Solve those present-wrapping blues with an origami box

Origami Box

“I thought boxes were the best toy. When my parents got a new car, I ran to my mother and said, ‘Did it come in a box?’”
Colin Angle, US Businessman & robotics specialist

Christmas tree up? Check.
Turkey ordered? Check.
All cards written and sent? Check.
All gifts bought? Check.

…And then it hits you.  The realisation that you’re going to have to wrap all that stuff up. Here it comes. The annual fight with the sticky tape. The frustration because the bit of paper on the end of the roll is two inches too small so that last present won’t match the rest of them. That oh-so-understanding person on TV explaining how you too could have wrapping that looks like an art exhibit, while you try to work out how to wrap a bottle of wine so that it doesn’t look like a bottle of wine. And now you’ve sat on the gift tags again.

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Origami has a solution to your gift wrap problems.  Make an origami box.  That way the box itself will be as much of a talking point as the present.

The Model

This Origami box is one of Tomoko Fuse’s designs. She is a Japanese origami artist who has specialised in geometric forms and modular origami designs. She is probably best known for her work on origami boxes and she has published several different books on the subject, with instructions on how to make incredibly decorative boxes with three, four, six or even eight sides.

At a British Origami Society Convention a few years ago somebody was showing a huge collection of Fuse boxes.  I was very impressed.  I might give it a go at some point.

Folding the Hexagon Box

It is a modular model, using twelve identically-sized square pieces of paper – six for the lid and six for the base. I chose to fold this one after I was given a pack of beautifully decorative origami paper (thank you very much!) and I thought this would be a good way of showing the paper off.  I like using patterned paper for things like boxes as I think the pattern should complement and enhance the shape of the model, not fight with it.

Fuse’s boxes aren’t generally difficult to fold.  Some of the very decorative ones have cranes or other traditional models built into the lid, but the folding process is, by and large, pretty simple. That said, assembling the modules can be fiddly.  You do need to be patient with the model and if you find yourself getting tangled up in your own fingers and thumbs, know when to put it down and come back to it later. I’m giving this a rating of Simple, with the caveat that it can be fiddly to put together.

Just about any paper will do for folding this box, provided you give some thought to colour combinations.  You could either use a couple of different colours as I have here, all one colour, or even do each segment in a different colour.  Whichever you prefer.

Hexagon Box Diagrams

I folded this one from memory after I was taught how to fold it a few years ago.  Diagrams are available in Fuse’s book Origami Boxes, available from Amazon here.

You also might like to explore some of the other books about origami boxes Fuse has produced, such as Fabulous Origami Boxes.  Some of her creations are delightful.

Stuck for something to put in the box?

If you’ve decided you like the idea of the origami box but aren’t sure what to put inside it, I have some ideas for origami-themed Christmas presents on this blog post.

Good luck with it.  Hopefully it will make your presents more that little bit more memorable.  You’re probably going to still want to use a gift tag though, it would be a shame to write on the box after going to all that effort.  Just try not to sit on them.

Get Involved

I’d love to hear your views on this. Feel free to let me know what you think in the comments below, or you find can me on Instagram or Twitter. Check out my Pinterest boards too!

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About the Author


Russell has been folding origami since he was 8 years old and has recently written the book, Origami Made Simple. He is on the Council for the British Origami Society and a member of OrigamiUSA. When he is not folding, he enjoys photography and traveling.

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