Source: Martha Stewart Living Television

Introduction

Origami, the Japanese art of folding paper, requires little more than paper and dexterity. Gay Merrill Gross, author of "Paper Creations" and "Easy Origami," makes folded gift bags that are ideal for holding party favors or snacks. They can also be turned into hats, masks, or purses, or used simply as decorations. Packaged origami paper works well for this project, but you can use newspaper, magazine pages, gift wrap, maps, or another paper of your choice.

materials

  • Origami paper

  • Bone folder or tongue depressor

  • Hole punch

  • Ribbon or twine

steps

  1. Begin with a square sheet of paper. Place the lining of the "bag" faceup. Position the paper so that a corner is pointed to you. Bring the bottom corner up to the top corner, matching the points carefully. Using a bone folder or tongue depressor, crease firmly along the folded edge to create a triangular shape.

  2. You now have double edges on the sides and a folded edge on the base. Bring the double edge of the right side down to the base. Don't crease the fold, just pinch the paper where it's rounded at the top corner. Unfold.

  3. You now have a head at the top and two arms on each side. Take the right arm (opposite the pinch), and bring it over exactly where the pinch is. Crease firmly along the folded edge. Slide your hand under the paper, and flip it over.

  4. Bring the remaining arm (now on the right) over to the wide corner. Crease firmly along the folded edge.

  5. At the top is a triangle with two layers. Fold the top layer down as far as it will go. Lift the top layer up, and insert it into the pocket of the top arm as far as it will go. Turn paper over, and repeat.

  6. Fold up the base to your desired width (1/2 inch, for example) to make a hem. Crease firmly, and unfold. Fold sides equal to the width of the base hem. Turn paper over, and refold firmly on the creases (this is called a mountain and valley fold). Unfold.

  7. Reach into the top of the bag, and open. Wherever you see the creases, pinch into a "mountain fold." This makes the bag three-dimensional. Fold in the "ears" at the base.

  8. With a hole punch, punch two holes on each end of the front and also on the back. Thread ribbon or twine through the holes to make one continuous handle.

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