You Are Entering Another Dimension

When I started making the more complicated kirigami “cut paper” creations for my last blog, I vowed to make more of the challenging 3-dimensional projects in some of my books. How hard could it be?

Well, it turns out there’s a reason I didn’t go into architecture. Precision and measuring and all that are not really my strong suit! I have never made anything quite this complicated before. But I did use some better tools: a small, sharp pair of scissors with tapered ends for cutting paper that I got from my local Michael’s craft store, and an X-Acto knife.

The first 3-D project I tried was from the most intimidating kirigami book I bought, one which did not come with a lot of pre-made patterns to use for cutting.

Kirigami book

You either have to copy or trace the patterns in the book, partially by scoring the ends of the lines with pins into card stock or heavy paper. This first one I made using just scissors, so the cutting wasn’t all that precise. This project was like a “practice” assignment for getting used to how to do these types of cut-out or pop-up designs. It really made me appreciate the thought that goes into your average pop-up card!

There’s always a lot of folding involved in these kirigami projects too, and I often got mixed up with what the indicators are for “mountain folds” (peak up) versus “valley folds” (peak down). It’s pretty hard to tell from here what you’re supposed to end up with.

Part of the challenge also came with gluing colored paper on for the backing. but then it turned out to look pretty cool, like a mini pop-up book!

Then, from the same book, I decided to try the “waves” pattern using my X-Acto knife. The instructions didn’t look TOO intimidating, compared to many of the later projects.

First I traced the picture from an enlarged copy from the book.

It turns out that using an X-Acto knife isn’t as easy as it looks. I found it hard to control the knife, especially at first, and the paper I was using wasn’t very rigid, which probably made it more difficult. The paper would response to the knife erratically, making for less than smooth lines. In the end it was getting the folds right at the ends of each strip that was especially tricky, and getting the overall piece to work well with the colored backing paper. The instructions weren’t elementary enough for me, but I figured it out as I went along!

Here’s a view from the top

Paper crafts

Might have looked better using blue paper instead of white

The last 3-D project that I chose for my kirigami journey was to make a mobile of concentric circles from this book.

books about kirigami

The pattern didn’t look too terribly difficult (really?), so I decided to copy it by hand, larger, which may have been a mistake. I could seriously use a precision drawing class (or a protractor?).

Then I cut the lines with the X-Acto knife — again, not perfectly — and the toughest part was getting the folds right and twisting the inner parts of the circles so that the mobile would turn out right.

A couple of different angles here — this one would definitely look better with colored paper. Thanks to my boyfriend Jacques for holding it up for me so I could get a picture!

I would like to take the time to make more of these types of projects. There were good templates in the books that I bought for things like pop-up holiday cards and decorations, so I may be tempted to give them another try for gift-giving in the future.

Meanwhile, I will be taking the rest of January off from blogging, as I have a lot of music to practice for an upcoming gig playing the drums, so I’ll catch up with you for my next creative adventure in February!