Byopia Press Advent Calendar 2019: Day Twelve and a Modular Origami Wreath

I’ve done it again —invented something that already exists. In the case of the Shrigley binding, I invented something that had a previous inventor. This origami wreath, on the other hand, can be found in many places with both photo and video tutorials.

I started by thinking about the units for the money-fold star that I posted in my star-themed 2017 Byopia Press Advent Calendar.

Those units are made from rectangles. I wondered if I could start with a square and produce something similar. The unit I made had no obvious insertion points for the ‘legs’ until I realised that I could fold it in half, making the pockets on front and back accessible.

Having created a unit design, I tried out different papers. I started with 10 cm/4 in squares of shiny Christmas wrapping paper. (Do not try this at home!) I couldn’t get things to stay in place, and any kind of clamp (clothespin, bulldog clip) marked the paper. I couldn’t glue things as I went because I needed to have the wreath assembled before pushing it into its final, circular shape. Don’t go there.

Next I tried card stock. I don’t really recommend this either. Folding the card stock was brutal. I used 20 cm/8 in squares and gave up after making twelve units. The wreath works with twelve units but requires lot of fiddling to spread the units evenly, and it requires glue to keep all the units in place.

The first successful wreath was the one shown at the top of the post. It was folded from heavy brown wrapping paper and green Indian starch-coated cotton paper. The latter was heavier than ideal, but functioned when used for every third unit. The finished wreath measures 26 cm/10.25 in across.

The best wreath, shown below, was folded from 90gsm/24# copier paper. I made it from 10 cm/4 in squares in just over an hour while watching a movie. Like the brown and green version, it has eighteen units which seems to be a good number for things to fit tightly enough to eliminate the need for glue. The finished width is 18 cm/7 in.

Here are the steps in pictures. Don’t let the number of pictures put you off. I have shown every step, even where you are repeating a fold a second time. (David helped with the photography. This was useful, but complicated the whole process. Apparently I have trouble folding the basic unit with someone watching. I was also disoriented because I ended up looking at my hands backwards on the camera screen! There were five false starts before I finally made it all the way through on the sixth try.)

Fold your square in half vertically and open flat.

Fold horizontally, then open flat.

Fold the bottom left corner up to the centre.

Fold the bottom right corner up to the centre.

Rotate your paper 180º.

Fold the bottom edge up to the middle (base of the triangle).

Open the bottom section flat and rotate the unit 180º.

Pinch up the middle fold.

Bring the pinched fold up to the fold above it.

Press firmly.

Fold the top edge down, then flip the unit horizontally.

There are two corners on the bottom layer projecting beyond the triangle. Lift the bottom flap and fold the left corner down to match the side of the triangle.

Fold the right corner down to match the side of the triangle.

There is a mountain fold in the middle of the unit.

Fold the unit in half along the mountain fold.

To assemble the wreath, start with two units. Place the first (yellow) unit between the ‘legs’ of the second unit.

Slide the front leg of the second unit into the pocket on the front of the first unit.

Flip the unit vertically, and insert the back leg of the second unit into the pocket on the back of the first unit. You will need to bend the leg a little to accomplish this.

Slide the units together.

Repeat until your wreath is assembled.

The number of units you need to make a wreath that will stay together securely will vary with the paper used. I recommend eighteen units if you are using 90 gsm/24#.

Since I found so many sets of instructions on the web, I thought I would share the one I liked best. The following video is by Kaija of Paperiarre. She uses fewer steps to achieve the individual units, and shows the final assembly very clearly.



Here’s my brown and green wreath with a bright red ribbon added. It is currently gracing the interior porch door.

About Byopia Press

I have been working in the book arts field for more than twenty years, and operating Byopia Press with my husband David since the late 1990s. I began producing artist's books and altered books in 2004.
This entry was posted in DIY, instructions, origami, paper folding and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Byopia Press Advent Calendar 2019: Day Twelve and a Modular Origami Wreath

  1. Pingback: Boxing Day and an Index for the Byopia Press Advent Calendar 2019 | Byopia Press

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.