It’s the first day of December, so it is time for the third annual Byopia Press Advent Calendar. This year the theme is “square”. There will be paper things and bookish things and a little food. There will be some re-visiting of past posts but a lot of new things too.
And now it begins.
Most origami instruction books start with how to make a square piece of paper from a rectangular one.
If you have tried this method and been unsuccessful, it’s because the rectangular piece of paper you started with does not have right-angle (90°) corners.
Before folding your paper and cutting it to make a square, you need to make sure that the corners 0f your rectangular sheet are square. There are tools for doing that. My least favourite is the protractor.
I find protractors too small to be accurate. If you are cutting a large piece of paper, a minuscule error in reading the protractor becomes magnified. I don’t recommend it.
A set square is better.
The plastic ones are sometimes useful since you can see through them, but it you want to use one as a cutting guide, the steel ones are better. You can trim your rectangle using a steel set square, then fold and cut your square following the traditional directions.
You can also use a T-square, if you happen to have one.
You can use this to draw a square and cut it out: handy if you don’t want a diagonal fold in your paper.
A traditional carpenter’s square can also be used to draw a square or to trim a rectangular piece of paper, but they are large and heavy. The Japanese version is smaller and lighter weight.
(I am fortunate to have found one of these lying in the road.)
Of course, you may not have any of these lying around. What to do?
If you have a compass and a straight-edge or ruler, you can construct a right angle. You will find step-by-step instructions here.
If you can’t even lay your hands on a compass, but do have a printer, download and print a large circle.
Carefully cut out the circle and fold it exactly in half, creasing the fold firmly.
Cut along the fold line.
Take one of the resulting pieces and fold it in half, matching the edges precisely.
The result should give you a perfect right angle for checking your paper before trying to make squares. You will need some squares when the Advent project instructions begin in earnest tomorrow.