This is a beautiful DIY project to have a go at; one of those that can be used in lots of different ways once you get the hang of the folding.  You’ll find yourself absent-mindedly scoring and creasing magazine pages, wallpaper scraps and any sheets of paper you come across.  You can make hanging decorations like these above, covers to slip over fairy-lights and so much more.  You can even send them as gifts, folded flat, for friends and family to simply pop-up and glue into shape; the ultimate in mail-able festive cheer!

You can use fragile marbled papers to produce gorgeous free-standing sculptures like these; I keep them on my desk and they remind me of the veined tiers of crystals and rocks…

I’ve also made over-sized versions to wrap around supermarket plant pots – they look like chiselled sandstone planters!

Whilst the design of these looks quite complex, it’s actually easier than it looks.  You’ll need;

  • Access to a printer to print out the template on your chosen paper (or you can place it over/under your chosen paper and score through both sheets)
  • A ruler and something to score with; a scoring tool, a rounded table knife (not a sharp knife!), or the tip of a white pencil.
  • Quick-dry glue for the final assembly
  • Cord if you want to create hanging decorations

To make the origami decorations

  • Print out the template on a sheet of rough paper to see the finished size of your decorations.  Decide if you want to make it smaller or larger and print accordingly.  Cut out the shapes (the template makes two).
  • Using a ruler, score along all of the horizontal and diagonal lines to guide your folding
  • Then begin to fold from one end, using the guide below; all of your straight lines will be ‘mountain’ folds, where you fold them towards you, creating a mountain shape.  The diagonal lines are all ‘valley’ folds, where the peak of the fold is pointing down away from you.  After the first few folds you’ll find the shape natural begins to concertina together and take form.  Don’t worry if you get the folding wrong and crease the wrong way; just re-fold in the right direction.  It’s quite forgiving!

Once you’ve finished, you should have a concertina-like tube like this one on the right:

Take the edges and pull them together, which will curl the shape into a gorgeous ball in the palm of your hand.  Apply glue along one side and press the edges together, aligning the folds together as you go.  You may also want to add a dab of glue between the points of the shape to hold them tightly together; I don’t do this for the big sculptural shapes or the vase-wrappers, but if you’re making hanging decorations you may want to, to create a tight centre to tuck the cord into.  For decorations then simply cut a piece of cord and feed it into the top of the shape, gluing it into place.  Ta-da!!

Templates to print and use:

The first template has two separate shapes on it.  You can scale up or down on your printer to suit your project.

The second template has the same two shapes but simply arranged back-to-back.  This is ideal if you’re making multiple balls because you can cut the shape out, score the whole shape only once and then cut into two pieces down the middle before you begin folding each piece.

DIY origami decoration 2

DIY origami decorations 1

Good luck, do feel free to ask any questions as you go, and let me know how you get on!