Sunday, August 16, 2009


The rectangular box by Clemente Giusto, featured in an article a couple of months ago, has similarities to a square-based box diagrammed in Florence Temko's book Origami Boxes and More (Tuttle, 2004). (The domed box made from daisy flowered paper is the model shown in Tempko's book.) Both boxes have double layered roof sections. In both boxes paper strips are "woven" across the lower roof to form the upper roof.

Similarities in origami are common. Many would-be origami artist has been irritated to discover that the creation they have just proudly designed has merely reinvented an origami wheel.

The problem with both the Giusto box and the Temko box is that the walls are relatively weak compared to the roof sections. This can result in wall collapse during construction.

Yami Yamauchi
solves this problem by placing an acrylic block in the center of the pre-creased paper so that he can support the walls around it and squash the roof sections firmly on it. The problem with that solution is that you either have to make all your boxes the same size or you have to cut a new block every time you want to make a box of a different size.

My solution to the Giusto box has already been documented in a previous blog. My solution to Florence's box was to add a simple double thickness box in the center.

I also redesigned the external roof section so that it avoided the central hole and folded down flat. In order to achieve that purpose the ends of the protruding strips are tucked inwards.

The variation, showing the color on the back of the sheet, was achieved by turning a larger section of each corner under. A look at the Crease Patterns and a consideration of the photos showing how the boxes open up should explain the differences.

If you make this box from the crease patterns provided here, start the internal box by dividing the paper into an 8 x 8 grid with two diagonals. Then bring the corner points into the center (blintz). Proceed by folding the model according to the crease pattern shown in the central diamond. During assembly the walls are folded over each other from left to right all the way around. The last wall needs to be lifted so that the corner section can be tucked to continue the pattern of its neighbours.

Although this makes a box with walls that are thicker on the left half than the right half of each side this is disguised by the decorative outer shell.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Here are a couple more creations which continue the quilt theme as well as the practice of dedication.

These two quilts are dedicated to Keryn and Russell Glasser, a brother and sister team who broadcast thought-provoking material on public radio from Austin, Texas.

What specifically caught my ear was a discussion of American Patriotism as a national religion by Keryn (
and a discussion of the disguised religion of Intelligent Design
/Creationism by Russell (

The content of these two videos is controversial and will no doubt disturb some of my blog followers. That, of course, is the hallmark of education which stimulates new learning and the development of fresh insights by challenging unexamined assumptions or poorly thought out ideas. If you cannot agree with the point of view presented by these two podcasters the material may help you to defend your position in the light of what may be a new perspective. If you like intellectual challenges then I would recommend these two podcasts.

The pink quilt is dedicated to Keryn Glasser and the orange and brown quilt is dedicated to Russell Glasser in appreciation of the thought provoking ideas which they present.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


A few posts back I dedicated an origami quilt to Paul Bachman, a presenter on Serius XM Pops radio. The other presenter is Vincent Caruso. Just so the two boys don't fight, I have dedicated this kusudama to Vincent.

Since the kusudama flower ball shape is cubic I have dubbed it the Caruso Cube. When I make a kusudama version of the Bachman Quilt I guess it will become the Bachman Ball. Alliteration is such fun, isn't it?

Like a number of things I have been designing lately, the Caruso Cube uses the same connection idea that I have been using for models using a carrier box method. In this case the flower itself is the "carrier". It is a little weaker than the full method but works just fine for light balls, especially when the intersecting angles are relatively sharp.

The leaves are formed by increasing the size of the basic connector piece so that there is enough paper to form leaflets at the ends. These form a pleasing triple leaf arrangement at the intersection points of the flowers.


The flowers are a variant of the classic twist fold.

The stamens begin life as a variant of the classic frog base.

The blue flower is my first model I made in this series. The stamens in this model are relatively short, something which required that the paper for this piece be cut to a size which was not a natural factor of the other pieces used in the model.

In the next models I decided to make the stamens a little larger in order to keep the paper sizes relative to each other.

The Curuso Cube was made from 6 flower modules: 2 metallic cream, 2 metallic blue and 2 metallic navy. The stamens were made from similar colors with the addition of a paler blue.

The hanging method is different from the one used in traditional models. I used a small metal ring, the kind used in lampshade construction, as a way to attach hanging cords without straining the glueless connection points of the ball. First three threads were tied onto it. The threads were tensioned by tying another piece of thread around the cords about three or four times until it formed a ring. I then pushed this yarn ring down until it pulled the three cords to a point in the center of the metal ring. The completed cord and ring construction was inserted into the model just before the last couple of flowers were connected together.

The resulting model hangs well without undue strain on its connecting creases.


Here are some "upgrades" on the Quilt Box.

THE BLUE BOX ironed out a couple of problems experienced in the original box which was the subject of the last posting. It also confirmed that this method of paper connection could result in a big highly decorative box of considerable stability.

I used a different method o
f module connection on this one. Although it removes the need for "patches" and "feet" to cover the holes at the intersections the disadvantage is that the corner pieces are somewhat bulky. This is particularly problematic around the top of the box. It does not have a lid because it would not sit well on top of this bulk.

Nevertheless, it is a good sturdy decorative open box.

As you can see in the last photograph of this model, I left the base fairly plain.

THE RED BOX uses the original method of module connection. The "legs" are identical but the "patches" now have their corners turned under. It seems to fit the rest of the pattern better.

The inserts are the same twisted cross design with the exception of the center panel in the front. The reason for this difference is that it permits the top lip to be tucked underneath the top section. This makes for a more secure connection than the method used on the original box.

The other lid flaps are simply tucked in, as before. If all the front and side panels were substituted with the insert used in the central front panel then all these five flaps could be tucked firmly underneath rather than just inserted loosely into the adjoining rim section. This would make it a very secure connection. The small air gap at the top front corners would disappear. The air gaps on the top back corners cannot easily be removed with a flush lid of this nature.

The inside of the box is much neater and less bulky than the blue box shown and discussed above.

NOTE: Having reviewed this posting I realize that the photo of the box parts awaiting 3D assembly is deceptive. It was taken early in the design process. After assembly I removed the cream connector pieces between the half squares which fold over the rim into the box and then redesigned how these sections hold together. Look at the last photo for further clarification.

Overall, I am reasonably happy with this version. It is time to make one from something other than cheap copy paper.

As I think I may have mentioned in previous posts, I use copy paper during the designing process because I destroy and throw out a lot of paper along the way to the final version. It would be wasteful to use expensive paper during this experimental stage.

During the design of this particular model there were a number of pieces of paper which became extremely battered from multiple creasings, re-creasinngs and total redesigning. This is usual.

It took some time to design the inserted module which I eventually used in the center front panel. Some versions worked but did not look "clean" or interesting. Others looked fine but did not work well, or even at all :-) As usual, I came up with some designs which did not fix the particular problem I was trying to solve but which are interesting in their own right and will probably be used in future models.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


I have been exploring the use of connected carrier modules over the last several weeks. I have progressed from kusdamas through quilts (more later) and onwards. Here is today's experiment: a box made from connected carrier module "quilt squares".

I filled the carrier window pockets with four interleaved triangles. This gives the effect of four diamonds inside each window. I covered the connecting holes at the base with "feet". I added a strengthening and cosmetic insert to the back hinge (the lid). Finally, I added a knob on the top.

Although it looks complicated, most of the elements of this box are easy to fold and to assemble. The most difficult element are the legs, not because they are difficult to fold but because they are tricky to attach to the base.

I used different colors to emphasize the elements although I think the box would work better with fewer colors. A more sophisticated model might use gold paper for the knob and the feet.

The box is a little heavier than most because of the multiple layers of paper. On the other hand it is very sturdy.

I may change the closure technique in the next model to make it more secure. In this model the lid is tucked in between the wall sections and remains closed through friction. I would be more robust if it were folded over something on the walls of the box. I will experiment some more.

In this model there are small air holes around the edges of the lid. Perhaps I could modify the "legs" and add them around the edges of the lid. Finding a way to connect them firmly and still allow the lid to open will pose a challenge.

All the modules are from squares, with the exception of the legs which are made from half squares.

This was a "proof of concept" box along the way to making larger boxes with multiple quilt squares on each side. I have already discovered how to connect flat modules together firmly in large sheets and connect kusudamas together in a variety of angles. The main challenge in cubic 3D box construction was how to strengthen and hide the corner holes. After several failed attempts I finally came up with something that works, is relatively simple and looks decorative. Unfortunately this works on the corners of the base but not on the corners of the lid.

The technique should permit me to make rectangular box shapes as well as cubic ones like this sample. This is useful because rectangular shaped modular boxes are rare in the origami literature.