Something my boys and I like to do is fold paper. Not even fancy paper folding like origami, just regular folds on paper. It’s calming, it we get to talk about math properties like shapes (how many triangles can we fold from a square?); fractions (how many times can we fold a piece of paper like a fan?); symmetry (unfold the paper, does it look the same on both sides?). That’s not to say, we don’t enjoy our fancy origami as well! 🙂
Mother’s Day in the States is coming up in a couple of weeks, and the boys and I wanted to make something to give to my mom (their Ba Ngoai). She loves flowers, but I wanted to give her something a little more permanent than just a bouquet of cut flowers. I came across kusudama balls a couple of years ago and thought this would be a great project for us to make to give to her. The folding is simple enough for the boys to do, and since there is a LOT of folding involved to make the finished project, it would be something from all of us. You can just make the paper flowers as well, they are also quite beautiful by themselves. The entire tutorial is detailed below in the post.
What You’ll Need (for the Kusudama Ball):
- 60 squares of paper (I use 3″ x 3″, simply because it was easy to cut out 4 of them from a 12″x12″ piece of scrapbook paper)
- **NOTE** this 60 squares is for the 5 petal flower version. if you want 6 petals, plan accordingly with 72 pieces of paper
- craft glue or glue dots (if you’re working with kids, I highly recommend glue dots)
- clothes pins (if you are working with craft glue, to hold the petals closed while gluing)
- string, twine, ribbon, etc. to hold up the finished ball
- **optional** beads, bells, trinket for bottom of ball
Here is a completed, five petal flower made of paper. Isn’t it so pretty? The boys actually helped make all the petals for me.
The tutorial is in two parts, the blue and the green. The previous/start is in blue, and the explaining fold is in green.
First, you’re going to fold your square paper diagonally in half, to make a triangle.
Keep the triangle base at the bottom. Then, from the middle, fold the outside right and left points up (to make a diamond shape).
Then, take the right and left points you just folded up, and fold it halfway out. (see my dotted line and arrow?) You make little wings, basically.
Next, open and flatten, or squash out your wings. I included a picture of what it looks like from the other side.
There are two variations on this next part.
Next, take the little flap and fold it down even with the edge. You can either (LEFT SIDE OF PICTURE) fold it outside. This will show the contrasting color and produce 3 petals on the inside. You can also (RIGHT SIDE OF PICTURE/BIG PICTURE) fold it inside. This will not show the contrasting color and produce 1 petal on the inside.
Then, fold the inside wings together, curve to make the petal, and glue. The easiest with kids is to stick a glue dot on it, but you can also use glue and clothespins to hold it shut.
Here are the differences in the petal variations.
The finished flowers! If you want alternating petal colors, you’re going to need six petals on your flower (see flower on right). Otherwise, five petals are fine (see flower on left).
These are really easy to make. Here are some made from scrapbook paper done by my preschooler and older son. I did the gluing of the petals together, while they folded the petals. You can see the petals aren’t quite symmetrical, but it’s still beautiful.
To make the kusudama ball, you’ll need 12 flowers total, six for each side.
To hang the ball, I used twine. I put wooden beads at the bottom of it to make it look pretty.
The underside of half of the ball, with the twine glued into place.
Then, glue both sides together. Ta-dah! I think it looks like a happy, flowery, sun. The boys are VERY excited to give it to Ba Ngoai!
This post is shared with:
Looking for other great Mother’s Day ideas, or have your own? Submit them at NerdWallet.com and their Mother’s Day contest!
Say G’Day – I love this link up party! 🙂