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Origami — Boxes

Models folded and photographed by Michał Kosmulski. Boxes / containers / tatos and other similar models — my own designs unless noted otherwise.
Click on images to enlarge them.

Houstonia Box

Houstonia Box

This origami box represents a flower of the genus Houstonia, also known as bluets or Quaker Ladies. Some species, in particular Houstonia caerulea have four petals which is relatively rare among flowers. However, it is very convenient for the origamist who wants to fold from a square.

The flower can also be tessellated, with each molecule taking up a 12×12 grid. After designing it, I found a similar model by Ilan Garibi, called Criss Cross Tessellation, but as you see, in my model the center of the flower is locked together while in Ilan’s, both ends of each petal are free.

[ discuss on flickr ]

Eco Box

Eco Box

My goal when designing this box was reusing the strips of paper which are left over when a square is cut off from an A4 piece of paper. This strip also happens to have dollar bill proportions.

The side of the box can be anywhere from just below ¼ to ⅕ of the square’s side which matches the shrink factor of many box lids. This way the whole A4 sheet can be used without any waste: the square for the lid and the leftover strip for the box’s body, and that’s why I called it Eco Box.

The structure of the model is quite similar to some of Shuzo Fujimoto’s boxes and while I haven't seen exactly the same model before, I wouldn’t be surprised if Fujimoto himself or someone else had the same idea before me.

[ discuss on flickr ]

Depressed Propeller Box

Depressed Propeller Box

A new box design based on Propellers Tessellation molecule. The molecule is depressed, meaning that the layers of paper forming the sides of the box are above it.

While the molecule itself is quite simple, I think this model is interesting due to the way the side walls are constructed, resulting in edges which are not straight and decorated with the color-change triangle.

[ discuss on flickr ]

Woven Square Box

Woven Square Box

A simple box derived from a modified Propellers Tessellation molecule.

[ discuss on flickr ]

Her Majesty’s Box — WIP (Work in Progress)

Her Majesty’s Box

Top picture shows a then-new box, aptly named "Her Majesty's Box", taking shape on the train back from the 50th Anniversary Convention of British Origami Society. Both the convention and the sightseeing tour afterwards were very inspiring and I came back home with lots of new ideas. Thanks to everyone who attended my workshops or just stopped by to chat or fold together.

While I normally don't publish pictures of work-in-progress (WIP), I thought in this case it would be interesting to compare the prototype to the clean fold which you can see below. The molecule had been on my mind for at least two weeks and it is related to Square Interlace Tessellation. Time on the train, bus and plane allowed me to test different arrangements of the molecules (this pattern can be tessellated) and to notice that when used on a box, the pleats form an interesting pattern which could be compared to the rods of a royal crown.

The bottom picture shows a clean fold, made from a sheet of gold-red Washi. You can compare it to the picture of the prototype above: take notice of the number of auxiliary creases, the quality of the paper, etc.

[ discuss WIP on flickr ]
[ discuss clean fold on flickr ]

Her Majesty’s Box — gold Washi paper
Shamrock Box

Shamrock Box

Box with a single molecule of my Shamrock Tessellation.

Top picture shows the basic variant which uses the unmodified tessellation molecule. The box is folded from 16×16 grid, of which the molecule consumes 12×12.

Bottom picture shows two simplified versions. The original was based on a molecule which can easily be tessellated. However, with a single molecule used for a box, there is no need to connect multiple molecules and the model can be simplified.

The version to the right is the standard simplified one. As you can see, the pattern on the walls is different than in the original. The box to the left is a simplified and more paper-effective version: it is folded from a 12×12 grid rather than 16×16, making it possible to fold a much larger box (both are folded from same-sized paper). The cost is that the lock is on the outside rather than the inside, so that two side walls show yet another pattern.

[ discuss basic version on flickr ]
[ discuss simplified versions on flickr ]

Shamrock Box — two simplified variants (regular and paper-effective)
Broken Heart Box — top view of both broken and whole heart variant

Broken Heart Box and Tessellation

A box with a heart, which is also an action origami model. When things go wrong, the heart can be reshaped into a broken heart. The heart itself can be tessellated. In this case I call it Fragile Heart Tessellation (fragile because it can easily be broken).

The heart itself uses a 12×10 grid and the whole box a 16×16 grid.

Instructions for Broken Heart Tessellation (from which it is easy to derive folding the box as well) were published in IOIO 2017 book.

[ discuss two variants side by side on flickr ]
[ discuss whole heart variant on flickr ]
[ discuss broken heart variant on flickr ]

Broken Heart Box — flat (whole) heart tessellation molecule variant
Broken Heart Box — broken heart tessellation molecule variant
Box with Leaves (stem-to-stem)

Box with Leaves (stem-to-stem)

An origami box with leaves, with the leaves’ stems in the center, based on an earlier coaster design. There is also a variant with leaves oriented tip-to-tip

While it is not visible in this particular fold, made from Tant paper which is the same color on both sides, there is a color change between the box’s walls and the leaves.

[ discuss on flickr ]

Box with Leaves and color change (tip-to-tip)

Box with Leaves (tip-to-tip)

A box with leaves based on this coaster. There is a color change between the walls and the leaves, though a variant using the same side of paper for both is also possible. It is also possible to rotate the leaves so that they touch stem-to-stem rather than tip-to-tip.

The top picture shows a cleaner fold where I was able to get rid of some helper creases. Even with my own models, it sometimes takes time and multiple folds to learn how to fold a model well.

[ discuss on flickr ]

Box with Leaves and color change (tip-to-tip)
Box with Ribbon Bow and color change (Sunflower Tessellation molecule)

Box with Ribbon Bow (Sunflower Tessellation molecule) variants

These are variants of a Box with a ribbon bow, constructed using a molecule of my Sunflower Tessellation and with color change added to make the ribbon stand out better from the background. Variants without color change are also possible, but less interesting.

The upper box uses a grid which is perpendicular to the paper’s edges. The collapse includes one sink which is really tough unless you find the proper way of executing it.

The lower box is a variant where the ribbon runs along the diagonals rather than parallel to the sides. During the recent German Origami Convention, I was asked to show how to fold this model and had issues recreating it. We ended up folding a slightly different variant and only in the next morning did I remember how to fold the original. But if more time had passed since designing (here it was just three months), I might not have been able to recall it so easily from memory. This is just why it’s important to keep good documentation on all designs.

[ discuss parallel grid variant on flickr ]
[ discuss diagonal grid version on flickr ]

Box with Ribbon Bow and color change (Sunflower Tessellation molecule, diagonally rotated grid)
Box with Pajarita and color change

Box with Pajarita and color change

A color-change version of my Box with Pajarita v. 1.1. In contrast to folds using harmony paper, here the different color of the Pajarita is the result of an actual colour change, i.e. both sides of the paper are visible. While the basic idea is quite simple, the collapse of the walls is somewhat challenging to execute cleanly.

[ discuss on flickr ]

Box with Pajarita

Box with Pajarita

This box has a Pajarita on its lid.

The top picture is version 1.0 and the Pajarita is just a single molecule of my Pajarita Tessellation. Folded from Harmony paper which allowed the Pajarita to better stand out from the background.

The lower picture is version 1.1. In this improved model, I took advantage of the fact that the box only has one molecule, and so I could get rid of some constructs which are necessary in a tessellation but superfluous when only a single molecule is needed. This way the leg is cleaner (just a mountain fold instead of a sink) and some places have fewer layers of paper. A variant with color change is also possible.

[ discuss version 1.0 on flickr ]
[ discuss version 1.1 on flickr ]

Box with Pajarita (v. 1.1)
Heptagonal Star Box (UD-DU Chevron Corrugation)

One-part Box with Two-in-one Flower Tesselaltion

Most boxes I design are two-part boxes: the lid and the bottom part are made from two separate sheets. This one is a flat, single-piece box (also called a tato): in order to open it, you need to partially unfold it. The decoration on top is a molecule of my Two-in-one Flower Tessellation.

[ discuss on flickr ]

Heptagonal Star Box (UD-DU Chevron Corrugation)

Heptagonal Star Box

This seven-sided star shape can be used as one half of a two-piece box or alone as an ornament. This heptagonal star design is based around my Chevron Corrugation (UD-DU variant) and folded from a rectangle with 16×5 square grid. Variants with more rays or donut-shaped stars with a hole in the middle can be made in a similar way.

[ discuss on flickr ]

Box with Super-Ninja Star Tessellation molecule

Box with Super-Ninja Star Tessellation molecule

Two variants of boxes decorated with individual molecules of Super-Ninja Star tessellation which is my extension of the Ninja Star Tessellation. The super-variant has larger blades. The two variants differ in the thickness of the lid.

[ discuss on flickr ]

Box withtwisted Bird Base Tessellation molecule

Box with Twistd Bird Base Tessellation molecule

Box with a single molecule of my Twisted Bird Base Tessellation.

Crease pattern and basic instructions for the raw tessellation were published in the convention book of Origami Deutschland 2016 meeting in Erkner. Step-by-step instructions were be published for the International Origami Internet Olympiad (IOIO) 2016. To make a box, fold the molecule using just a square with half the side of the paper, located in the center of the sheet. The margin left is then used to form the walls.

[ discuss on flickr ]

Box with Walled Garden Tessellation molecule

Box with Walled Garden Tessellation molecule

Another tessellation disguised as a box so that I can get away with folding just a single molecule (but I do plan to fold a full-fledged tessellation some time, too). My design; the molecule is folded from a 12×12 grid. I used Kami with a pattern which matches the symmetry of the box well.

[ discuss on flickr ]

Box with Shooting Star

Box with Shooting Star

I designed this box during the annual meeting of Polish Meteoritical Society (meteorites are one of my hobbies alongside origami).

The shooting star is based on my Epiphany II model and can be tessellated. The nice thing about boxes is they allow you to make a nice model while folding only a single molecule of a tessellation which saves time when you want to publish a new design but lack the time to make a larger composition.

[ discuss on flickr ]

Box with Two-in-one Flower Tessellation molecule

Boxes with Two-in-one Flower Tesselaltion molecule variants

These boxes are decorated with individual molecules of my Two-in-one flower tessellation.

Many variants of the basic molecule are possible. The second box uses the variant I dubbed the Nuclear Flower because it resembles a symbol often used in atomic / nuclear physics — orbitals around a nucleus.

The molecule can be tessellated to fill the whole plane but since it uses an 8×8 grid, when placed centrally inside a 16×16 grid, it can be conveniently shaped as an ornament on the lid of a box. I used these models to test red Elephant Hide paper which I was happy to be able to buy as it is becoming increasingly rare.

[ discuss box with plain molecule on flickr ]
[ discuss Nuclear Flower Box on flickr ]

Nuclear Flower Box (Two-in-one Flower Tessellation molecule variant)
Tessellated Box (Square Interlace Tessellation)

Tessellated Box and Bracelet (Square Interlace Tessellation)

An origami bracelet that comes in a matching box. The pattern is my Square Interlace Tessellation. The bracelet, the box lid and the bottom part of the box are each made from a single sheet of graphite Elephant Hide paper. All items and the tessellation designed and folded by me.

These models are going to Origami House Colonia, an origami museum which is being created in Uruguay.

[ discuss on flickr ]

Tessellated Bracelet and Box (Square Interlace Tessellation)
Thin-walled Box

Thin-walled Box

This box has just one layer of paper in most places so it uses paper effectively, allowing you to make a large box with given sheet size. In contrast to Common Box, outside is completely smooth, and this box is also much stronger than Common Box. The downside is that the lock of the corners is placed inside rather than outside which takes away some space and may make placing objects inside the box difficult. However, I designed this box with the purpose of using it as a lower part of two-part box sets — to be matched to decorated box lids, and this role it fulfills quite well.

It’s a simple design so I wouldn't be surprised if someone had come up with it before.

[ discuss on flickr ]

Plain Box

Plain Box

I rarely fold boxes but recently I needed one and could not find any satisfying model online, so I designed this one. In contrast to most models I could find, this one is completely plain on the outside (no decoration at all), quite sturdy and it uses paper effectively (only two layers on the sides). There are several similarly good variants of the internal lock which hold the corners together.

Can be made from square or rectangular paper. A box and matching lid can be made from same-sized sheets.

[ discuss on flickr ]

See also:

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