Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Step Seventeen: Kusudama - Paper Flowers

Dearest Sylwi

This week, I began a project that I have wanted to try for years! It's times like this that I realise how valuable this 52 Steps is to me! Without it, these ideas would sit in my head forever!

It's a decoration made from paper, called a Kudsudama ball. I had no idea where these balls originated from, but I came across them when I was searching for origami flowers... which I'm pretty hooked on making! :-) I think they're fantastic, so I set about making one this week. 

[If you want to know more about the history, this is what Wikipedia has to say about them:

"Kusudama originate from ancient Japanese culture, where they were used for incense and potpourri; possibly originally being actual bunches of flowers or herbs. The word itself is a combination of two Japanese words kusuri, Medicine, and tama, Ball. They are now typically used as decorations, or as gifts".
"The Japanese kusudama (薬玉; lit. medicine ball) is a paper model that is usually (although not always) created by sewing multiple identical pyramidal units (usually stylized flowers folded from square paper) together through their points to form a spherical shape. Alternately the individual components may be glued together. Occasionally, a tassel is attached to the bottom for decoration".]

I found a wonderful Kusudama tutorial on the Folding Trees website. Folding Trees is a dream of a place to find beautiful, papercraft tutorials. I can't tell you how inspiring I find the two ladies who set it up. It's an absolute "must visit" for ideas! :-)

Detailed instructions on making the flowers can be found here, but as a rough guide, here are the stages for folding one petal - each flower has five petals.

{Lovely paper from Whimsy Press}.

Once folded, curl the edges of the petal together and glue. Clip the edges together with a mini bulldog clip, or a clothes peg whilst the glue dries. Be careful only to clip the very edge, so as not to crease the curve.

Create five petals and then glue them all together to make a flower. I propped the flowers up inside stacks of masking tape so that they didn't lose their shape as the glue dried. 

I've fallen head over heels lately with this masking tape. It's Japanese and I bought it from a shop on Etsy that is aptly named, Happy Tape! :-)

Each flower requires five petals and the ball is made up of twelve flowers... 

... which is why I have left the second part of the Kusudama ball tutorial till next week! (I did manage to make 7 flowers today, but if I carry on, I'll drive myself crazy! I'd rather stop now, continue this another day and enjoy the whole process!)

It's quite time consuming folding and then gluing all of these petals together. I was surprised how fast I ran out of time. I think these flowers in their own right are beautiful. I can really see them working, scattered on a table, as decoration at a wedding, or party.

I also have some other ideas for these, which (depending on how they turn out) I may share with you next week! :-)

I have so much else to say, but have run completely out of time. Will be in touch when I get a moment. 

Lots and lots and lots and lots and lots (times a squillion!) of love :-)


  1. Geez! They look very intricate and time consuming - but worth it!

  2. I love your flowers!!! I wrote about practicing patience - but making these flowers would take me forever!!! They look so beautiful though... I cannot imagine the whole ball!!! I'm so curious about what you will decide for the next week???

    You always surprise me, and I learn so many new things each Tuesday...

  3. I love making kusudama *^_^*

    They are always fun gifts to give someone who appreciates handmade things.