There are three very beautiful Sakuradama designs that I really love. This one in this post is by Tomoko Fuse. The other two, which are also really pretty ones, are by Toshikazu Kawasaki. These are called Sakuradama and President’s Sakuradama. Over the next coming weeks I will post information about those as well.
Paper for the Cherry Blossom Ball
To construct the Cherry Blossom Ball you will need 30 square pieces of paper. You can use paper that is colored on both sides with the same color or even Kami paper which is white on the second side. Only one side will show in the finished model. I would suggest you use bigger size paper for your first attempt to fold the Sakuradama. One of my kusudama I folded from copy paper that I cut into the square shape. That paper measured 21 cm x 21 cm/8.3 in x 8.3 in. The downside is that most only have white copy paper. You will save yourself a lot of headache if you use larger paper. But the Sakuradama will even look very impressive when folded from white copy paper. The smallest Sakuradama I tried was with colored notes paper, which was about 8.5 cm/3.3 in long. As described above, the smaller you go, the more difficult it gets to assemble your unit. I helped myself with a toothpick to lift the folds before tucking in the corners of the second module. After you have already some experience with this particular model, you should definitely try it with smaller paper. The smaller one measured finished about 8.5 cm/3.3 in in diameter.
The folding part for each of the modules of the Cherry Blossom Ball is not too tricky. I would almost say it is like a dance, when you start with your square piece of paper, and rhythmically fold it down to the small triangle. There is much more folding involved than for example with the kusudama by Aldo Marcell. I come to like the geometric pattern you need to follow to get your paper into it’s final shape. Nevertheless it will take some time to complete folding all 30 modules. I tend to divide the assembly of my Sakuradama into 5 main stages and sub-stages. So I normally fold enough modules to finish the sub-stage or stage. That way, I can enjoy folding and building at almost the same time, and you won’t get over-frustrated if the assembly is giving you problems.
Assembly of the Sakuradama
I divide the assembly into sub-stages and five main stages:
First stage – 10 modules
Folding of the first corner (triangle) – 3 modules
Complete the first flower – 3 modules
Complete the round of the 5 corners (1 existing corner + remaining 4 corners) – 4 modules
Second stage – 10 modules
Complete the next 5 flowers and next 5 corners: 2 m. for 1st flower – 1 m. corner – 1 m. flower – 1 m. corner – … all around
Third stage – 5 modules
5 corners – 1 module for each to complete the corners
Fourth stage – 5 modules
Complete the next 5 flowers and next 5 corners – 1 m. flower, 1 m. corner (+flower), 1 m. corner (+flower), .. all around
Fifth stage – no modules
Complete the last flower – tuck in the corners to form the last flower
If you follow a certain plan like the one above, the assembly should not be too tricky to understand. You might have problems keeping everything together while you construct your kusudama. To make it easier, I leave my flower petals unfinished until my whole Sakuradama is assembled. Only then I will bend the petal in it’s final shape. If you do it like that you can open part of the flower petal and will have easier access to hook in the triangle part from the second module. After the second part is in place you just pull the flap back down, which locks the two pieces together. Also use the table as much as possible to keep your partly assembled kusudama stable. If you leave your petals unfinished and use the method described you definitely don’t need to use glue.
Once you finished assembling your Cherry Blossom Ball you need to shape the petals in place. You might find that a bit tricky depending how stiff your paper is. To make things easier, you can pre-crease part of the petal while folding your modules. This step does not only make your ball look pretty, but also locks everything in place – so that your Sakuradama is super stable!
If you are super dedicated, you can finish your whole Sakuradama within one day. For a more relaxed approach take two days.
You can enhance your Sakuradama petals even more by folding add-ons for your petals in a different color. See the diagrams for more information.