How to Fold a Kusudama Japanese Paper Ball

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How to Fold a Kusudama Japanese Paper Ball
Origami folding techniques can be used to make a Japanese Kusudama ball. (origami flowers image by wildman from Fotolia.com)

Crafters can make a Japanese kusudama by folding several identical origami shapes, such as flowers or leaves, then adhering them to one another with glue to form a ball. Historically the Japanese people employed these decorative balls for scenting a room. Now they are usually given as gifts. There are many different designs for kusudama balls, and new ones are being designed all the time.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • 60 squares of paper, 3 inches by 3 inches
  • Glue

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Position one square of paper in a diamond shape. Fold the bottom corner to the top and crease the fold. This will form a triangle with the long side at the bottom (see the Reference link for pictures of Steps 1 through 7).

  2. 2

    Bring the left corner to the top point and crease the fold. Do the same for the right corner. This will result in a smaller diamond shape bisected by the line where the two side flaps meet in the middle.

  3. 3

    Fold the right flap down again, aligning the edge that was in the middle in Step 2 with the bottom right edge of the diamond. Crease this fold. Do the same for the left flap. Now you should have a shape that looks somewhat like a fleur-de-lis with a point in the middle and two wings on the sides.

  4. 4

    Unfold the right flap so it's perpendicular to rest of the paper. Open the flap, then press down on the centre crease, which will now line up with the right edge of the diamond from Step 1. When you press this crease down, the two side creases will naturally form the place where the flap can be flattened. Repeat for the left flap. Now your "fleur-de-lis" will have wider wings with a crease slanting down the middle of each one.

  5. 5

    Fold the top triangular section of the rightwing toward the middle so the edge of the triangular section lines up with the edge of the original diamond shape from Step 1. Repeat for the top of the left flap.

  6. 6

    Fold the bottom of the right flap toward the middle along its middle crease. It will fold exactly in half. The triangular section you folded in Step 5 is now inside this flap. Repeat for the left flap. Now you should have a diamond shape with two flaps folded toward the middle.

  7. 7

    Curve the diamond shape, bringing the surface area of the two flaps together, forming a cylinder. Glue the flaps together. The cylinder is one petal of a flower. If you look inside the cylinder, you will see three smaller petals formed by the flaps you folded. Repeat this process for each square of paper. You will have 60 petals.

  8. 8

    Glue six of these petals together to form a flower, making sure the three small petals inside each petal end up radiating from the middle point. Repeat for the other petals until you use up the petals and have 12 flowers.

  9. 9

    Glue the flowers together to form the kusudama ball. Each flower will be connected to two petals of each adjoining flower. Begin by gluing two petals of two flowers together. Then add a third flower, and so on until half a ball is formed. Repeat to make another half of the ball, then glue the halves together.

Tips and warnings

  • Use different colours or patterns of paper to add variation to your kusudama ball.
  • When gluing the flowers together, place the glue in a line all the way down the petal, a little to the right of the centre line.

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