Tuesday, March 30, 2010

How to Make Fabric Origami "Paper"

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I am a reforming pack rat. I used to save everything - cards, movie ticket stubs, receipts for just about everything ... but having moved as much as I did in the last 10 years I had to change my ways and start letting go of stuff. Even though we are settled into our cute little house now and plan on being here for quite a while, I am continuing to fight my pack rat tendencies to keep clutter to a minimum. But, there is one area that is resisting all reformation efforts - fabric.

I am a fabric-a-holic. I love fabric - the colors, the textures, the endless possibilities. I have boxes and boxes of fabric stashed around the house.  While I don't think that is necessarily a bad thing with usable lengths of fabric, my real problem is with scraps.  I am a compulsive scrap hoarder. I just can't seem to make myself throw them away. I hardly ever use them. I end up with garbage bags full of little fabric scraps "just in case" I need them someday. This wouldn't be much of a problem if I were a quilter, but I am not. So I came up with something else to do with my collection of scraps - making origami "paper" out of fabric scraps.

What you will need:
  • Fabric scraps (I find that 100% cotton quilting-type fabrics works best. I tend to stick to pieces that are at least 8"x8")
  • Medium weight fusible interfacing
  • Iron & ironing board
  • Pressing cloth (a thin, old t-shirt works great)
  • Rotary cutter & mat or scissors & a ruler
How to do it:

I usually start off by squaring off my scrap piece to about 9"x9", then I iron it flat.

Next I cut the interfacing to an 8"x8" square. I suggest using medium weight because heavyweight can make folding pretty difficult and lightweight doesn't hold the creases well. Following the manufacturer's instructions, iron the interfacing onto the back (or wrong side) of your fabric. (Tip: Use a pressing cloth to protect your iron from any glue residue that might seep out.  This will save you lots of time with Goo Gone down the road, trust me...)

Now, I cut down the fabric to an 8"x8" square using my rotary cutter & mat, but you can easily do this with a ruler & scissors too. (Cutting after putting the interfacing on minimizes fraying)

And there you go - Fabric Origami paper. Need some origami instructions or inspiration? Origami Club is one of my favorite sites. They have easy to follow instructions in either diagram or animation format. They also rank items by degrees of difficulty.

Playing with fabric origami is fun, but it does have some limitations. Fabric is thicker than paper, so some of the more complex pieces with lots of folds are difficult to make because the fabric is just too thick and the folds won't stay in place. I like using this with my older daughter because the things we make are a bit sturdier than their paper cousins, so they can stand up to toddler play a little bit better.

A shameless plug for my Etsy shop here - I have some of my fabric origami cranes listed and one of my Crane Dreamcatcher mobiles listed as well. So check them out if you have a chance and if you have any feedback, please let me know.

1 comment:

Amy said...

Nice! I hadn't thought of doing this which is a shame since I'm a quilter and was subjected to so many origami sessions in Japan! I might finally be able to teach my mom something about fabric if I hurry up and follow your method...

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