Mrs. Minayeva gave me her kind permission to make a video tutorial of her so beautiful Shalimar kusudama. This amazing kusudama is put together with 60 modules – which make up this great cone shaped twirl design. If you want to find out more about Valentina Minayeva’s Origami work, you can find her on Facebook and on her personal Flickr page. If you want to see another really stunning kusudama, which was designed by Mrs. Minayeva, then have a look at the Taj Mahal Kusudama.
You will need 60 pieces of either Kami paper (one side white, one side colored) or duo colored paper, which are cut to the ratio of 3.5:4 or 5:6. It is always best to start a new Origami design with larger paper, as it is much easier to assemble it in the end. The measurement I chose for my Shalimar kusudama paper was 8.3 cm x 10 cm/ 3.3 in x 4 in. If you take a regular 20 cm x 20 cm/ 7.9 in x 7.9 in Origami paper, you will be able to cut 4 papers that fit that ratio. If you want to calculate some other measurement for yourself, multiply the bigger number by 0.83333 or the smaller number by 1.2. It is essential for the design of the Shalimar kusudama, that you use paper that is different colored on the front and back, otherwise the distinctive design will not show.
Use the Paper Ratio Calculator (link below) – if you need help calculating your paper measurements.
If you want that your dominant color to make up most of your kusudama, then start with that side up. The folding itself is quite geometric and does not need any kind of weird creases. That makes it actually quite pleasurable to fold. There are only two folds where I used a ruler and bone folder to score the lines. You will see this step mentioned in the video. These kind of butterfly folds are quite difficult to make free hand. I first pre-measured the distance where the corner will meet the side. Then I just marked it on my paper and pre-scored those lines. Besides that, try to stay really accurate, as even a little bit off will show. Also make all your folds really crisp. To fold one module should take a few minutes. It took me a few days to casually fold all my modules, but you could do it also in a day in a few hours.
The Shalimar kusudama is put together in two steps. First you need to assemble all your 12 cones. Each cone is put together by 5 single modules. It is not overly difficult to assemble a cone. You can help yourself by pulling gently on one top corner and try to get it into the round shape. Then it is just a matter of wiggling all your 5 parts around until they are all equal to each other. I tend to work from the outside, but also look inside – as you can see better if there are any gaps between the modules. You don’t need any glue or paper clips for the assembly of the cones. Once you have all your 12 cones ready, you need to link them together. This step is also not too difficult and you should be able to figure out the trick on how to link and lock the cones together. Every cone is surrounded be 5 other cones and they themselves are linked together by a connection of three. You can see better what I mean with that once you watch the video. Also for this step you don’t need any glue or paper clips. The assembly is always much easier, if you use for your first try a slightly bigger paper. I think I chose the size of my paper quite wisely, as I did not run into any difficulty during any of the stages of the Shalimar kusudama.
The Shalimar kusudama has a very unique and beautiful design. It is quite a lot of work, as regular kusudama only involve folding of 30 modules, and this one requires 60 modules. You will need a bit of experience of Origami folding and specifically some knowledge of kusudama, before you should attempt to fold the Shalimar kusudama. It is not overly frustrating, as you can assemble the whole kusudama without any glue or other help (paper clips). But you do need to know that the assembly is a two step process, which is slightly more work than regular kusudama.