How to Fold from a Crease Pattern

Posted by Madonna Yoder on

This is the post where I try to condense down years of folding experience into 90 minutes.

Here's the short-short version:

How to fold a tessellation

And here's a bit more detail:

I work through two example tessellations in the video below - a simple one with all twists on the same side, and a more complex one with twists alternating front and back.

To start folding from crease patterns, we must first decide what part of the pattern to fold - what to put in the center, and how many repeats we want.

I explore this aspect much more, along with rotated grids and other specialty grids in my Project Planning Masterclass.

Next, we need to actually fold the grid (I use 32-fold grids this time, which is also my recommendation for beginners in general).

Finally, we can start folding!

I start my tessellations in the center and work my way out.

The center will either be in a twist, or in the middle of a loop of twists.

Even if you can fold the center of the loop as a twist in its own right, it's much easier to start with a single twist and work around the loop, as I do with the triangle-grid tessellation in the video.

Once you've started folding, you'll want to look out for places where you don't have any pleat overlaps - I call these natural tiling breaks.

These are good stopping points for coming back the next day, and also pose challenges for deciding where to fold the next twist.

Both of the tessellations in the video had just one layer of twists between one tiling break and the next - this will not always be the case and is something to look for as you fold.

Another feature of natural tiling breaks is that each side of the tessellation will have only pleats that are parallel to each other coming out of that side.

In the Alternating Square Weave case, these pleats faced opposite directions, forming tubes, and we identified where to start by finding the pleat on a given edge that was the most stepped down away from the center - and therefore least likely to cause a pleat to run through already-folded twists.

In the Isoarea Spaced Stars case, these pleats were all in the same direction, like stairs, and we started from the top and worked our way down.

These two heuristics on where to start after a natural tiling break will get you through the simple tessellations and allow you to build the repetitions needed to figure out more complex pieces.

Enjoy!

 


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