Make a Vintage Atlas Origami Sphere

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I sell lots of these origami spheres in my shop – they are pretty cool and really quite sturdy. They do last a while even if you toss them around the room and play hacky sack with them (though they do look better on the mantel).

You need to start with 12 perfectly square pieces of paper. I use vintage atlas paper, which looks fantastic and is interesting if you’ve travelled a lot like I have. I like to look at the tiny towns and reminisce about the places I’ve been.

Once you’ve folded each piece, the tricky part is assembling it all. See how you go . . .

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1. Start with a perfectly square piece of paper. You will need 12 pieces and they all need to be the same size.

2. Fold one of your square pieces of paper in half.

3. Open up the fold, then fold one side into the crease of your first fold.

4. Repeat the step above on the other side.

 

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5. Open out one side of the paper and fold just the corner in to the line your first fold made.

6. Fold the same corner in again to the fold (so it’s been folded-in twice in the same place).

7. and 8. Repeat this in the corner of the sheet diagonally opposite.

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9. and 10. Fold these folded sides in again to the centre.

11. Fold one end in towards the folded parts till it is lined up with the edge.

12. Repeat the above step at the opposite end. You now have a diamond shape.

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13. Tuck your last folds into the flaps on the inside of your diamond.

14. Fold the tucked diamond in half at the centre crease to form an ‘M’ shape.

15. Fold one side of the ‘M’ back on itself.

16. Repeat the above step on the opposite side. Repeat steps 1 – 16 for all 12 pieces of square paper.

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17. Take three of your folded pieces to begin assembling the sphere.

18. Poke the point of one origami piece into the small pocket (close to the centre) of another piece.

19. Poke another piece into the second piece in the pocket above where it has been poked into the first piece (okay, I admit, this is where it gets totally confusing – perhaps just look at the pics).

20. You will notice that you have created a starship like ‘tip’. Tuck the first piece into the third to make the tip sturdy.

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21. Repeat steps 17 – 20 to all other pieces till you have 4 ‘tips’.

22. Now you have to assemble all the tips. This can be difficult if your paper is slippery as it just keeps falling apart. Don’t worry about bending and crumpling your pieces at this stage – it will look all right in the end. Take one ‘tip’ and, in the same way you assembled the ‘tips’ themselves, poke one point from one tip into the triangular fold of another (just near where it raises into its point).

23. This is the same as step one, just a blurry version : )

24. working around the original tip, poke the points of the other assembled tips into the folds around the original tip.

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25. and 26. are actually more pics of step 24 for your viewing pleasure.

27. Once all your pieces are in place you will notice two ‘prongs’ (I’ve pointed these out with my fingers). You need to tuck the shorter one into the fold of the longer one at the base of the tip.

28. That’s me tucking in the tip (as described in 27).

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29. Continue around the sphere tucking the pieces into each other.

30. The easiest way to know where to tuck is to look for the ‘prongs’ and tuck the shorter one into the longer one.

31. and 32. Continuing around the sphere – tucking away!

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33. 34. 35. and 36. You’ll see your sphere start to come together. Keep squeezing it together to really wedge those folds in and make the sphere stronger. It gets easier to manage as you near the end. Good luck!

All images – Katie Evans