Sophie is an origami nut and has been for a long time. Fiona loves it too in her own novice way. So when I saw instructions somewhere for using fabric stiffener to turn fabric into a durable origami-like material for crafts, I knew this would be a hit. We ended up buying a book of instructions and project ideas, but really it’s very easy and you can use almost any simple origami pattern.

First we paint the fabric with Stiffy. We use a rigid squeegee to remove the excess Stiffy. A credit card or ruler would work fine too. Then we hang the fabric to dry. When it’s dry it’s as stiff as cardstock and makes lovely sharp creases with a bone folder or even a thumbnail. We iron it to eliminate wrinkles, using a cloth over top to protect the iron. Then we cut out our origami squares, taking care to get nice 90-degree angles. Sophie made a box and lid today (photo below, box in progress).

Sides, bases and tops can be strengthened with cereal-box-board inserts. Loose edges can be tucked in and glued. Embellishments, divider inserts and contrasting liners can be added. We need to get to a craft store to pick up some ribbons and other findings. Goodness knows we have enough little scraps of fabric to keep us going for quite a while. We think that this year’s hand-made Christmas tree decorations may be folded fabric stars.

I’m sure there are lots more possibilities waiting to be discovered…


4 thoughts on “Stiffy

  • August 26, 2008 at 7:46 am

    Neat! I’ve made thes boxes with paper but it’s neat that you did it with material! Can’t wait to see what else she makes.

  • August 26, 2008 at 6:52 pm

    I used to be a big fan or origami as a kid too. I would make mobiles to hang from the ceiling using restaurant wooden chopsticks as beams then balancing origami figures hanging from them. I’ll bet the fabric origami would work well for that.

    Have you read Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes?

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