Friday, March 23, 2012

Origami Interlude: Washi Masu Boxes

I have a confession... I love washi paper.
OK, that isn't the confession. When I visited Japan in August 2010, I bought several full-size sheets of the most gorgeous handmade washi from the heavenly Morita Washi and Ito-ya stationary stores.
The confession is... Since visiting Japan a year and a half ago, I hadn't folded anything from these papers. I'd carefully unwrap and drool over them from time to time, as a jewelry maker would with a collection of one-of-a-kind lampwork beads; ogling them, brainstorming how to showcase them in the perfect piece of art, but, not actually using them in jewelry... Er, paper crafts.
The problem is, I'm visiting Japan again in less than two weeks, where I will surely purchase more Washi paper. So, it was time to fold something out of the papers that I already have.

I still have visions of cracking open one of Tokomo Fusé's books and folding these papers into one of her gorgeous geometric origami designs. But in the meantime, I was running low on the masu boxes that I use for jewelry purchased from my Etsy shop. So, I carefully cut the washi into squares alongside matching colors of card stock for a new stack of jewelry boxes.
Folding washi is like sewing with silk; it's easy on the fingers and is very forgiving of an errant crease.
The downside with washi is that it's not very stiff, so when I use it with masu boxes, I reinforce it with an extra layer of card stock in both the top and bottom halves of the box. The extra layer fits inside the blinz base (after Step 2 is completed), and is also a square piece of paper measuring √2/2 (about 0.7) times the length of the outer layer.
I love modular boxes too, but the simplicity of the masu box really brings out the print of the washi:
Plus, they're really easy to fold, and in great numbers:
What's your favorite kind of jewelry packaging material? Do you prefer jewelry pouches, or jewelry boxes?


  1. I like boxes, but there is no way I could do something like this!

  2. I love these boxes! I send my own jewelry out in pouches, cause they are easy to store and use.

  3. what a great idea to reinforce it... I never thought of it! I also love how you used the washi paper on top only, really lovely!!!

  4. Thanks everyone!

    Cat - they're not too difficult to make... Maybe I should write a tutorial? It helps to practice with regular origami paper before trying them with washi and card stock. The bottom of the box, made with two layers of card stock, can be hard to fold since it's so stiff.

    Salla - that's a great idea! I like to save the pouches that I get from bead and jewelry orders.

    Thanks Triz! I suppose I could try these boxes with two prints of washi paper, although I think they'd look a little too complicated.

  5. Where in Japan are you going?

  6. Hi Ginger, I'm visiting my sister in Osaka, but we'll definitely make a day trip out to Kyoto and visit the temples at Mt. Koya. We may go to Hiroshima, Himeji, or Yoshino, depending on our mood and how the cherry blossoms are looking. I'm getting really excited about it!

    1. I live in Okinawa which is south of the mainland. Our cherry blossom season was exceptional this year. Enjoy your trip.

    2. Thanks Ginger! I'd love to visit Okinawa someday!


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