I encountered this little basket in a couple of children's origami books, so it should be easy for adults and children alike.
Start with a square piece of paper and fold it in half from corner to corner. If you are using origami paper, the color on the inside of these first few folds will end up on the outside of the basket. (The paper below is dark pink and pale pink and the basket will end up being light pink).
Unfold, and then fold again from the other corner to the other corner and unfold again. You are doing this to create creases.
Now fold from side to side in both directions and unfold again. Your square piece of paper will now have creases crisscrossing it from corner to corner and side to side.
This next part is tricky so I've provided a few photos. Fold it back in half again from side to side, grasp the two sides in your hands, and sort of squeeze them together so that it all comes together as shown below.
You'll end up with this square.
Put it down on the table with the open edges and corner at the top, make it nice and flat, and then take the top corner of the top layer and fold it down towards the bottom corner.
Press down on the crease.
Next, as though you were turning the pages of a book, take the right corner of the top layer and bring it over to meet the left corner.
Repeat the steps you just did above - take the top corner of the upper layer and fold it down to the bottom corner again, and then "turn the page" - take the right corner of the upper layer and fold it over to the left.
Smooth out the paper and press down on creases after each step. The folds you just did should now be on the inside. Both sides of your square should look like the photo below.
Now, take the right corner of your top layer and fold it about two-thirds of the way towards the left.
Repeat this step for the left hand side, overlapping the two sides, and then tape down to secure.
Turn over and repeat again on the back side - fold each side in towards the other so they overlap and then tape in place.
It's best to use the smallest piece of tape you can.
Next fold the bottom corner up and press on it to make a crease, then let go.
Now, gently grasp the basket on both sides and open it up. The last crease you just made helps form the bottom of the basket.
Use your fingers as needed to help sharpen the creases and give the basket some shape, especially around the bottom and the sides. Tape the bottom in place.
Now take the two handles and secure them together at the top with a little bit of tape.
You're done! Use a craft punch and contrasting paper to decorate as you like, or leave it as is. Little ones love these baskets for carrying tiny toys, acorns, pebbles, and other treasures.
One of my favorite things about living in Japan is the fact that my children have learned so many beautiful crafts at school on a daily basis. Their Japanese kindergarten, which each of them attended until age 7, was completely play-based and all the children burst out of school every day with recycled shopping bags filled to the brim with playthings they made. Our job as parents was to regularly provide the school with clean, empty recyclables (milk cartons, plastic bottles, shopping bags, miscellaneous boxes and ribbons and papers), and to find a place for all these treasures once they came home. The best thing about making your own playthings is that your child learns to see treasure in trash and found materials, and gains confidence that he can always make something for himself to play with. Daily crafting gives fine motor skills a real boost, too.
My younger son Daniel graduated from Japanese kindergarten this past spring. Graduates are sent off at a beautiful ceremony and party. Parents work in secret for weeks beforehand making all sorts of handmade paper creations to adorn the party room. My favorite decorations were the garlands of tissue paper flowers like the ones shown above. These are a simple yet beautiful craft which both boys learned to do during their kindergarten years. These are quick and easy for little hands to make. My children love making these celebratory garlands for us to use at home for anniversaries or birthdays or just-because days. They're also beautiful on top of a wrapped gift in lieu of ribbon.
Here's how you get started.
Take a few sheets of tissue paper (5-10 sheets). Contrasting or complementary colors are nice. Lay them out flat on a table in front of you, stacked on top of one another.
Begin to fold them from one end, accordian-style, like a fan (very important).
When you've folded all the way to the end, fasten a rubber band or tie a piece of string to secure in the middle.
Lay it down on the table and begin fanning the ends out on both sides, as shown below.
Now start to gently separate the papers from one another and fluff them up towards the center one layer at a time.
You're done! Try this with different colors or different sized pieces of paper. The bigger the paper, the more sheets you'll need to fill out the flower. One neat variation would be to trim the ends of the folded paper with craft scissors to make little zigzags or wavy edges after you fasten it in the middle (but before spreading out the edges).
They're pretty addictive because they're like little puzzles. I'm never quite sure until the end if all the pieces will fit together, yet miraculously enough, they do. It's very satisfying. Kids love these cubes - both creating them and playing with them. They're lightweight and great for stacking or creating designs with.
You'll start with 6 pieces of square shaped paper. I used standard origami paper about 15 x 15 cms or 6 x 6 inches, but you can use any size, as long as it's square.
One tip: when doing origami, fold as precisely as possible and press down on the creases and folds to make them nice and sharp. That's particularly important with this cube. (I'll be doing other tutorials for simpler origami designs to do with younger children that are more forgiving).
Fold it in half to create a crease, then open again.
Now, fold each side down to the crease and press down hard.
Now you have a rectangle. Turn the paper over (very important; you want the open fold to be on the bottom) and fold each corner towards the center so that you create a trapezoid. First one corner to the middle of the opposite side
then the other corner in the opposite direction.
Next you will fold the corners of the trapezoid to the center on the opposite side so that you form a square. Make sure to press down on the creases hard.
Now release those corners. Repeat the above steps for each piece of paper until you have 6 pieces that look like this.
Now comes the fun part - assembly. Take two pieces and insert a triangle from one paper into the opening on the square of another paper.
Then insert a second triangle into the other side of the same opening. Each opening in each square accommodates two triangles from other adjoining squares. Keep inserting triangles into squares until all the sides are connected and a cube is formed.
Here's an example of the same cube in different colors, and what it might look like once you've fitted three together. They will be loose but will stabilize as you add more panels.