Pre planning

by maggie

I haven’t forgotten or abandon the projects I announced the other day. It just that’s there’s nothing interesting to look at so I thought I’d show you some preparation I’ve made for a project I am expecting to happen next year. In 2015 I started work for the V&A’s Inspired By 2016, but ran out of steam. This time I want to get a bit more of a head start, as I have more prosaic inspiration.

Prowling the less frequented corridors of that august museum I found a couple of display cases of novelty Biscuit Tins… I was particularly taken with the sample tins for individual biscuits, but the whole display was pretty impressive. I thought I might combine, print with origami to make a printed container for biscuits, as they used to back in the day. So i went searching for suitable designs.

I found this bowl and box set on David Mitchell’s site, Origami Heaven. I thought the box was promising as a novel thing to keep things in.

[All of today’s photos have lego seaweed to give an idea of scale. The lego man who hangs around the Shed seems to have bunked off for the duration.]

And then I found this bowl on legs…


left; 15cm sq.  right; 20cm sq.

Which admittedly doesn’t look anything like a biscuit tin, even a novelty one in the shape of something else, but it probably looks like something you’d find in the V&A.


this one is 30cm sq. and made from a much heavier weight paper – look at those nice taught creases.

I painted the out side of this one to see which bits were on the outside, The plan was to print a design, and crease pattern on paper and fold it into the final shape.He painting process show that both sides of the paper are visible. Do you print both sides! or can you use a process that forces the colour through the paper?

Here’s the crease pattern for David’s Bowl on Legs. The four feet are at the corners of the sheet. The lip of the bowl is formed from the centre of each edge and the base of the bowl is the middle of the sheet. The eight triangles at the quarter points are sink folds that enable the legs to fold.


oops – didn’t check for upside down writing.

This bowl reminded me of certain prehistoric Chinese bronze vessels, so I checked the V&A catalogue to see if they had any in the collection. However these Chinese vessels typically have three legs.

It is possible to make triangular origami – it’s just more frustrating. here’s the crease diagram of the tripod equivalent of David’s bowl.


The squash folds take up a lot more space in this version of the bowl [the big blue hexagons] and have two more flaps than for a square design, changing the arrangement a little. The smaller central blue hexagon indicated the base of the bowl and takes up a lot less of the total paper.

Here’s the result.


back; 34cm triangle   front 17cm triangle

You can see here that the extra paper in the sink folds changes the arrangement some what and also that the models are smaller, for the lengths of the edges of the paper. compare with photo two.

Interesting models, but perhaps not quite what I was after. This next one is a lot larger. The height of the triangle it was made from is 60cm. I leave it as an exercise to the reader to work out the approximate length of the edges.


I quite like it. well bits of it. The snakes heads, but not the pointy corners. It’s not the kind of reinterpretation of a specific object I was looking for. So back to the research, and back to the biscuit tins.


CW from seaweed: 8 sided bowl, super salt cellar [both from Robert Harbin’s Origami 2],  star box (D Andreozzii) and Paper Vase (ORC)

The Origami resource centre has lots of designs including a list of boxes and vases. As well as some of the designs above I found Verdi’s Vase. Which was collected by Phillip Shen and popularised by Verdi Adams, apparently. Here we are, a perfect biscuit tin, or barrel, or what ever.


Right: original instructions as above, lid tiny masu box. Left: ‘bulbous’ vase, similar to first but on an 8×8 grid instead of 6×6 and with the top surface corners tucked in. Front: 6×6 grid with corners tucked in and a stopper made from an upturned pyramid container (see ORC)

The back two models are made from sheets 20cm sq. and stand approx 5cm at the shoulder, the front vase is made from a 15cm sq. sheet. The stopper is made from a square 1/3 the size.

In this close up you can see that the different areas of the sheet have been coloured in. The elegance of the design comes from the inner surface, blue diagonal stripes visible between the red panels that are pressed toward the outside.

Here you can see the model disassembled and the various elements present. The blue areas in the centre of the edges make up the collar of the opening. The green areas the top surface, most of these are folded way in layers. the red panels (which haven’t come out good in this scan) are pleated around the central base during construction and then are pulled out to for the vase. The yellow triangles form a pleat between the red panels and the blue diagonal areas. uncoloured areas are safely sandwiched between layers away from prying eyes, who knows I might write scurrilous innuendos on them when I’ve decided how to decorate each of the visible areas.


Here’s the crease diagram. It shows the finished creases while hinting at the method of construction. i’ve also added some suplimentary creases to help the model settle into its final shape. The blue diagonal lines are to get the inner panel to behave.


And here’s the finished pot. this time made from a 60cm square of cranford paper, like the yellow and brown three legged monstrosity up the page. The red stopper is made from a 20cm sq. Now all I have to work out is 1) how to decorate it – a trip to the museum is in order, 2) how big can I make the printed one? how big is my paper not 60cm I fear. And what technique shall I use?

Oh here’s two photo’s off the big vase before it was inflated. Top and bottom. To 3D-ise it you pull out the pleats around the square base.


How do you think I should decorated the vase? Any suggestions.