Sunday, 1 September 2013

'Butterfly' Woodcraft Construction Kit

Woodcraft Construction Kit - Butterfly
As far as I can tell, Woodcraft Construction Kits are all manufactured in China, and then imported and packaged by a variety of different companies. You press out and fit together pre-cut pieces of plywood into a sort of 'assemble by numbers' model.  This butterfly lists itself as having been imported by The Works, and I'm guessing it's part of a new range, because I can't find this model listed anywhere on the internet.  The closest I can find is this one, which is larger (flat-pack size 23*19cm compared with 18*10cm), and has more intricate wings. 

As with other kits of this type, there are some pieces that fit together securely, and some that drop out whenever they get a chance.  In the case of the latter, I put a dab of wood glue in the joint, and it now seems to hold up OK when given gentle handling (you wouldn't want to handle these roughly anyway - the plywood isn't that strong). 

Kit used:
  • 1 'Butterfly' Woodcraft Construction Kit.  You can get Woodcraft Construction Kits from and - just not this one. 
Other tools needed (optional):
  • Wood glue, scrap paper to put glue on for easier application, a cocktail stick for applying the glue, and some tissues for removing the glue when it gets onto things that it shouldn't. 

Monday, 26 August 2013

Origami Rose Brooch

Origami Rose Brooch
A charmingly simple design that produces a stylised but recognisable rose. 

  • by Toshie Takahama
  • Diagrammed in The New Origami by Steve and Megumi Biddle. Available at or .
  • Intermediate difficulty level
Kit used:
  • 1 sheet of shaded origami paper with green at the corners and white in the middle. 

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Woven paper sphere

Woven paper sphere
Notes on making this:
  • The instructions say to use paperclips to hold it in place.  I don't need no stinkin' paperclips. 
  • It's really important to get the first couple of rows of weaving in place and tightened up before weaving the rest.  After that, you can weave loosely, and tighten up later.  I didn't do this properly the first time, and had to take it apart and redo it in order to get things lined up properly.  
  • I blame taking the sphere apart and redoing it for the creases in the top of the sphere. 
  • I ended up with cardboard that bowed out slightly in some places, and a few small gaps between strips of card.  Not sure if this was a consequence of ignoring half the instructions, or just a tensioning problem. 
  • I used light card instead of paper.  I'm not sure what (if any) difference this made. 
  • Big spheres are easier than little spheres.  My first attempt was printed on a single sheet of A4.  It got too fiddly to finish off properly, so the bottom is extremely messy.  
  • The bottom of the big sphere is visibly less neat than the top.   This wounds my pride. 
  • Because of the lack of internal cuts, this design was perfect for feeding to my CraftROBO.  (Generally line drawings and the automatic edge detection fight, as it always detects both edges of a line.  If there's a workaround, I don't know what it is.)  This was much faster than cutting by hand, and allowed me to use black card. 
  • Liquid glue is useful when finishing off the ends, as Pritt Stick is tricky as you have nothing to push against.  
  • Part of me rebels against the use of glue at all.  One day I may try adjusting the design so that the ends lock together instead.  This time I took the easy way out.  
Big sphere seen from the bottom (there are white gaps between my black card!) and little sphere seen from the top (the bottom is so bad that I'm not showing you it). 
Kit used:
  •  4 sheets of cardboard (2 black, 2 white)
Other tools needed:
  • Glue (I used both Pritt Stick and PVA glue)
  • CraftRobo or similar device (if you avoid using black card, you can use a printer and scissors instead, but this takes longer)

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Beaded Headband to Bracelet Conversion

The headband I didn't cut up
As I've got small wrists, most bracelets either annoy me by slipping down over my hand, or come from the "children's" section.  A couple of years back I bought a pair of beaded headbands but I've barely worn them.  They seemed like good candidates to turn into bracelets that actually fit.

Finished bracelets

I used the same pattern of beads as in the original headband, so this needed very little creativity.  The only tricky part in this was tying off the ends of the elastic (to make things extra difficult I'd used a double thickness, so I had 4 ends to deal with) but with beads this size I found I could tie a large kludgy knot and hide it in the middle of a bead. 

Finished bracelets on wrist

Although I had my own wrists to measure against, keeping the pattern from the headband meant I was working in increments of 3 beads, or about half an inch.  I initially made two 10 repeat bracelets, but decided that was bordering on too small.  I compromised by extending one to 11 repeats but left the other at 10 repeats.

Kit used: 
  • Clear/white beading elastic.
  • One headband (provided enough beads for 2 bracelets for small wrists). 
Other tools needed:
  • Needle with an eye large enough to hold the elastic
  • Scissors

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Origami Masu Box with Divider and Lid

Masu box with divider and lid

According to Wikipedia, a masu box was originally used for measuring rice.  If you make this from standard 6" paper, it ends up 2" by 2" by 1", so it's a bit small for that purpose, but can still be used holding little things such as beads or trinkets, or just looking pretty.  

Inside of divided masu box

The paper I chose to fold this from has six flowers along each side, causing a flower to appear on each side of the divider and in the four squares in the bottom of the box. I didn't plan this effect when choosing the paper, but I think it adds significantly to the charm of the box. 

  • Traditional Japanese design
  • Diagrammed in many places.  I folded this one from Decorative Origami Boxes by Rick Beech.  (Available from and 
  • Easy, although turning the divider from 2D to 3D may be a little hard for a beginner to follow from a book.  For anyone who gets stuck, there's always YouTube
Kit used:
  • 3 sheets of paper.  Paper used was from the "Beautiful Blues Paperstack" from The Works.  It's thicker than origami paper, but works well for simple designs.  Also, it cost 99p for 32 sheets, making it cheaper than most patterned origami paper. 

Monday, 27 May 2013

Origami Dimetrodon

Origami Dimetrodon
According to the book the Dimetrodon is not a dinosaur, but a pelycosaur. This would probably be more useful to me if I understood what a pelycosaur was.  Wikipedia's definition of an informal grouping of "basal or primitive Late Paleozoic synapsid amniotes" is not helping. 

  • by Fernando Gilgado Gomez
  • Diagrammed in Dinogami: 20 Prehistoric Origami Projects by Fernando Gilgado Gomez. Available at or .
  • High intermediate* difficulty by my reckoning, but ranked by the book as 'moderate'. 
Kit used:
  • 1 sheet of 2 coloured origami paper in orange and green
* The book's rankings are given as 'beginner', 'moderate' and 'advanced'.   My opinion is that beginners should avoid this book, the 'beginner' models are intermediate, moderate is high intermediate, and I'm not going to argue with 'advanced'.  It also looks to me like at least one diagram for this model shows a piece you've just folded in the 'before' and 'after' positions at the same time.  It's still an interesting book, but you have been warned. 

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Origami Vulture

Origami vulture

  • by John Montroll
  • Diagrammed in Origami for the Enthusiast by John Montroll. Available at or
  • Intermediate difficulty
Kit used:
  • 1 sheet of shaded origami paper