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Saturn Tessellation — CP and folding instructions

This is the Crease Pattern (CP) and basic folding instructions for Saturn Tessellation. It was designed in 2015 by Michał Kosmulski, but the molecule around which it is based, Four-Sink Base, was discovered independently by many others as well. You can find nice examples here and here. The latter link also contains a discussion about the origin of the name.

Crease Pattern

The molecule looks like a flat square whose four corners can be folded up independently. You can see this in the third image which is of the tessellation as a clean slate of four-sink bases, before folding any corners. By folding a corner, you modify the appearance of one fourth of the square. This way, any pixel image can be created. In this example, I prepared a picture of the planet Saturn but any other black and white image is possible. The CP shows the four-sink base with just one corner folded up so that both the “black” and the “white” pixel case is present.

Note that each molecule of the tessellation represents four pixels of the image (a 2×2 grid). You could also use a complete molecule for a pixel, either folding all four corners or none, but that would require a grid twice as dense, and at 128×92 for Saturn, the grid was already a lot of work to fold.

Folding a single molecule (the four-sink base) from the crease pattern (CP) is simple but collapsing multiple rows without crumpling the paper takes some practice. Before you commit many hours to making an image from a huge grid, it’s better to first try making 5×5 molecules from a 32×32 grid (one unit of margin around the whole model). Use the same paper as you plan to use for the big model since the difficulty of collapsing cleanly depends a lot on the paper’s properties. This smaller sample will allow you to practice before you put lots of time into a larger arrangement.

Saturn Tessellation — a sample usage of Four-Sink Base Tessellation for creating pixel images (main view) Saturn Tessellation — a sample useage of Four-Sink Base Tessellation for creating pixel images (close-up) Saturn Tessellation — a sample useage of Four-Sink Base Tessellation for creating pixel images (clean slate, just four-sink bases)
Saturn Tessellation (using Four-Sink Base Tessellation for making arbitrary pixel images) — crease pattern (CP)
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