it from her mother years ago. I did a little research and found that they are often called Moravian stars because of their resemblance to the illuminated decorations. They are also known as German stars, Swedish stars and Froebel's star. I found a good site that talks about strip folding and has information about this star in particular.

These pictures probably aren't enough for you to divine the fold pattern, so if you want to try your hand, I recommend these diagrams

Good luck!


Origami in Video Games

A friend of mine is currently playing a Japanese video game called Persona 4. The basic premise of the Persona games is a little beyond my grasp, as half of it seems to be micromanaging the schedule and social life of a Japanese teen while the other half is fighting ridiculous monsters in alternate realities. In Persona 4, the alternate reality is accessed by entering a big screen TV in the shopping mall....

Anyway, the reason I bring this up is that in micromanaging the schedule, you get to choose activities for your teen to do. Some are jobs and some are not. While going about the game, my friend ran into this:

If your character has Diligence, they can use it to earn Understanding. By folding origami cranes! I immediately remembered about the Cranestorm project that is still ongoing. For that project, you can donate cranes and have it counted as volunteer hours. Origami Minnesota has been helping out with that for a few months now. If you want to be a part of it, definitely check it out!


11:7 Rectangles

When I made the Valentine's Day heart last week, I stumbled into a rectangle of paper that was 11:7. That size rectangle works perfectly for the model. It was unintentional, not a simple matter of altering an 8.5 x 11inch sheet of paper. What I actually came up with was a sheet that was 9 x 5+13/16 inch and scaled it up so that one side would be 11 inches and it could be nicely made from an 8.5x11 sheet without too much hassle. After scaling, I realized the ratio would be 11:7. I know how to make a lot of rectangles from any given sheet, but 11:7 is an odd one. So I have been searching for a shortcut so that I don't have to measure it with a ruler.

I have two shortcuts. The first is from a sheet that is 8.5 inches by 11 inches. The second is from a square.

==( 1 )==

This shortcut works only because I already know the dimensions of the starting sheet (8.5x11). If you're using A4 or some other such paper, this wont be much of a help.

To get 7 inches from 8.5 we must subtract 1.5 inches (duh). The diagonal crease from the corner and the vertical crease from the center intersect at the corner of a 5.5x5.5 inch square. Which means it's 3 inches from the bottom and half of that is 1.5 inches. 

You do not necessarily need to remove the bottom section, but just know that it is superfluous and will need to be hidden inside the model.

==( 2 )==

 This shortcut is more complicated. Also, it is not as easy to memorize as the one above. Also, it does not arrive at a perfect 11:7, but instead arrives at a 11:7.046875. I suspect, though, that is plenty close enough for most models.

The diagram below indicates the creases that need to be made, the first ones on the left and then moving to the right. The first five creases are just to find the point on the sheet that is roughly 3/11ths from the bottom. The top section will be 8/11ths, so fold that in half and you get 4/11ths. cut off the 4/11ths and you get a rectangle that is 11:7.

I don't know what other projects require an 11:7 rectangle, but if you know of any, let me know!


Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day!
When I was folding at the library one student was piecing together a box in which he could hold valentine cards at school If it's like when I was in elementary school, then I assume he's going to get a bunch of those little cardboard things with famous cartoon characters saying nice things. And candy.

Anyway, he asked me if I knew how to make a heart shaped box. At the time I did not, but I had felt bad that I could not help him out, so I sat down and figured out how to make one! It took seven prototypes, but number eight looks great. And number nine is slightly smaller so that the two combined make a box and a lid!

I don't know how original my design is. I am sure that others have made a heart box and probably thought much like I did (we folded a different one at Origami MN, actually). I'm proud of it just the same.

Like I said, there were prototypes, one of which I took pictures of as I folded it so that I might remember what I did! I'd like to draw up some diagrams, but it would be the most complicated thing I've diagrammed yet.

It took a while to figure out the correct dimensions. This rectangle is what I finally settled on: 7x11. I'm not really sure how to get a 7x11 rectangle without a ruler, but it works perfectly for this model.

I really like the shape of this. It reminds me of the traditional heart-with-wings model I'm fond of. Or giant fighting robots.

This is the first one of the perfect shape. Of course, it's got lines all over it...

I hope you're having a wonderful Valentine's Day!


Origami Yoda

Last year I bought a book called The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger and wrote a short blog post about it. I checked the website recently and found a short blurb about a school right here in Minnesota that used the book in their curriculum! They also did a project that takes the place of a book report, allowing the students to reflect on the story.

I also think this is an appropriate time to mention that the sequel has been announced, along with some new folding instructions! It will be titled Origami Yoda II: Darth Paper Strikes Back. I'm not sure what to expect, but it should be pretty good if the first book is any indication. I haven't read any excerpts, but there is a chance to get a copy of the book before it is published. Angleberger is hosting a photo contest. To enter you must fold a Darth Paper from the instructions provided on his site and then take a photo of the guy out and about in the world or in some sort of scene, then send it to him via email. 
For more details, you can go here.

Darth Paper, designed by Tom Angleberger, folded by me. 
I'll have to find a more interesting background before entering the contest....


Paper Zerg

I found this picture hiding in a Facebook photo album. It's from years ago. A friend asked me to try and fold a type of zerg from StarCraft. He drew the picture and I folded the origami. If I remember correctly, it is a modification of a skeleton I had found online somewhere.

Also, I have modified the "Where I Fold" section. It is now called Events and it has a Google calendar. Huh. When I changed it I thought it was a good idea, trying to streamline it, make it look good. But now when I write about it, I think it makes me sound like I'm trying to be more professional than I am. 


Slice of Pie

A while back I posted about a slice of pie that I designed.
Today I am sharing with you the diagrams I made so that you can fold it as well! I hope it's not too confusing. The end model is 3D and hollow, so don't be zealous about getting the model to lay flat all the time!