Text-Only Instructions

Designer/Creator: Minako Ishibashi

Minako Ishibashi

Various sites show how to fold this unusual model. See, for instance,

instructables.com

Steps: 32

For any questions, comments or suggestions, email accessorigami@gmail.com

Paper to be used: 6 squares of similar size; use large paper to practice with at first.

Speciality origami paper or colored paper of a medium thickness is recommended.

Note squares will also make nice, small models, but only use these when you are comfortable with the folding and assembly of the model.

You can use alternating colors if preferred, make your cube from only one color or go to the other extreme and create a multi-colored cube, as long as the squares you choose are all the same size.

Folding level: Beginner/Intermediate

Description and more information:

Here is how this model was described on a site called Eclectic Imagination, which, unfortunately, no longer seems to be available.

"The Japanese brocade is very elegant, halfway between a cube and a sphere. These curves are unusual for modular origami and make the Japanese brocade rather special."

So, six units are first combined to make a cube, which is then tweaked to form a ball or sphere.

The finished model is a closed, three-dimensional shape with 6 faces, 12 edges and 8 vertices or corners, which makes it a cube or a regular hexahedron.

All 6 faces are congruent (similar) and shaped as squares.

The faces of the cube have flaps on their surfaces which can be coaxed into delicate bands which run across the cube in a cymmetrical fashion, creating one of the most beautiful modular origami pieces that you will find.

The folding and assembly of this model has some simularity to that of the Sonobe cube, so if you are struggling with this model, perhaps fold the Sonobe cube first.

Very small cubes can be used as jewelry components.

These models also look beautiful displayed in a large, flat bowl or see-through jar or vase, or use them as party favors or hanging decorations.

To use as a box, small objects can be added before the last module is inserted.

Instructions:

PHASE 1: CREATING THE UNITS

You will be folding 6 similar units to form your Japanese brocade.

It is recommended that you fold all 6 pieces before attempting Phase 3, which will explain how to fit the pieces together to form the finished model.

If using two-sided origami paper, lay your paper with the patterned or colored side down before starting to fold.

Step 1

Place a square down with its edges to the left and right, top and bottom.

Step 2

Fold the top edge down to meet the bottom edge to form a horizontal center crease line.

Crease and unfold.

Step 3

Now fold the top and bottom edges in to meet the horizontal center crease line.

Step 4

Fold the top left corner, all the layers, diagonally down to the right as far as it will go. It will line up with the bottom edge of the paper and form a triangle on the left side of the unit.

Step 5

Do the same with the bottom right corner in the opposite direction, folding it diagonally upwards to meet the top edge of the model.

You will now have a long, skinny diamond shape, or to be more accurate, a parallelogram.

Step 6

Unfold the paper so you have a square again. Notice that there are now various horizontal and diagonal crease lines across your model.

Step 7

Fold all 4 small corners inwards so they meet the first horizontal crease you encounter. Put in another way, fold the small corners diagonally so they meet the top and bottom quarter horizontal lines of the square.

Two opposite corners will already have diagonal valley creases. Simply turn these creases into mountain folds.

Step 8

Leaving the small corners folded, fold the top and bottom edges of the figure upwards and downwards to also meet the quarter fold line of the square.

Two skinny bands will form at the top and bottom edges of the square and will cover the corners folded in the previous steps.

Step 9

Notice that your model will have a crease line running from the top right corner to the middle of the bottom edge.

Make a fold along this crease, bringing the bottom right corner to meet the quarter line from the top.)

Step 10

As you do this step, a small vertical band will form near the center of the model. This band will stand up at a 90 degree angle from your folding surface.

Press the entire band flat, to the right.

As you do this you will notice that another thin band has also formed along the left bottom edge of the model.

Step 11

Rotate your model 180 degrees and repeat the previous 2 steps.

Another thin band will form just next to the one you created in Step 10 above.

Step 12

Lift the right corner of the model a little and you will see that there is a horizontal band running underneath it.

Push the flap underneath this band.

Step 13

Make sure you now have the outline of a parallellogram. On its surface you will have a cymmetrical formation that has been formed, made up of a band running along the bottom left and another along the top right of the figure.

At the center there will be 2 vertical bands next to each other.

Step 14

Flip the paper over so it has a smooth surface.

Position it so you have the central square with its bottom edge horizontally or lined up with the table.

You will have a triangle on the left of the square, sloping downwards and another on the right, sloping upwards.

Step 15

Fold the left corner straight over to the right and the right corner straight over to the left so the bases of the triangles meet each other diagonally across the square.

The folded triangles will thus meet each other perfectly and cover the central square.

Make sure that all 4 edges of your square are straight and really creased well at this point. Press extra hard since firm creases will make the assembly of the model much easier.

Step 16

Gently unfold the last step and set aside.

PHASE 2: FOLD MORE SIMILAR UNITS

Repeat steps 1 to 16 5 more times so you have 6 similarly shaped units to work with.

Make sure you follow the instructions for all the squares precisely since all units should be alike in order for the modular pieces to fit. In particular, the pockets and slits of all modules need to face in the same direction on each piece. If some of the units are folded with the slits and pockets facing in the opposite direction, the points of the other units will not fit.

The parallelograms should also be folded in the same way, corresponding to the description in Steps 9 to 11 above.

PHASE 3: ASSEMBLING YOUR MODEL

Step 17

Explanation:

First look at your folded unit. It has a square with two flaps that seem to point in opposite directions. The square itself has a smooth surface on one side, but various pockets and bands have been created on the back side. These pockets are where you will be inserting the flaps of the units of the cube.

The smooth sides of the squares will thus be hidden on the inside of the model while the points will fit into the pockets on the outside of the cube.

Don't be afraid to use a fingernail to open the pockets. You should be able to figure out where the pockets are and how to slide the flaps of the new units into them once you start assembling the model.

Step 18

Start by placing one unit down with its flaps at the top and bottom. The square part of the model will lie flat while the flaps will point towards the ceiling.

The smooth side of the central square will be facing up, so make sure the side with the pockets is facing the table.

Step 19

Now take two more units, place them on the left and right of the first one. The two on either side should have their flaps out to the right and left, also with the side with the pockets facing the table.

Step 20

From hereon, you might have to pick up the model in order to assemble it. Don't be afraid to turn it during the assembly. You can lightly hold it in your hand. The more units you add, the better the cube will hold itself together.

So, lift the first unit from the table and insert the point of the left unit, into the nearest pocket you will find on the back of the first unit.

Slide it in all the way. The point will disappear and the first two units will be loosely joined by their sides.

Step 21

Then, take the right unit and insert its point in a similar way at the back of the first unit.

After you have connected the first 3 units you will have a loose structure with many points just hanging around.

Step 22

Place the next two units above and below the first unit with their flaps pointing left and right.

You will notice that there are still two points open at the top and bottom of unit 1.

Step 23

Insert the top flap from unit 1 into the pocket at the back of unit 4.

Step 24

Similarly, insert the bottom flap of unit 1 into the pocket at the back of unit 5.

You now have 5 units connected loosely, still with lots of loose flaps, which will be dealt with next when the sides of the cube are completed.

Step 25

Before tucking in the sides, gently pull all 4 loose flaps to the outside of the cube so you will be able to get hold of them. There should be no loose points or flaps when the cube is completed.

Step 26

Start on the left side and tuck in the flaps into the pockets that are nearest them. Always feel for the opening of the pocket near the edge of the units. These are the correct pockets. Avoid sliding the flaps into the folds at the center of each unit.

There will be two flaps to tuck in on the left side.

Step 27

Now do the same folds on the right side of the cube.

Once done, you will have a five-sided shape with two flaps still standing up and unconnected.

Step 28

Complete the assembly by adding the last square by inserting its points into the sides of the cube in the same way you did before.

Step 29

Lastly, take the two flaps left unattached and tuck them into their slots that you will find on the last, top unit of the cube.

Step 30

Gently press the corners and sides into a final cymmetrical cube shape.

PHASE 4: TURNING THE CUBE INTO A SPHERE

Step 31

Explanation

On each face of your Japanese brocade model you will notice small folds. On closer inspection, you will find that the surface of the cube consists of thin bands that are interwoven and run diagonally across each face of the cube.

Step 32

To turn your cube into a sphere, start on one of the six faces and take those interwoven bands between your thumb and forefinger and pinch them together. You are aiming to lift the bands away from the folding surface of the cube.

Be careful not to pull at the corners of the cube, but simply lift the loose flaps on each face of the model.

Make sure you have pinched all four flaps together on each face of the cube.

If preferred, gently separate the flaps a little to make your Japanese brocade look round and puffy so that it will turn into a beautiful sphere!

Making origami accessible to visually impaired crafters through text instructions.

for non-commercial use only.

Compiled by Lindy van der Merwe, July 2023

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