Anlichan: Origami Anniversary

Hi all!  I’m Annalisa, but Spry calls me Anli, hence the wordpress handle.  I’m the least experienced of the crafters here, so much of what I do is based on the “I don’t know it won’t work unless I try it!” principle.  Fortunately, with the help of the magic internet and my wonderful friends, such projects usually turn out ok, but I promise not to shy away from my failures as well.

That being said, this first project definitely played to my strengths.  My first memories of origami came from my Dad; he would make various animals and balloons to keep me and my siblings entertained during church when we were little.  Naturally, when I got older, I wanted to learn how to do it myself, so Dad got me a kids’ book of origami (which I still have) and helped me learn the basics.  Since then, I’ve dabbled with whatever designs strike my fancy–usually boxes for gifts or some pretty thing to put on the table.  I’m no expert folder, but I have enough experience that I can usually make any easy or intermediate pattern without a problem.

Which is how I ended up making flowers at 3 AM.

My parents’ 30th anniversary was on the 15th of August, so I wanted to do something different and fun to celebrate.  If you are like me (and if you are, I’m sorry), most of your “brilliant” plans come at obscene hours of the night/morning, and this one was no different.  “I should make 30 origami flowers for Mom and Dad!” I said to myself, “That shouldn’t be too hard.  I bet I can even make them before they wake up!”  My brain is a triumph of optimism over reality.

All my origami papers.

So I forged ahead.  I knew how to make a couple different flowers, and I had lots of origami paper (most of which had been gifts from Spry at some point…thank you), so it’s not as if I was starting from scratch.  This would have been much more difficult if I had to pull out the paper cutter and start chopping my own squares because of a) time constraints and b) standard-weight paper is just harder to work with when you’re trying new origami designs.  Flowers tend to have fine folds to them which can be hard to make work if your paper is too thick.  That being said, I don’t think any of flowers I made would be impossible with standard-weight paper, just make sure you make really sharp creases.

I didn’t want to make just one or two types of flowers, so I found some new patterns on the internet that I tried making.  The first pattern was a cherry blossom-like flower from Folding Trees (a site which seems to no longer be updated, but has great instructions nonetheless).  I followed their instructions exactly with one exception: no glue.  Glue and I do not get along, so I used double-sided tape instead.  It worked quite well, and since I didn’t have to wait for anything to dry, I could make the flowers faster.  They’re probably not quite as durable as glue-fastened ones would be, but since I wasn’t trying to make them into the the full kusudama ball (see the Folding Trees instructions), it wasn’t an issue.

Two cherry blossoms, a lotus, and a lily.

The other two flowers pictured above I made off of patterns in Japanese Papercrafts by Mari Ono (which is a very enjoyable book).  However, the lily is probably the most common origami flower, so that pattern you can find almost anywhere (these instructions seem good and thorough).  The lotus I had not seen before I got this book, and I cannot find the exact variation that I made.  Perhaps I will need to post a tutorial on that at some later point, but it was made out of a single sheet of paper, and actually turned out to be the fastest flower to make once I figured out how to

Another flower I found online was called the Kawasaki rose named after the creator of the pattern.  It looked so awesome that I had to try it.  One of the best patterns available is here [note: the link goes to a pdf], and I really thought I could pull it off.  This is how far I got:

Doomed at step 9.

Now, I still think I might be able to make the Kawasaki rose, but it was not going to happen while I was trying to make nice-looking flowers for my parents nor while racing against the clock.  My parents are obscenely early risers, so I was definitely feeling the time constraints when at 4:30 AM, all I had were four flowers and a large mess.

One hour, four flowers.

At that point I decided that three different types of flowers were enough, and it was time to focus on folding, not learning new patterns.  This was a smart decision, but I still only had about half the flowers made by the time Mom and Dad woke up.  Oh well.  Next time, plan ahead.

Another problem I was facing was that I could only find one of our flower vases (the squat, round one above), and I wasn’t sure it would show the flowers very well.  In a flash of desperation brilliance, I started pulling various cups out of the china cabinet and found that those served as much better vases for my various flowers than our regular ones probably would have anyway.  Later on, while trying to find something that would hold the smaller cherry blossoms without them listing to the side, I found some empty candle-holders which worked out remarkably well.

The final product!

You may notice that on the outside edges there are a type of flower I haven’t mentioned yet.  After about 25 flowers, I was getting tired of the three patterns I had, so I found this pattern for a camellia.  Normally, I wouldn’t have picked it, since the design is fairly 2-dimensional.  However, my mom has a soft spot for camellias (her grandfather was the president of the American Camellia Society for two years), so I thought she might like them.  And actually, having a very flat flower turned out to be a nice contrast to the tall, skinny lilies and the pointy, full cherry blossoms.

It’s now a week and a half later, and Mom and Dad still have the flowers out on the table.  I think it worked out just the way I’d hoped. 😀

*     *     *     *     *

Project at a glance: Origami Anniversary

Supplies needed: origami paper, double-sided tape and/or glue, instructions for various flowers

Difficulty: Varies depending on the flowers you decide to make, but fairly simple.  However, it is deceptively time-consuming.

What I liked: The color and size variety of the flowers turned out much better than I thought it would.  Also, I like how using Mom and Dad’s china made for a different type of vase that worked better with paper flowers than standard vases would have.  Also, Mom and Dad really liked the flowers, which was the best part of this whole exercise.

What I would do differently: I would definitely have started earlier than 3AM the day of!  I would like to have had more time to attempt some harder flowers.

Verdict: Success!

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