Five Seconds, Less than a Cent: The Origami Bookmark

The third largest category in my home library, right behind cookbooks and the Complete Works of Georgette Heyer, is Origami instructionals. This makes sense given that:

1) I’ve never met a piece of paper I didn’t like, except for a bill or a will.

2)I love the elegance of Japanese art and craft.

3) It can be free. At my last job I folded cranes from Excel spreadsheets, florescent pink flyers advertising the upcoming Blood Drive, Post-it notes, wrapping paper from the Secret Santa prezzies, and the sports pages of the Sun-Times. I tacked the cranes to the walls of my cubicle , and before I left  I might not have had a thousand cranes fluttering on the grey fabric walls, but I had a couple of hundred.

4)I find it relaxing, even when I’m baflled by a new model. In fact, when I returned from work I’d take a fifteen minute origami break just to wind down. Folding requires concentration and accuracy.

5)I like to make things.

I should note that I’m no origami ninja: that would be my cousin Kent. I don’t even try to emulate his skill. Check out this 3-D beauty he gave me for Christmas last year:

I don’t aspire to that kind of craft, and that kind of patience.

I can see eyes rolling in the blogosphere. “Maggie’s nuts. An origami bookmark? Isn’t that gilding the subscription card from The New Yorker which would work just as well?” Nope, it wouldn’t. Can that card hold together the pages of your tax return when you’re out of paperclips? (Yeah, that IRS person must have wondered about us last year.) Can that card double as photo corners? Hah!

This model is so simple, so elegant and so cheap that it — honest! — makes me cheerful every time I make one. I hope my instructions and my less than professional pix will inspire you.

Step 1:

This is a 2 inch sqaure of paper, colored side down. Doesn’t get easier than that.

Step 1: Fold up the paper in half on the diagonal.

Step 2: Unfold the top layer only and press the point down to the halfway point on the diagonal.

Step 3: Fold up the right hand colored triangle to form two sides of a square.

Step 4: Repeat Step 3 on the left side. Can you see the little pocket underneath the green flaps?

Step 5: Tuck the green points inside the pocket.

Here’s your bookmark!

(This is a modern model from Master Folder Michael Lafosse, whose brilliant origami animal designs are still difficult for me.)

I’m going to fold me another one. Hmmm…. maybe I should make a corner for every cookbook I own? Nah, better clean the bathroom; not every action on a Saturday can be cheerful. But elbow grease comes free.



Filed under Free, Paper

3 responses to “Five Seconds, Less than a Cent: The Origami Bookmark

  1. What serene fun! Years ago, we used to watch a fifteen-minute program on PBS, in which a young married couple “did” origami. He spoke each fold, each turn, in this melodious voice, whilst her graceful hands turned the paper, lightly swayed across and fingertipped the spot which the corner of the new fold would touch, then folded, turned, touched again, until the form took shape. It was like watching a waterless tea ceremony.

    I dutifully sat with my sheet of typing paper, cutting off the extra inch or two, since all theirs began square, and finally made a creditable crane, a recognizable turtle.

    The most fun was the morning of a winter dinner party for perhaps a hundred—the theme was “Winter Winds” and I sat on the floor at the club with two young women and folded three penguins per table, in three different sizes. The little chests were even of white paper, and I don’t remember how on earth THAT worked.

    I’d love to watch you work sometime—I know it’s restful and beautiful.

  2. freakyfrites

    Cool! This is easy enough that 1. I can do it 2. I can remember it and 3. teach it to my friends!

    Thanks for the lesson – the photos were perfect!

  3. This is an awesome article, Ill be adding you to my list.

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