origami · Rubber Band Books · Uncategorized

Origami Lantern

I came across a video tutorial for this lantern, made it, then posted it on my Twitter account, @PaulaKrieg. Folks there showed such interest in it that I thought it would be good to post here as well.

Also, I am writing this post as an experiment, as I am attempting to write this using just my phone.

Here’s one of the tricky parts of doing post by mobile: trying to add this link to the SonobeCubeLamp tutorial. When I get back to my home computer in a couple of days I will fix that link if it doesn’t work.

If you try making this lamp, here’s a tip for assembling the modular origami units:think of the pieces joining together by creating tension, in other words, notice how when one corner slips under a joining unit then the other corner goes over an opposing joining unit.

Have fun folding!

Rubber Band Books · simple book binding

The Humongous Rubber Band Book

A bounty of books
Eight Humongous Rubber Band Books, showing off their colorful spines

The sixth grade English teacher in this school likes the idea of each of her students making a book that they can use as (her words) a memory catcher. Writing, pictures, and ephemera will go into these books. The design challenge is that I can’t count on having more than 40 minutes to work with the students. I want them to end up with something large, sturdy, and I want them to enjoy making it.

Setting out the Papers
Setting out the Papers

On my day with these sixth graders, they walked in the library, saw the colorful papers and were immediately delighted. “Do we get to do this today?!” They were all so happy! My papers here are tabloid size, 11″ x 17″ 67lb papers (which, by the way, are getting more expensive and harder to source every time I look).

Choosing papers
Choosing papers

Each student chooses eight papers. We have plenty of space to work. It’s interesting to notice how each student chooses to arrange their stash.

setting out papers
Getting ready to work

Some students choose to work alone and spread their papers out all out in front of them

Getting ready to work
Getting ready to work

Other students work two, three or four to a table and have to stack their papers.

Next step is to fold the papers then nest them together in groups of two.


I’ve worked with these students many times before, and they are all have expert paper-folding skills.


The trick to accurate paper-folding is to hold the paper with one hand, then slide the other hand towards the curl.

foldingThese students have been using my bone folders just about every year they’ve been in school. If I forget to hand them out they will ask for them. In schools I refer to them “folding tools” to avoid  vegetarian discussions. If the fact that they are made of bone comes up, I advise vegetarians not to eat them.

These papers will  get nested together in groups of two.
These papers will get nested together in groups of two.

The students end up with four groups of two folded papers. This grouping is completely non-intuitive: students want to nest them all together, one inside of the other, and wrap one rubber band around the spine and be done. In fact, the book would work just fine that way, but I’m here to show them something different, and, arguably, better. By asking them to make four groups of paper they will end up with a thicker, and much cooler looking book spine, one which shows off some of the colors in the book.

Snips off the top and bottom of the spine edge of the paper
Snips off the top and bottom of the spine edge of the paper

Once the pages are grouped together, there’s one more step before the assembly starts. The corners of the tops and bottoms of the folds are snipped off. These snips create valleys that the rubber bands will settle into.

Attaching nested groups of paper
Attaching nested groups of paper

Two groupings of papers are set next to each other side-by-side, opened in the middle. The rubber band slides over the four adjacent pages, binding the page groupings together.  I use  Quill Brand Rubber Bands, 7Lx1/8″W which are humongous in just the right way. Smaller rubber bands will actually work for this, but the tighter the rubber band stretches, the sooner it will rot and break. I want these books to stay together for a good long time.

Attaching signatures together
Binding together two groupings of papers, with the rubber band

On goes the rubber band! This is done until all four sections are linked, in sequence, one group right next to each other. This book can be made to be just about any number of pages long.

Book made with humongous rubber bands
Book made with humongous rubber bands

It’s a good idea to decorate the cover of this book right away, as the flexible nature of the spine can make it tricky to figure out which page is the front once it’s been opened and looked through. Students make pockets to go on the front and back covers, to store items that will be eventually attached into the books. I’ve been making these books with this school’s sixth graders for a number of years, but I don’t get to see them finished. Students, however, will joyfully tell me about them, and they will also tell me, oh I remember when my brother made these! From what I understand, they hold a plethora of memories.

8 1/2" x 11" Book Making · How-to · Making books with elementary students · Rubber Band Books · simple book binding

Jelly Bean Books

I recently received this comment on one of my blog pages:

“Hi Paula
I have come across a copy of an article Jelly Bean Books by you, which looks like its been published in a magazine. Unfortunately, I only have step 1, and steps 5 and 6, so cant quite work out how you get the book folded and utilise all the lines you make in step one. Would you consider sending me a link to the instructions for these little books please? I love papercraft, specifically book binding and card making, and collect any new ideas I find.
I look forward to hearing back from you
many thanks

My Jelly Bean Book instructions were written up for a book Making Books and Journals, published by Lark Books 1999. Constance E. Richards collected projects for this book from eleven different book artists. It’s a charming book, full of fine projects, well presented. Constance had asked me to come up with some simple book making projects. Since the request came close to Easter, and since the books are meant to be small and colorful, I called them Jelly Bean Books.

Something about them being small invites playfulness. I make them using all sorts of papers, with snippets of decorations.

Decorating the inside is fun too,.

Template for Jelly Bean book
Print out this template, then copy it on your printer at 115%

Here’s template for making the cover of the Jelly Bean Books. Start with a strip of paper 2 inches x 9 1/2 inches. Score sections according to the template. Fold and glue the two shorter sections together. Fold in the corners of the end of the other side of the paper to make a point.

For the pages, fold and nest four pieces of paper that are either 4 1/4 or 4 3/4 inches. Attach them to the spine of the book (refer to pictures). Attach in with sewing, wrapping or rubberbanding. Cut a slit into into the folded pieces for the pointed end to slip into.

The Making Books and Journals, book was published over ten years ago and can bought, used, for nearly nothing . This being the case, I am going to assume that it’s okay for me to scan the pages for of the book for Bronwyn to print. Here are links to the First Page and the Second Page of the directions published by Lark. These directions are more thorough than what I have written here.

I want to mention that it looks to me, from her email address, that Bronwyn is from New Zealand,. This fact inspired me to take the time to scan in these pages as I am smitten by the fact that the internet allows people from all across the world to easily connect with each other.

And, surpirise, surprise, whilen searching for a used book supplier for Bronwyn, I found this site in New Zealand which announces that this book is going to be republished in March 2011. I couldn’t find a thing about the republishing of this book on Lark’s website, but Amazon‘s site also has the same announcement. If Amazon says it, I guess it must be true….

How-to · Making Books with children · Making books with elementary students · moving parts · Rubber Band Books

Folder Book for Making Books about Countries

This post is about giving anyone who is interested the specs on how to make the Countries Folder Book that I wrote about in my last post, Making Books about Countries for Third Graders.

This book has many different pieces to it, which makes it a dynamic project, but requires that the teacher has a good grasp of many techniques. I’m supplying as many tutorial links as I can to help the ambitious tutor through this ambitious adventure.

I use a cover weight paper for this book. The size is important: 17 1/2″ x 23″, so that when it is folded in fourths, as in the illustration above, the inner pocket is big enough to store full size sheets of paper. These papers are the students raw notes, which they refer to when they are making their little books.

On the upper left side of the folder there is a color copy of Brazil’s paper money, attached to the page on a paper spring

Lower on the page is a little rubber band pamphlet book. This one was made from half sheets of copy paper, folded in half, nested together, then held together on the spine with a #19 rubber band. There are some lovely examples of these in the previous post so be sure to take a look.

The pamphlet book is stored in an origami pocket.

There is a 3″ x 6″ heavyweight paper “hook” in the middle of the right side of this folder. Take a look at the drawing to see the hook: in the photograph it is hidden behind the book. This heavy weight strip of paper is only partially glued down. The upper third is not glued down: a book hangs by its rubber band spine on the hook.

The book on the hook is made of two sheets of paper folded together so that its pages reveal the pages below. They are bound together with a .#19 rubber band. This is often refered to as a graduated page book.

Here are some great examples of some of the graduated page books made by these talented third graders.

These pages were made from regular copy paper, cut in half. Notice that we photocopied lines on to the pages.

The energy in this child’s writing and drawings makes clear his enthusiasm for this project.

The drawings on these were made from the backs of cut up pieces of filing cards.

The last thing I want to write about is the flag and the v-shaped pop-up that it is attached to. First, the flag.
What I generally like to do with flags is to provide the students with colored paper with which they “build” the flags. For Brazil this meant cutting a green rectangle, a yellow parallelogram and color copy of the center of the flag. Most flags can be “built” fairly easily with colored paper (the USA flag is the great exception!). The Canadian flag can be tricky: I provide the color strips, and an outline of the central leaf, which students color in.

Next time I do this project I probably won’t use the v-shaped pop-up, Instead, I think I would try a simpler square. You’ll have to search out your own directions for this one!