Friday, 6 May 2011

Kamiori - Paper Folding

My site covers all aspects of Kamiori - Paper Folding.  Starting with the basics of how to fold and link modules, I will also show you how to join ends and stitch rows together invisibly plus more advanced techniques that will enable you to make some lovely items that will amaze your friends and family.
Whether you are a beginner or an advanced crafter, I am sure that you will find something of interest and hopefully learn something new. 

The name Kamiori comes from the Japanese word - Kami which means Paper and Ori which means to Fold.

I have been doing Kamiori for over 10 years. Initially I was shown how to fold modules and join them together by an elderly friend. I have never come across anyone else that does this type of paper folding so everything I know apart from folding and linking the modules is self taught. All the items shown here are of my own design. 

One of the things that really appeals to me about this type of paper folding is its portability. It is so easy to carry some pieces of pre-cut paper around with you and fold them whenever you get a few minutes spare. I have spent hours wasting time in waiting rooms of one sort or another, but now I use the time to fold some paper modules. It is surprising how quickly they mount up and when you want to start another project you have a ready supply on hand.
Fig 1. Folded Modules
Recently I began looking on the Internet to see if I could find any information about Kamiori. The only thing I found was something called Candy Wrapper Crafting which was done in the USA and Mexico.
Because I wasn't influenced by anyone else, I realised that what I had taught myself differed to how others do things. For instance, the way I join ends together differs even though the end result is the same. I also stitch rows together using a different technique. Instead if using a needle with one thread, I use a hook with two threads. I think I developed this technique because the items I normally make use smaller modules than what other people seem to use. The items that I make are also different to those in the USA and Mexico which seem to be mainly handbags or simple bracelets.


Candy Wrappers, Crisp Packets and the like are not the only material suitable for this type of paper folding. I am often asked to make items out of paper and occasionally plastic.

Candy Wrappers/Crisp Packets of the foil type can be sorted into about three different thicknesses. Try and use the same thickness material, so that your project has a uniform look and feel to it. It is a bit harder to cut a number of sheets at once, because they tend to slide about a bit. The extra effort taken of cutting one strip at a time is well worth it though when you see the colourful finish achieved.
Paper has many useful advantages. It is easily obtained in a variety of sizes, colours and thicknesses from most stationary/craft stores. You can also recycle old magazines, brochures etc. It is also easy to cut accurately a few sheets at a time without them sliding about all over the place. I normally use A4 80gsm sheets which is readily available in a good range of colours.
Card has the same advantages of paper in that it is easy to obtain in different colours and thicknesses and is easy to cut. Because of its thickness, I usually cut it into strips instead of rectangles.
Plastic can also be used to good effect, if it isn't too thick. Cut it into strips like you do with card. It is not as pliable as other materials but is ideal if you want something that is waterproof and hard wearing.

 Most of the tools needed to get started can most probably be found around your home. The basic tools needed for producing paper modules are a cutting mat, modelling knife and a ruler. This will allow you to make something simple like a bracelet which only requires modules joining together. Some of the tools shown are my own design and have been developed to meet my needs or make the job of folding modules easier.

1. Cotton Thread  2. Modelling Knife  3. Scissors
4. Knife Blades  5. Paintbrush  6. Insertion Guide
7. Insertion Tools  8.Pokey Sticks  9. Stitching Hooks
10. Module Template  11. Needles  12. Aluminium Ruler
Cutting Mat: These come in many different sizes. They can either be square or rectangular and range in size from A6 to A2. A Cutting Mat is essential for protecting your work surface from being damaged and the self healing surface helps prolong the life of your knife blades. For most purposes, I find an A4 or A3 cutting mat is adequate.

Modelling Knife: Any type of modelling knife will do, as long as the blade is sharp. The variety of modelling knives available is vast. My own preference is a Swann Morton modelling knife which has given me many years of service. Different size and style of handles are available and the blades are replacable. You can also get different types of blade to suit your needs. The knife shown has a Number 3 handle with a number 11 blade. A cheaper alternative is the disposable knife with break off blade segments.

Ruler: As with modelling knives, the range available is vast. Some types of ruler such as wooden or plastic aren't really suitable, as they are easily damaged while cutting. Paying a bit extra for a good quality ruler of the right type will pay for itself over time by not having to be regularly replaced. You will also find it easier to use. The most suitable rulers are aluminium with a deep shoulder on one edge or a wooden one that has a metal insert. The shoulder or metal insert stops the knife blade digging into the ruler and damaging it while cutting.

Insertion Guide: This is used when inserting the last module to join ends together. Insert it where you want the final piece of the last module to go and it will help make sure it goes into the right place. Make it from a small strip of plastic.

Insertion Tool: When inserting the last module for joining ends together, the end of the module needs folding over. This tool fits into the fold enabeling you to push the final part of the last module into place. I normally make this tool from a lolly stick, wooden dowel or stiff plastic.

Stitching Thread: Any type of sewing thread is OK, as long as it is strong enough to be pulled tight. Thin polyester crochet cotton is also good, as it is very strong. Don't pull it too tight though as it will act like a cheese wire and slice through your modules. The colour of the thread doesn't matter, as it will be hidden from view.

Stitching Needle: Darning or Tapestry needles are suitable for stitching rows together. I find tapestry needles a bit better, as they have a blunt end. Needles can also be made out of a strip of plastic, shaped to a point at one end and a hole made in the other end. Old credit/store cards or something similar can be used to make one.

Stitching Hook: Developed by myself, I have always found it easier to use a stitching hook especially when stitching small modules together. It requires a slightly different stitching technique than using a needle. I will show how it is done in one of my tutorials, when time permits. As can be seen in the picture, one can be made quite easily to suit your needs.

Pokey Stick: This is another tool developed by myself to make the job of folding modules easier and quicker. Larger pieces of paper/candy wrappers can be folded quite easily on your work surface, without the aid of any special tools. Some projects you wish to make may require smaller sized modules and the smaller the module the harder they become to fold. To aid the folding process, you could use a Pokey Stick. This can be made from a length of wood doweling. Choose the diameter (4mm - 6mm) of the dowel best suited to the size of paper being folded. Cut the length to 120mm - 140mm and shape the end so that you can open modules slightly which will help when inserting the next one. Once you get used to using a Pokey Stick, you will wonder how you ever managed without one.

Other Tools: If you cut lots of paper, you might want to invest in a rotary wheel cutter/trimmer. You will be able to cut paper very accurately and a lot faster than with a ruler and knife. Some projects will benefit from being varnished, so a suitable brush will be required. When stitching items together, the ends of the cotton can be cut with your modelling knife, but a small pair of scissors is more practical and safer to use.

I hope that you find the information contained in my blog useful. If interest is shown and time permits, I will be adding more tutorials, designs and anything else that may be useful.

If there is anything that you would like to see featured, please let me know and I'll do my best to oblige.

Any questions, suggestions or comments would be most welcome.

Thank You for taking the time to view my Website.

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