Paper crafts: How to make a Kusudama

Kusudama are origami flower balls – technically they don’t need to be flowers but any polygonal orgami model, but traditionally these balls were made from actual flowers. The flowers used were medicinal herbs, hence the name kusudama, which is a portmanteau of kusuri (medicine) and dama (ball). Over time, people began making models of these balls in origami, as good luck charms or decorative gifts.
As you can probably tell from the fact that I’m posting 10 hours late, kusudama can be quite a labour of love. The one I will show you today has 40 individual flowers. The classic sakura model you may have seen in many places online takes 60 units, which are built up into flowers before being tied or glued together. If you enjoy paperfolding, however, making these elegant structures is a very relaxing pastime.
 Paper crafts: How to make a Kusudama

To make this type of kusudama you’ll need:
  • 40 squares of paper – this design shows both sides of the paper, so I used double-sided origami paper.
  • needle and thread
  • string or ribbon for hanging and optional tassel
  • patience!
The flower shown here can seem really fiddly at first, but once you’ve done one or two and got a feel for how they fold together, you’ll find them much easier.
The first part is to precrease the paper so the flower folds together easily.
precrease kusudama flower
Make a diagonal fold across the paper, and open it out. Make a second diagonal fold and open out again.
Turn the paper over and fold it in half lengthwise. open out, turn 90 degrees and fold in half again. Open out.
You can now pop and squash the paper easily into a square with triangles inside.
With the open end away from you, fold in the side corners of the square to the centre crease. Flip over and repeat on the other side.
Open out the folds and use them as lines to squash-fold into triangles – do this on all 4 sides.
Flip the folded paper so that a plain diamond shape is visible instead of the triangles. Fold in the top edges of the kite to the centre crease, then fold down the point. Repeat for the other three sides.
You should now have something which resembles a strawberry! That’s all your pre-folding done, now to open it out and refold into a flower.
Open out all the folds, and pop the paper inside out. Now to refold all the corners. Use the pre-creases to fold the sides behind one corner. Re-fold the top edges to the centre crease and the point downward, following the precrease folds as they are. The first and second corners will be easier, the third and especially the fourth might be a little trickier. Just remember that the sides to each corner go backward, and it’ll start to make sense – I hope! (I’m writing these instructions at 4am my time, so I hope they *do* make sense!!)
Use the exact same process to fold 40 flowers. Now take a needle and thread, and string the flowers into 4 circles of 10 flowers each, by passing the needle through the very tip of each flower base.
Cut two lengths of thread and cross them. Stack the circles on top, and bring the thread up between the flowers. Tie your hanging string or ribbon into a loop and string it onto two of the threads. Tie all the threads together tightly in a square knot, shuffling the flowers rond as necessary, and trim off the loose ends.


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