How to Fold a Japanese Brocade

How to Fold a Japanese Brocade

Modular origami is the art of making complex designs by folding simple units together and joining them together. The Japanese brocade is very elegant, halfway between a cube and a sphere. These curves are unusual for modular origami and make the Japanese brocade rather special. This model was designed by Minako Ishibashi.

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A beautiful six piece model

You will need six squares of paper. Only one side of the squares will be visible on the final brocade. I recommend using three different colours of paper. If you do, you need two squares for each colour.

Making the units

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Step 1
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Step 2

Step One: Fold the square in half vertically like a book. The colour on the outside will be the colour that shows on the final unit. Unfold the square, and fold the top and bottom edges to the crease.

Step Two: Fold the right hand side up to the top edge. Then fold the left edge down to the bottom edge.

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Step 3
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Step 4

Step Three: Completely unfold the square. Fold all four corners towards the centre so they lie on the horizontal creases.

Step Four: Fold the top edge down to the first horizontal crease. Then fold the bottom edge up to the bottom horizontal crease.

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Step 5 in progress
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Step 5 finished

Step Five: In the centre of the paper there are two diagonal creases. Refold the right-hand crease as shown on the left. When you do, A long thin flap will stick up. Squash it flat by folding the central part to the right. Then flatten the bottom flap. The result is shown on the right.

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Step 6
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Step 7

Step Six: Repeat step five on the left-hand side. The flap you make will stick out over the bottom flap. Tuck the left flap under the bottom flap to lock it in place.

Step Seven: Turn the unit over. Create two vertical creases by folding the short edges in half. Just fold the two corners together, and let the paper unfold naturally. Your first unit is complete. Fold five more units.

Building the Japanese Brocade

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Joining two units together
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Joining three units together

To join two units together, slide the triangular flap from one unit into a pocket on the other unit. Next join a third unit to the first two units to form a pyramid. Continue adding the remaining units in this way. The final unit can be awkward as you have to connect it on all four sides. Be patient and a beautiful Japanese brocade will be yours.

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The finished Japanese brocade

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