Other names for the Origami Incense Sachet are Origami Hana Kuruma or Origami Flower Wheel, due to the look of the design. I have seen images of the design, but not more information about the origin or folding process (no diagram or instruction video were available). So I tried to come up with my own solution how to fold this design. The base of this design is a twist fold, which was discovered originally by Shuzo Fujimoto, Tomoko Fuse, and other great origami artists.

Origami Incense Sachet Tutorial

In this tutorial, I will show you how to fold this Origami Incense Sachet (花くるま, hana kuruma  – flower wheel). This is a one-sheet model, that produces a two chamber origami pouch. Traditionally this origami sachet was used to hold fragrances that release a nice smell either for yourself in your home in drawers and around the house, (secondary purpose was to protect clothes from insects like moths) or to send enclosed in a letter to a loved one. The overall term in Japan for incense and origami is 文香 – fumikou, which describes any shape letter (envelope) folding, holding incense or fragrance. In my article today, I introduce you to the flower wheel shape of this origami design.

Origami Incense Sachet Tutorial

Upon seeing this double chamber design (octagonal for example) for the first time, you might think that it is folded from an octagonal paper, as the Octagonal tato, which I folded a while ago. But this model is actually folded from a rectangle. You can fold this model from as many sides as you want, starting from 3 sides. In my quest into this design I folded 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12 & 15 sided origami incense sachets. The only thing that changes are the dimensions of the rectangle. I listed the exact dimensions and measurements of my examples below, so you can fold your own. If you are interested in exploring more about these twist folds with n-sides, you should read up more in books by Jun Mitani; Twist, Tilings & Tessellations – by Robert Lang, p. 156 or Compleat Pleats – by Paul Jackson, p. 155. 

Origami Hana Kuruma Tutorial

In my Origami Incense Sachet YouTube tutorial I will show you how to fold and collapse several versions to this design and present you with 6 ending folds. If you watch the video almost to the end, basically the last collapse can turn to the left or the right – producing a slightly different outcome (true origami way). If you want the Hana Kuruma finish that you see on various Japanese sites, then you need to cut off the 1/8 strip on both endings after you finished pre-creasing. I am not sure if this still falls in the strict origami rule, no glue or scissors. If you don’t like this finish, just fold the other ways mentioned.

Origami Hana Kuruma Tutorial

What supplies will you need?

1 piece of suitable paper (Kami or stiffer) 

Ruler

Tool to score paper (like empty fine gel pen or designated tool)

Cutting mat & scalpel (or scissors)

Pencil

Calculator

Empty drinking glass (appropriate size)

Paper clips 

Origami Incense Sachet Tutorial

Which Origami Paper Should I Use?

Any origami paper like Kami or duo colored paper is suitable for this model. From experience, what makes the collapse easier is a bit stiffer paper. But as you can see in my examples, almost anything is doable. I have used regular Japanese Kami and Korean duo paper. Most of the times you want to have the front and back side in different color (or white with Kami) to bring out some twist in design. Paper I have used in this project 15 cm Japanese Kami origami paper & large size Japanese origami paper. I have used Korean Origami paper in the examples with the color change.

origami incense sachet tutorial

What size should I start with?

Size-wise, I folded most of my examples with regular Kami size (15 cm starting size before cutting down to correct dimension) paper. This might be too small for newcomers in this folding technique (twist fold) or too small  for your fragrance holding needs. For test folding, A4 size copy paper is great, as it has enough stiffness to help you with the twist fold and the finished size is big enough to be useful for the fragrance pocket purpose. 

Origami Incense Sachet Tutorial

Step by Step Instructions

  1. Decide how many sides your sachet should have. For example 8. Use this formula to calculate the measurements of your paper (several steps): 90*[(n-20:n] n represents the number of sides of your paper.

For this equation, when you would want to calculate n=8, the result will be 67.5 degrees. Then you calculate tan (tangent) 67.5. The resulting number 2.41 is the multiplication factor for your paper.

Tips: Do you want to know more about Origami Papers or find out which Tools I am using?

Origami Hana Kuruma Tutorial

Now you take the size of your paper, which for example is 29.65 cm, (length of A4 size paper) and divide into n+1 segments=9. (This is a different size than what I use in the video, so you can see for different size paper as well.) Look below for a table with other n sides/ multiplication factors/ measurements.

29.65:9= 3.3 

Now we multiply the result 3.3 with the multiplication factor 2.41:

3.3*2.41= 7.9

The 7.9 is one half of the shape we want to fold, so we multiply it by 2 to get to the final height of the paper:

7.9*2=15.9

In my case the measurements for my finished 8 sided origami incense sachet are: 29.65 cm x 15.9 cm.

Some Measurement/Multiplication Factor Examples

n sidesmultiplication factormeasurements
82.4129.65 cm x 15.9 cm
82.4125 cm x 13.4 cm
82.4115 cm x 8 cm
30.5815 cm x 4.3 cm
4115 cm x 6 cm
51.3815 cm x 6.9 cm
61.7315 cm x 7.4 cm
61.7329.65 cm x 14.7 cm
10 3.0815 cm x 8.4 cm
123.7315 cm x 8.6 cm
154.715 cm x 8.8 cm

But don’t forget that this calculation already includes the 9 segments needed to fold and lock this design. If you would only divide the paper lengthwise into 8 segments, there would be no way to lock it into place. But this additional 9th segment is already included in my calculation.

Origami Incense Sachet Tutorial

2. Mark on your paper the 1/9 segment. Length divide by 9. In this case it is at 3.3 cm. With this one measurement, we can divide all 9 segments, which are 8 folds. 

3. Now fold into half widthwise. 

4. Mark 1/4 from both sides widthwise, and crease 1/8 from both sides widthwise. 

5. Crease and fold all diagonal creases.

6. All pre-creasing is done now. You will need to decide on which ending you want for your model. There are at least 6 different endings possible. You will decide on your first 3 options:

If you choose 1., your next steps will be easier as you already lock in part of the folds, which will make it easier to collapse into its final position. Also after the folds bend down, your model is finished. Now more steps necessary to close the design. This is probably the easiest ending.

If you choose 3., and leave as is, you will have another 2 choices [plus bonus finishings 5 & 6 towards end of video tutorial) further on to influence your finished design. 

If you choose 2., your origami incense sachet will have a cool color change, and will look just like the one’s people buy from Japan.

Origami Hana Kuruma Tutorial

7. Join the endings, overlap by that one additional segment, secure with paper clips if you want.

8. Re-enforce the coming folds. My personal tip to get the collapse without any problems: half each of those 8 segments gently. Without this, you will have problems guiding the folds into locking. 

9. Use a drinking glass upside down and place your paper onto it. This will ensure your paper doesn’t distort while collapsing, and gives you more room to use your hands. If you fold on a smaller scale like some of my other examples, use a shot glass or the bottle neck of a water bottle.

10. Now starts the tricky part. Form a star with those 8 folds (and half folds). Once they meet in the middle like a star, gently guide to the left. You will see that the folds fall nicely into place.

11. Smooth out the creases by pressing it against the table. 

12. Repeat on the other side (steps 8 – 11).

13. If your tree choice was 1 or 2, you are finished.

Origami Hana Kuruma Tutorial

14. If you chose the 3rd option at the choice tree, you will have 2 choices to decorate another fold on the top. [Plus bonus finishing ends at the end of video tutorial] Pinch the 8 joints together and bend towards the 1/8 line. Now you can decide if you want to bend the shape to the right (easier). There is actually not much to bend, just guide the folds as the are already. This will close the shape in a nice and decorative way. If you choose to the left, slowly force the shape into place, and end by tucking in the ends under. This is a bit more tricky but not really difficult.

15. Finished.

To give you stability during the collapse of the first flower wheel (use paper clips to shape the paper into a tube form), you can use an upside down drinking glass (initial A4 size paper), a shot glass (medium to smaller dimensions) or a water bottle neck/top (smallest dimensions) to hold the paper for you while you attempt the collapse. You will only find this useful for the first collapse, afterwards you can stabilize against the table. 

Origami Hana Kuruma Tutorial

Don’t forget to divide your paper into n+1 segments (n being the sides of your finished Hana Kuruma). There needs to be an overlap of one more side to securely close your Origami sachet. Use paper clips or tiny craft pins to temporarily hold your paper during the collapse.

Bonus Challenge!

If you hung out that long with me, let me tell you about a further exploration into this model. While I showed you this 2 chamber design, you could actually stack many compartments onto each other. It is not really useful, as you can’t access each compartment on its own, but it is still possible. In my video tutorial, I show you a 5 sided 4 compartment fold I have done. If you decide that you want to fold it as well, you will need to either calculate your own or use the one I folded: 5 sides (5 + 1 for the lock), 4 compartments, 21 cm x 19.3 cm measurement. Instead of just pre-creasing the 2 compartments, you separate this measurement into 4 compartments. You close the design from the bottom up. First use a glass, then work your way up. Enjoy!

As always, make sharp creases (with finger nails or bone folder)!

You might also be interested in my paper recommendations including different Origami paper usage, personal hints, tips & what to avoid when buying online. To get updates on my latest video tutorials, subscribe to my youtube channel, see what other Origami models I am working on right now – follow me on Instagram and subscribe to my Newsletter.