For the last two weeks I have been busy designing and improving this Self-Closing Origami Fabric Twist Box. I got the idea from the other Self-Closing Twist Boxes I folded a while back. Just these are from fabric, whereas the other ones were made from paper. What do you think?
Update June 4th 2019: Scroll down to read the guide how to make your own Self-Closing Origami Fabric Box. Click download to get the pattern.
For a while I was thinking of incorporating fabric with my origami work. So what better origami boxes to start with than the self-closing twist boxes. This design gets even improved when using fabric instead of paper.
Differences between Fabric and Paper
There are pros and cons when folding with paper or fabric in origami. If you fold with paper (and the design already exists as a single-sheet model), than one sheet of paper is enough. The finished model will be almost 100% accurate. But paper has its limitations as well. You can only try to open and close this specific design when folded with paper a very limited amount of time, yet you will have unlimited handling when choosing fabric. Paper can tear, yet fabric will still stay strong.
The downside of fabric is that you will never achieve the accuracy you would like than with paper. You will need to plan ahead carefully as you will always need to add seam allowances as well. Time is also a factor. It took me around two weeks of designing, planning, drawing, cutting, pasting and sewing. Each time I improved a version of the Self-Closing Origami Fabric Twist Box, I needed to repeat all those steps again. From one version to the next, two whole days were needed to reach the same point of having a working model. I reached 4 versions for this particular design. These were the main points that come to my mind, I am sure there are many others.
How many parts did this design take?
The self-closing origami fabric twist box is made of 5 pieces of fabric and 3 sewn in pieces of card stock. Yet the same box made from paper only needed one square sheet paper.
Somebody interested in the pattern?
I already put a lot of time into this model and I feel it’s time to move on to something else. I am sure I will come back to it and design a 4, 5 or 8 sided version of it sooner or later. But if there is enough demand for the pattern and a quick how-to guide, then I might put in some more hours of work. I will see what response I get.
In the meantime, thanks for your interest in my work. 🙂
Pattern and Guide For the Origami Fabric Twist Box
I did not use any fabric stiffeners or any other components than described here: only fabric and card stock (carton). Try to choose fabric that is medium weight for the outside fabric, and thinner fabric for the inside part (H). The mechanism works because this design based on origami. I calculated the panel width, so the mechanism works. There is an exact ratio between panel width and height that makes this happen.
Download the pattern and print out without scaling the image. Don’t select fit image to page, as the patterns are exactly the size that they should be. I drew them with CAD software, so they are as accurate as they can be. Use card stock when you print out the patterns.
Refer to the two explanation pictures below to what exactly each piece is for. There are 8 pieces of patterns. 3 of them need to be sewn in: (A), (D), (F). Use heavy card stock or carton, so the box keeps its shape. 5 of them are fabric.
After you cut out all pieces and glued together pieces that were printed over two papers (tiled printing), use a disappearing fabric marker or a Pilot Frixion Pen (that’s what I used) to trace the patterns onto the wrong side of the fabric. After you finished your project, use a hot iron and place it near the visible ink marks and the heat will remove it completely from your fabric.
You can (should) use a sewing machine to make life easier. Fabric piece (C1) can be attempted with a sewing machine (most of it), but towards the end hand sew it. Fabric piece (C2) needs to be hand stitched with a running stitch.
Glue the hexagonal strip (F) together, so it forms a tube.
Each instruction picture below tells you exactly what steps need to be taken and from what side of the fabric (right or wrong side). You need to stay as accurately when you sew your pieces together. Most pieces have 0.5 cm seam allowance. Refer to the drawings below.
Pattern (C) needs to be traced twice onto the fabric. Once it will be used as the bottom cover for the box. And the second time it will be used as a cover for the inside of the box.
Pattern (B) is only to mark the seam allowance for the two fabrics cut from (C).
The layers for the bottom part of the box are: 1 layer of (C) fabric (that is sewn together with (E). Then the carton (D) gets placed into the finished (half closed) tube. Then you take the second fabric cut from (C) and with a running stitch you place carton (A) inside, and pull the string to tighten the fabric over the carton. This gets placed over the carton box (D), to get a fabric covered box bottom from the inside.
All other steps are marked (1) to (3) on first page. And (1) to (5) on second page.
Some more thoughts about the process…
To sew the carton strip into the fabric (G) is difficult. I tried, but the visible sewing line is not that pretty as it needs to be done by hand. I glued the strip with fabric glue (like UHU) in. It’s also not the perfect way of doing it, but still better than the first option.
The pleats that need to be sewn need to be done from the right side of the fabric, once the whole tube is sewn together. Try to go through both pieces of fabric (4 layers). The sewing line should be as small as possible (2 mm) from the edge and still have 4 layers of fabric together.
The diagonal pleats have to be done from fabric (G), and the straight pleats from fabric (H).
After you finished the bottom of the box (instruction picture top) and the top part (instruction picture bottom), you need to sew the pieces together. The bottom part of (G) and (H) needs to be placed inside the box. The pleats start exactly from the rim of the box. You can sew the pieces together or use fabric glue. See that the panels of the top part and the bottom part align.