A present arrives topped with a 3 dimensional mechanical doughnut made from cardboard. It’s sort of a gear which will continuously folds into itself. Written in letters around it is the message “To Sara, Merry Christmas”. To see the message one must continuously turn the donut inside out.
This page is under construction. I will finish it sometime. Meanwhile, feel free to read what I’ve got. Maybe it will inspire something from your heart.
Something Completely Unrelated
Origami paper folding is one of those universally fun crafts which everyone can enjoy. As is often true with the majority of the magnificent arts of the orient, here is proof that magic can blossom from one of the most basic of all items found around the house. Held together by its own simplicity, a square of paper folded a few times metamorphose into a beautiful swan. Folded differently it transforms into a silent but restless bunny. There are recipes for fish, frogs, birds, flowers, boats, boxes, hats, and many many more. I’m sure that there are many more unwritten delights in store for the adventuresome who experiments beyond the directions written in text.
Of all the gifts I’ve given or received across the years, the one which I think back on with most pleasure did not arrive on Christmas or birthday or Easter or any of the other days considered “special” in the society which I live in. My favorite gift had no monetary value. It was simple. It was unpretentious. It begged nothing in return. This great gift was a tiny origami swan given to me by a very thoughtful Japanese woman who came to my company for a brief visit some years ago. Here was a simple gesture from one stranger to another which left a forever lasting impression on a place in my heart which could not have been reached by any other kind of friendship. This gracious woman had given to me, and completely to me, those moments of time it had taken her to fold that simple square of paper into a swan of grace and beauty.
It is so unfortunate that, at the time, I was so overwhelmed by the moment that my thanks to her was ordinary and completely unfitting of the situation. I can now only hope that she may have seen a little spark in my eyes which was at that moment and to this day I can still feel in my heart. My response to this amazing situation was unnervingly plain: simply “Thanks. That’s nice.” That’s all.
– picture of origami swan –
Actually, the story of this chapter occurs many years before, when I was young, attending my first year of college as a freshman of engineering. The woman in my life at that time very much enjoyed all puzzles of all variation. (Or maybe, out of courtesy, she humored with great disguise, my wonderful love for puzzles). More than puzzles, Sara enjoyed optical illusions. She was the one who introduced me to the art of Echer and his endless Mobius Strip. Sara, that year, was the perfect victim for “The Mad Wrapper!”
The challenge here was more mine than hers. My goal that year was to put into her hands a three dimensional optical illusion. I suppose I could have composed my message onto a simple-to-construct Mobius Strip. She would have appreciated this but I wanted to give her more than this. Triangles attached into a snake loop twist inside out around and around.
The diagram below gives a cutout pattern which you can use to make the loop. Simply print the figure and resize it to your desired size, with scissors, cut out the pattern. Standard photocopy paper should work fine for most situations but some people may decide to retrace the paper onto thin cardboard or a stiffer paper. Once cut, fold all the edges along the lines as shown and glue the tabs into place until it looks like the picture given below. I wrote my message blah blah. You don’t need to write a message if you want to simply use it as a toy.
– Snake Loop Picture: 2d cutout –
– Snake Loop Picture: 3d finished –
Better things to do with your time
Fortune teller folded paper.
Nearly any grade school child, if asked, will gladly tell your fortune from a homemade fortune telling device built entirely from a simple folded square of paper. If you listen carefully at any playground in America, you’ll hear the following game: “Pick a number …. one, two, three, four, five! … pick a color … B-L-U-E! …. pick another color …” Then, after some awkward unfolding, a predetermined message is read from under the flap: “You like to play in the mud!”
This fortune telling origami is well suited to gift giving. With up to eight names hidden under the four inside flaps, up to eight presents around the tree can be topped with secret codes for properly manipulating the paper fortune machine. If you cannot find a grade school child to build you one of these devices, the directions may be found at the library inside any one of many origami books.
– fortune picture –
An Actual Mobius Strip
Try writing your secret codes onto Mobius strips attached to the top of gifts. The Mobius Strip is very simple to build. Cut a long strip of paper. Give it a gentle twist before gluing the ends together to form a loop.
– Mobius picture –
Many people decorate their gifts with origami. This is good. Put your message on a square piece of paper then fold it into origami art.