Friday, January 25, 2013

Making templates for origami pots

 origami pot
I promised ages ago that I would show how my origami pots are made. To begin, you need to make a template. 
here are a few that I made 
 some useful items to begin
It's helpful to assemble a few basic tools as pictured above. I scrounge around for paper, on the stiffish side, to make the actual templates out of.  I have used manilla envelopes, file folders, cereal boxes, sketch pads, and such. 
Here is how to draw an oval:

Cut a length of string and tie it to form a loop. Place two push pins through the paper you intend to use.
Experiment with the placement of the pins and the length of the string loop to achieve the shape you like.
the string will stretch a bit, so go around a few times 
Using the string and the pins as shown above, draw an oval with a pencil.
 not an exact science
I'm guessing that there is some kind of formula out there to calculate dimensions, cross-referencing string length vs pin spacing, but I just go with trial and error until I am satisfied.
 cut it out
Pick a line to follow and cut out your oval. Mark the center using a ruler to measure, make a little 'x'.
fold it up
Experiment with folds, using the center to gauge distances to keep it symmetrical. On this one, I folded the long sides such that they meet in the middle and then folded the ends so that the sides would all be the same height.
Cut notches in the corners, one aligned with the side fold and one bisecting the corner. You don't need to remove the entire corner, that little extra bit of clay will help make the seam.
 tape it up
Lightly tape the corners to see how the finished shape will look. If you don't like it, make another one; you aren't really very committed yet.
it might look like this
 finished origami pot
I call this one a 'cradle' shape (for obvious reasons.)
 circle template
Another approach is to begin with a circle. I just traced around a bat that I had on hand, but you could use a compass or any other round thing. The rest of the process is the same as before: find the center, fold the sides, snip the corners.
tape it up to see what you have
I over-shot on the cuts as you can see, but it doesn't matter. Had I folded the template using the longer cuts, it would have higher sides and a smaller footprint. Experiment around to find the shape you like.
here you go
origami dish
I'll show the clay part of this process next time.

What to do when the bus doesn't come and you want to scream-> click


  1. Thanks, great tutorial, I am inspired. And maybe will use bubble wrap to texture my slab!
    Also, I am a fan of your pinterest. Thanks again for sharing...

  2. Thank you for sharing your process. The difficulty I can forsee myself having if I tried to make something similar in clay would be supporting the form while it dried. I like wobbly but would like a bit more control.
    I didn't get bitten by the bubbles - don't know what that says about me ;).

  3. Ellen~
    I am totally addicted to Pinterest. I saw one of your pieces on A Plate a Day awhile ago; congrats!

  4. Patricia~
    You will see in the next post how I handle the wet clay. There are choices that result in more wobbly or more crisp. It all depends on how much you let the clay stiffen before folding.

  5. Great post Barb. Thanks for sharing. Love the finished pots as well.

  6. Thanks for sharing this! The finished pieces are lovely.


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