Since I’m currently working on folding a multi-piece model, I decided to post some photos in progress to show how the design and folding process all come together. This piece will essentially be a continuation of my Intersections series from last spring. The design process started in November with a sketch of a possible top view of a model. I sketched quite a few other ideas that day, including a few I’ve already folded and some I’m still planning to fold.
Since I’ve folded quite a few pieces in this series already, I essentially knew from the time I started sketching how I would approach folding these pieces. The one part I needed to double-check was folding the concave 90-degree turn in the middle two pieces. I did a test-fold from a post-it note to make sure I knew how much extra paper I needed to make the turn.
After that, it was time to start actually designing. I made a detailed sketch and worked out all the math so I could cut the paper into the correct size rectangles. If you look closely, you’ll see that I use a combination of inches and centimeters. Perhaps surprisingly, that actually simplifies some of the math compared to just using one set of units. I can calculate most of the dimensions using the same sort of math I explained in my tutorial on designing curved-crease models.
Here are the primary tools I use: a ruler (I actually have five rulers of different lengths and use all of them on a regular basis), a sharp tool for scoring the paper, a cardstock template that I use to score the curved folds (I cut a new template for each model), and a ball of used tape (this is how much tape I’ve gone through since mid-December).
I decided to fold the tallest piece from my design first and started scoring the straight folds and folding along the scored lines.
The base folded exactly how I had planned and how I’ve folded many similar designs.
However, I ran into problems when I got to the top half of the vase. I had forgotten that having the top of the vase flare out would require extra paper, so there wasn’t enough paper there to make things work correctly. Since I added extra creases trying to figure out how to fold the top, there was no way to salvage that piece of paper and turn it into a cleanly folded final piece.
So because I had to start over with the folding, I decided to re-design in such a way that the vase didn’t flare out at the top. The new shape is very reminiscent of one of my first pieces in the series, folded just over a year ago. I tweaked some of the other dimensions as well. For these designs, I have to be careful that the radius never gets smaller than 1/3 of the radius at the widest point and that the radius at the base is at least 1/2 of the largest radius. Otherwise, the folding gets much more complicated.
This time, the folding worked much better. If you look closely, you can see that the piece still has a lot of tape from gluing and wet-folding; I’ll go back and remove that before taking a picture of the final design. There’s also a popsicle stick taped to the top edge to hold it straight while the paper dries.
I’ve also folded the second piece, which has an L-shape. I ran into a few problems here getting all the layers of paper to fit inside correctly near the base, but fortunately I was able to make it work with a few extra folds.
The two pieces fit together nicely. They look better standing with a small gap in between; if I try to put them too close together, the little bulges and curves in the paper become too obvious. Of course, leaving a gap was part of my original sketch. So far, I’m happy with how these pieces have turned out.
I’m working on the third piece now, and hopefully I’ll have time to fold the fourth soon. I’m looking forward to seeing how the finished piece looks!