These Twist Lock Origami Boxes that I show you here in this article might seem to you just another origami box design. But I think this design is significant in several ways. The diagram was published in the 10th Tanteidan Convention book in 2004 under the name Hexagonal Lock Box. (Another source is mentioned below)
By the way, compare this 12 sided Dodecagon Twist Lock Origami Box to my 20 Sided Origami Twist Box. The methods to achieve these twisted pleats are completely different.
Origin of the Six Sided (Hexagonal Box) Twist Lock Origami Box
Over the last few years I have seen someone folding these origami boxes. But through my research (as I do with most of origami designs that I think have significance), I found out that Thomas Hull discovered this design 10 years before the other person. So the boxes from my article are all based on a diagram by Thomas Hull. To give proper credit: Origami Lock Box, designed 2004 by Thomas Hull. But I have seen a picture dated 2009 with a similar approach, designed by Francesco Decio. But I am almost 100% certain that he published this design in the CDO Convention book in 2000. That means that probably the true origin of this design is Francesco Decio even before 2000. Furthermore I found a picture of a box by Melina Hermsen from 2011 with a similar looking design. In recent time I have seen Philip Chapman-Bell aka Oschene playing with a 8 sided version of the design.
So, the true origin is either Francesco Decio or Thomas Hull. But I think it is important to mention also the other designers, as each one of them is influential in today’s origami.
Where Can I Find the Diagram
Sadly the book mentioned in the first paragraph is long out of print. I found a copy of the diagram on Pinterest. I added it to my account. This diagram explains the method with which you can create all other boxes you see in my article.
Why Is this Box So Significant?
Normally you can fold these kind of origami boxes with the twist fold method. Twist fold origami boxes were discovered by Tomoko Fuse, Shuzo Fujimoto and Toshikazu Kawasaki (and others). But these boxes from this article are not folded from a rectangle, which then connects to fold a tube and collapses. The Twist Lock Origami Boxes are folded from a polygon of whatever shape the finished box is. So for example a Hexagonal Origami Lock Box starts off from Hexagonal paper. A Octagonal Box from Octagonal paper, and so on.
Thomas Hull and the others mentioned only applied this to the Hexagonal Box. But once you understand the concept behind this origami design, you can fold any Polygon shaped box with it. The smallest n-sided box is an Origami Triangle Box, folded from an equilateral triangle. And the largest n-sided box I folded for this project was a 12 sided Polygon box, folded from a Dodecagon. You can read up more about Polygons here.
After you choose how many sides your origami box will have, you need to make a template of that shape. To make it easier for you to explore this interesting design, I made templates for regular Polygons, starting from a Triangle up to an Icosagon (20 sided Polygon). You might need to play with your printer settings to get the template size right. For example turn off printer margins to get the template up until the edges of your paper and/or change “page size” to custom.
Steps for Folding Any N-Sided Origami Lock Box
All n-sided boxes are based on the same principle. Fold diagonal to the corners (step 1 of diagram). Then measure from the middle to the corner, divide this into 3 (step 7 of diagram). Crease these divisions all around, so your paper is divided into 3 sections: One for the bottom of the box (inside section), next section is responsible for the height and the last one (most outside section) is for the locking mechanism. To make the design work you need to add 2 folds per side that start from the second section to the top in a 90 degree angle (step 9 and 10 of the diagram). The last crease you need to add is a fold going parallel to the corner crease, starting from the height part of the box (step 11 of the diagram). This is all you need to collapse your Twist Lock Origami Box. You can apply this to any regular shaped Polygon. I included a 20 sided Polygon template for this project, in case you want a challenge.
The collapse itself is much easier than the Origami Twist Boxes. Obviously the more sides your box has, the more challenging it is to do that. But overall it is still much easier than a twist box.
Also interesting to mention, the closing pleats on the top of the box are double the number of the sides your box has. For example an 8 sided box will have 16 pleats on the top, making it a beautiful origami box design. In my 12 sided origami box from this project, I effortlessly closed 24 pleats without any problems.
Triangle Box Hint
As you can see, I folded a Triangle box as well. In order for the triangle box to fully collapse, you need to add some additional folds.
Square Box Foot Note
The diagram from Thomas Hull can obviously also be adapted (as you can see from my examples) to 4 sided boxes. In my research into these boxes I discovered a different way to get to the same end result. Instead of adding 90 degree creases from the bottom box folds, I made the design work with only diagonal folds. Per side there are then 3 main diagonal folds and a tiny opposite side fold that tucks in the flap.