Saturday, September 15, 2012

Origami Lotus

I got married on a small budget.  Well, a budget that kept growing and growing, and was pretty large for me.  To make up for the cost of the food and venue, I did a lot of the decorations and favors DIY.  The centerpieces were origami lotus flowers that I saw in Chinese Origami by David Mitchell.  The book doesn't seem to be in print anymore, so here are the instructions for making a Buddhist origami lotus flower.

Photo courtesy of Lisa K. Fett
Top side of paper.
Traditionally, this is made with Hell bank notes.  It's an unfortunate name for fake money the Chinese burn to honor the dead, and "Hell" means "the afterlife."  It measures 5 7/8 inches by 3 3/8 inches.     I bought origami paper in the color I wanted and cut it to size with a heavy duty paper cutter. 

Turn the paper upside down.

Fold in half with the right side out.

Fold in half again from right to left and crease.

Unfold.  You will have a square divided into two rectangles.

Turn over from right to left.  The folded side of the paper will be facing you.

Fold the right bottom corner in toward the center.

Repeat with the left bottom corner.

Fold the resulting bottom sloping edge toward the center.

Repeat with other side.

Fold the piece in half, with the point meeting the top edge.

Press all creases well.

Turn the piece over from right to left.

Fold the little ears over the top edge.

Tuck the ears in between the layers of the top edge.

Here are the ears hiding in their pocket.

Fold the top right corner toward the middle of the left edge.  The crease will be from the top center to the bottom right corner.  Crease and unfold.

Repeat with the top left corner.

Both top corners now point toward you.

Turn the piece over from right to left.  

Unfold the front flap.

Hold the petal with the back points together.

Unfold the front flaps by lifting up the first layer and pushing the small horizontal crease outward.

Leave the bottom layer of paper laying down in the center or else the wrong side of the paper will be seen in your petal.

Repeat with the other side.

You finished a petal!  Now make a total of 27 petals.

The flowers are layers of five petals stacked together.

Insert the back flaps (the ones with the little ears folded inside) into the side pockets of two more petals.

Think of this step as a bridge between the petals.

This probably breaks the cardinal origami rule, but I glued the flaps into the pockets for each petal.  I wanted the flowers to be transported to the reception and arranged quickly on the tables.

Move around the circle stacking petals in between the two petals below.

Continue stacking until you have three rows of five petals.  Finish by placing two petals facing each other into the center of the top layer.

 With a little help from friends, I made over 600 petals and 36 lotus flowers.  It took months, but was so worth it!
Photo courtesy of Lisa K. Fett
You can also stack more than three rows of petals and make a larger flower.  Or, try a HUGE lotus with rows of 10 petals.  If you try one, I'd love to know how it turns out.

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