In a fold's paradise

Updated: Oct 27, 2019, 14:43 IST | Ela Das | Mumbai

This story and the experiment we hope you will try, is as much about re-use and upcycling as it is about us wanting to stay relevant in your life longer than a day. Turn today's Sunday mid-day into a Diwali decoration trinket

You can make a bigger/rounded lamp if you attach two sheets of paper and make 32 segments instead of 16. Pic/Shadab Khan
You can make a bigger/rounded lamp if you attach two sheets of paper and make 32 segments instead of 16. Pic/Shadab Khan

According to Japanese folklore, a crane lives for a 1,000 years; and if you fold a 1,000 origami cranes in a year, you'll be granted a wish. Today, this age-old craft is no longer child's play. It's a clever tool used across art, science, technology, space exploration, architecture and even fashion. For Mumbai-based origami artiste, Himanshu Agrawal, it's been a lifelong hobby of patience and discovery. "On my 10th birthday, my uncle gave me a book on paper airplanes. I started to like how paper behaved, and when I discovered there were 25 different designs that could all be made from a single sheet of paper, it excited me!" he reminisces, adding, "I would keep folding over and again, though, funnily, I didn't even know it was called origami back then. It's been 31 years since."'

Agrawal, who made it to The Limca National Record in 2011 for constructing the tallest origami dinosaur at 30 feet (took three days to complete in an airplane hangar), his career has seen him making paper sculptures for Hermès, Lacoste, MTV, Lexus and Audi, along with showcasing installations at art shows, embassies and educational institutions. "I'm always curious with how far we can go with paper. The first sculpture I made was a 20-foot-tall giraffe in 2009 in IIT Mumbai for the Techfest, to give the students an idea of how things can be folded, ways to get the right proportions and hide the paper so that only the parts you want to see are visible. It's similar to making a blueprint on paper." Agrawal says, pursuing origami is similar to taking up a musical instrument—when someone plays, they make it look effortless, but in reality, it takes a long time and discipline to learn.

Today, techniques of origami are being researched and applied in various industries. From finding the quickest and safest way to deploying an airbag in cars to developing solar sails with the thinnest materials that fit compactly to send to space by NASA, origami was even used by celebrated Japanese designer Issey Miyake in 2010 to create a line of sustainable clothes. In medicine, scientists are delving into the folds of DNA and researching if a replacement or change in folds could possibly cure diseases.
Psychologically, the benefits of folding paper are many. "Because of the rise in technology, children today don't use their hands as much as they should. Origami requires you to use both hands in perfect sync, which develops great hand-eye coordination while also teaching the art of patience," says Agrawal, adding, "It also gives you a sense of cheer and achievement in an otherwise drab world."

From making a dragon with over 4,400 intricate scales over a period of five days to being asked to make a lifelike bust of a human head, this origamist has seen it all. Today, he is showing Sunday mid-day ways to make the newspaper they have created, and one you hold in your hands, into three innovative festive pieces you can use to celebrate Diwali. Whether you use this as a way to engage your child, have a competition with a friend, create a conversation starter, or take a break from work, we hope you enjoy spending your Diwali with Sunday mid-day.

Lantern

Lantern

Lantern

Fold a double sheet to create 16 equal vertical segments
Fold a double sheet to create 16 equal vertical segments

Collapse the pleats
Collapse the pleats

Fold the lower edge perpendicular to the pleated rectangle. Unfold
Fold the lower edge perpendicular to the pleated rectangle. Unfold

Identify the zig-zag pre-crease made in the previous step and refold as shown

Identify the zig-zag pre-crease made in the previous step and refold as shown
Identify the zig-zag pre-crease made in the previous step and refold as shown

Overlap segments 1 and 2 over segments 15 and 16 and glue it together

Overlap segments 1 and 2 over segments 15 and 16 and glue it together
Overlap segments 1 and 2 over segments 15 and 16 and glue it together

What the result should look like
What the result should look like

Saddble Box

Fold in half lengthwise
Fold in half lengthwise

Fold all corners to the center
Fold all corners to the center

Fold the outside edges to the center
Fold the outside edges to the center

Fold in the 2 triangular points
Fold in the 2 triangular points

Turn over and fold the edges to the center to create a pleat

Turn over and fold the edges to the center to create a pleat
Turn over and fold the edges to the center to create a pleat

Unfold the corner and fold in the edges to make folds parallel to the center crease
Unfold the corner and fold in the edges to make folds parallel to the center crease

This is what the result should look like
This is what the result should look like

This is a 3D step. Unfold the parallel edge from the point indicated (see right thumb). The result would be a cuboid corner. Repeat for all corners

This is a 3D step. Unfold the parallel edge from the point indicated (see right thumb). The result would be a cuboid corner. Repeat for all corners
This is a 3D step. Unfold the parallel edge from the point indicated (see right thumb). The result would be a cuboid corner. Repeat for all corners

Lock the model by refolding triangular flaps over the cuboid corners

Lock the model by refolding triangular flaps over the cuboid corners
Lock the model by refolding triangular flaps over the cuboid corners

Fold the corners of the outer rectangle to the center crease on the other side
Fold the corners of the outer rectangle to the center crease on the other side

The finished saddle-box can hold sweets or biscuits
The finished saddle-box can hold sweets or biscuits

PRO TIP
Take your time to be precise with folds and creases.
Use tools such as a ruler to make folds sharper.
Holding ends together with glue or tape is not cheating.
Patience is a virtue. If you're stuck, try again with a fresh sheet. Save your mistakes - it will help the next time around

Streamer

This design could be folded from any rectangle. For this demo, we are using 1/4th of a double sheet

This design could be folded from any rectangle. For this demo, we are using 1/4th of a double sheet
This design could be folded from any rectangle. For this demo, we are using 1/4th of a double sheet

Fold the top-left corner down to align with the right-hand edge
Fold the top-left corner down to align with the right-hand edge

Turn over and fold the remaining strip of paper over the folded corner
Turn over and fold the remaining strip of paper over the folded corner

Repeat the previous 2 steps along the entire length of the rectangle
Repeat the previous 2 steps along the entire length of the rectangle

The result should look like zigzag line
The result should look like zigzag line

Repeat the process beginning with the top-right corner this time to create a mirrored zigzag line
Repeat the process beginning with the top-right corner this time to create a mirrored zigzag line

Make horizontal creases across the intersection points of the two zigzag lines. Unfold

Make horizontal creases across the intersection points of the two zigzag lines. Unfold
Make horizontal creases across the intersection points of the two zigzag lines. Unfold

Fold the top two corners down to meet the first intersection point
Fold the top two corners down to meet the first intersection point

Fold the resulting triangular corner down using creases made in previous steps. The resulting shape looks like a rotated square/diamond
Fold the resulting triangular corner down using creases made in previous steps. The resulting shape looks like a rotated square/diamond

Turn over and repeat the previous step for the remaining intersection points along the strip
Turn over and repeat the previous step for the remaining intersection points along the strip

Stretch open the finished streamer
Stretch open the finished streamer

Did you know?

A sheet used for origami isn't always paper. It could be a flat sheet of metal, fibre, leather or anything that can be folded

Watch the video to see Himanshu Agrawal’s step-by-step guide to making the lantern, tray and streamer

Here's another one:

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