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Crafting reuse: newspaper origami and #6 plastic Shrinky Dinks

One summer evening, a mom friend from our preschool babysat my kids, and enchanted them with origami creations: kimonos, churches, boxes, animals! It was all quite fantastic, and not having seen the actual folding of the origami papers, I came to the false conclusion that it must be easy. Flash forward to Christmas. My older daughter received an origami kit as a gift. We tried it out a few days ago with canoes. Holy cow! It's so much harder than it looks (or perhaps I am just origami-impaired?) After struggling to create a canoe for each child, we combed the instructions booklet for origami creations with as few steps as possible. I eye the short stack of pretty origami paper that came with the kit, and wonder how I will ever help my kids create anything beautiful and not shred or improperly fold or end up tossing the majority of these paper squares into the recycling bin in a fit of frustration (aren't I an excellent role model?)!

A few words with my origami guru friend calms my concerns. She says you can use any kind of paper to make origami. Newspaper, junk mail, old school papers, you name it.


Just start with a square, as most origami directions call for. It's all proportions. So we cut the majority of the advertising inserts and the comics from the Sunday paper into 6.5" x 6.5" squares, and voila, we are now set to create! So far I have mastered the butterfly, cat head and dog head. Knowing I do not have to buy special new art supplies makes me much more excited about origami.

On a side note, I also have heard from my personal Shrinky Dink guru that #6 plastic can be used for Shrinky Dinks, instead of buying special shrink plastic. I've yet to try it, but love the idea of reusing something we already have just sitting in the "to be recycled" bin instead of buying new.


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