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Budget Crafts – Origami & Kirigami Christmas OrnamentsCompiled by Vicki McClure Davidson
Origami, the ancient Japanese art of paper folding, can be inexpensive for Christmas tree ornaments or for year-round gift decorating. This creation of intricate designs and figures with a piece of folded paper is fascinating.
Kirigami is a variation of origami where the artist is allowed to make small cuts in the paper (from the Japanese words "kiru" = to cut, and "kami" = paper). This cutting enables the artist to enhance the visual presentation of the artwork, at the expense of simplicity. In origami, papercutting is frowned upon by the majority of modern folders, as techniques have advanced enough to make cutting unnecessary for a skilled folder. However, for the unskilled folder, it permits for many complicated designs to be made more easily.
Origami and kirigami are terrific, low-cost creative arts and crafts activities for homeschoolers, Girl or Boy Scouts, Sunday School classes, day care kids, or other youth groups, in addition to senior retirement groups and your own children or grandchildren. Even very young children, with some assistance, can tackle simpler origami projects.
You can invest in authentic origami paper for top-notch ornaments or you can use recycled scraps you have laying about the house for thriftier projects. Get creative. It's your call on how much you want to invest in materials for your origami/kirigami Christmas ornaments.
We have five cool origami/kirigami video demonstrations embedded below, showing different projects at different skill levels. Directly below are brief descriptions and difficulty levels of the video demos (scroll down past the descriptions for the videos).
1st Video: How to make a three-dimensional Christmas star is demonstrated in the first video below. This detailed instructional video was posted on YouTube by user barbabellaatje in November 2008. This isn't an easy project, but it is so beautiful when done, we think it's worth the extra effort. The finished stars can be suspended from the ceiling, from the Christmas tree, scattered on a table with other ornaments, or a few placed in a crystal bowl with a few colored balls.
If you or your children are new to origami, this project may be too complicated for you all to tackle right off the bat. It's recommended that you start with simpler designs and with practice, move up the ranks of more intricate origami techniques. The end result of this 3-D Christmas star is exquisite. The dimensions of the paper are not important, provided the paper used is a perfect square (8 inches x 8 inches, 12 inches x 12 inches, and so on). The larger the sheet of paper, the easier it will be to make. The pre-crease segment at the beginning of the video goes extremely fast, so you may need to watch it a few times.
2nd Video: The second ornament video, that of a kirigami Christmas wreath, is much easier to make and could be tackled successfully by older children. The Christmas wreath instructional video was posted by YouTube user shaleesdiner in November 2008. While listed on YouTube as origami, this is unquestionably kirigami, as true origami does not permit the use of glue or cutting. We thought this wreath was cute, and could be a crafty diversion for kids on car rides.
3rd Video: The third video doesn't demonstrate how to make a typical holiday ornament. We thought these small origami butterflies were so lovely and would make unique Christmas ornaments. Super-simple to make and very kid-friendly, not only could they be put on the Christmas tree, but a few could adorn Christmas packages with some ribbon for a unique gift-wrap idea. The instructional video was posted by Sara Adams in July 2007. She has an incredible website at www.happyfolding.com with more easy-to-follow origami ideas and instructions. Sara's video presentation is excellent and these butterflies could be created by even younger children with supervision. We also love her accent!
4th Video: The fourth ornament video demonstrates how to make retro-inspired paper or card stock Christmas ornaments using leftover strips of paper. The instructional video was posted on YouTube in December 2007 by The Paper Studio (www.paperstudio.com). We love this one because it most readily fits into the recycling endeavors we strive to follow by using up paper scraps.
5th Video: The fifth ornament video is similar to the first, in that it shows how to make a three-dimensional Christmas star. This one is more of a kirigami because glue, tape, and a bit of cutting are involved. The end result, though, is quite remarkable. As in the fourth video, this one uses recycled materials: gift wrap paper, cardboard, and ribbon. It was created by Shiho Masuda, whose Shiho's Green Studio blog has more information on this and other eco-minded crafts. There is text instruction that accompanies the video on her blog. In this video, Shiho uses leftover red-and-gold wrapping paper, but as she explains on her site, you can also use newspaper, magazine pages, or any kind of scrap papers lying around the house. On her site, she has photos of other Christmas stars she made using different materials. I love the music playing in the video demo, which is "Tokyo Traffic" by Dave Brubeck.
How to Make a 3-D Origami Christmas Star
How to Make a Kirigami Christmas Wreath
How to Make Origami Butterfly Ornaments
How to Make Retro-Inspired Paper Christmas Ornaments
How to Make 3-D Christmas Star Ornament with Recycled Materials
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Video embeds (YouTube) provided here for review purposes only. All copyrights honored and attributed to producers.