May 1, 2011

Origami Cat Tutorial - Snoozing Kitty by York Avenue Studio

This is an exciting post because I was very fortunate to try my hand at Origami using Paper PMC.  Paper PMC (Precious Metal Clay)  is the paper form of silver metal clay and has unique properties much different than the lump clay version of PMC.  After firing, the creation is 99.9% pure silver!  Here is my adventure:

Paper PMC - Origami Cat shown in practice paper

Cool Tools was having a Free Shipping sale, so I took advantage and ordered some Paper PMC.  I took this as an opportunity to try the paper version, because I only have so much room in my jewelry budget to explore.  Free Shipping, plus the notice that the prices were going up up up soon, prompted me to take a “Now or Never” leap of faith.

Sara Jayne Cole's Book on Origami Jewelry
Back in February, I won a Giveaway on for a book on Origami jewelry by Sara Jayne Cole.  Click here to see that post with links.  Since receiving the book, I have been wishing I could try the Origami.  Sara’s book is so wonderfully illustrated, great close ups, step by step projects, tips on finishing, patinas, etc. 
While I was waiting for my new Paper PMC order to arrive, I started practicing Origami with printer paper.  I Google searched for patterns and decided on the Origami Cat by Master Artist and Author, Tomoko Fuse. I was able to repeat the cat over and over on smaller and smaller pieces of paper, eventually getting used to the 6cm x 6cm size.  That is pretty small and that is the size of the sheet of PMC.  It’s about the length of your finger from tip just past the second knuckle.

Once the order arrived, I did a few more practice runs and almost gave up when my wonderful man told me flatly, “You’re gonna waste silver on a dog?”  Well, yes, I stuck to my original plan to make the cat because I could “feel” that the project would be just what I wanted!  A dog??? Seriously?!!

Tutorial for Origami Cat in Silver with Paper PMC

Silver Snoozing Tiny Kitty - Origami Cat by York Avenue Studio
Since the sheet of PMC doesn’t dry out once the package is opened, I took the opportunity to stop and take photos along the way.  I LOVE working with this type of metal clay!  There are so many differences compared to lump metal clay, all of them very exciting!

This tutorial may not be so user friendly if you are new to Origami, so here is the video for more details.

Step 1:  Open the package!
The sheet feels cold and weighty, just like rolled out lump metal clay.  It isn’t sticky, so I didn’t rub olive oil on my hands and tools.  It doesn’t stick to itself, so each fold is easily re-lifted as needed.  The sheet feels floppy, like thin polymer clay, but doesn’t stretch out of shape or smish.  The clay feels smooth and soft and it doesn’t dry out, so no rushing thru a project.  It also has no need for dry time, so once your done with the forming, it’s ready to fire!  This paper PMC is so much fun!

Step 2:  Start with a frog base.

The sheet is folded from one corner to the opposite corner, creased, then opened back up.  This gives you a nice line down the center in diagonal.  Bring one corner to that middle crease, line up the edge and crease.  Repeat on the opposite side.  This will give you a nice point.

Unfold back to flat and turn the paper 180 degrees and repeat using the same two corners, this time the point is on the other end, looks the same.  Unfold.
So far, you have a crease line down the middle, with crease lines on the left and right that make an “X”.

Step 3 - Flaps
Bring one corner up toward the middle crease, folding along the “x” crease till you reach the center, then carefully crease up vertically making the flap to a point.

Repeat on the other side.

Press both flaps down flat to point at the top, crease, then back up to where they were.  Press both flaps down flat to the point at the bottom, crease, keep them there.  Flip the piece over, with the flaps now on the under side of the piece, and turn the piece so the flaps are pointing away from you.  The top “V” layer will be folded next.

Step 4 - Making the Head

Lift the top “V” layer  until it is pointing at the ceiling.  Notice the bottom of that piece is the widest part.  Measure about ¼ inch up from the bottom and place your fingers to grip that spot with both hands on each side.  Keeping your grip, bring that “V” piece towards you until your fingers touch the rest of the piece, then fold away from you at that ¼ inch place, lining up the point with the middle line.  You want to keep the middle crease lined up top to bottom.  This last step will give you a little overlap at the top points of the “V”, with the flaps from step 3 underneath.

Step 5 - Making the Ears

Flip the piece over so the point you just folded is still pointing away from you, but is now the underside.  The short flaps are also pointing away from you.  Take the right flap tip and fold it to your left, lining it’s edge with the fold that goes left to right.  Take the left flap tip and fold it to your right, lining up the edge along the left-right fold.

Step 6 - Making the Body

Look at your piece.  The flap pointing towards you at the bottom is going to be the body/tail.  The flap at the top is going to be the face.  The little flaps folded together will be the ears.  Body, Face, Ears.

Take the tip of the point of the face and bring that flap over the top of the ears to lie flat, with the tip now pointing towards you.  Keep that flap in place, pick up the entire project and fold the entire piece in half along the center (lengthwise), using a Mountain Fold, which means the center comes up from the table and the sides fold down.  As you fold the body in half, stop holding the face flap in place as it will adjust as you fold the body and stand up a bit.  The ears will also adjust as you fold and stand up, too, underneath the face flap.

In the photo, I’ve folded the project in half, then set it down with the body to the left and the face looking right.

Step 7 - Finishes

Holding the entire project, grasp the face flap and gently pull it away from the ears, continue to bend the face until the point is facing down towards the table.  It will open up along the way and flatten out a bit.  The ears will also open up a bit as you do this.  The nose is super long.  Turn the face so it is looking at you.  Fold the nose under to shorten.  Fold again under to shorten more.  Press the face to keep it in place. 

To finish the body, select a point along the back and flatten out the remainder of the body to the tip of the tail.  From the point you’ve selected, reverse the fold to tuck the tail in between the body sides.  The tail will be folded in half and come out the bottom.  The piece of tail sticking out the bottom, fold it up on the front side of the body, then fold another little tip to point to the back.  This makes a little curled tail. 
I pressed the face and ears to face front and curled up the front paws.

I also used a tool to make a hole just behind the ear so I could attach the kitty to a necklace.

Step 8 - Firing the Cat

I set the cat face down on a firebrick and used a butane torch, holding the piece at an orange glow for 5 minutes.

Step 9 - Polish and Patina

I used a wire brush to scratch/burnish the white matte finish off.  Then I sanded with 600 grit, 1200 grit and 2000 grit.

I used Liver of Sulfur gel in warm water with 2 tablespoons of ammonia.  I dipped the piece for a few seconds, then swirled in cold water.  I repeated until I got the colors I liked, then soaked the piece in water with baking soda.

Hand polished with a cloth.

Origami Cat - Silver Snoozing Tiny Kitty by York Avenue Studio
I am super pleased with the patina color which is blue-purple and silky.

The little hole I made behind the ear to attach to a necklace was covered after firing.  The good thing about paper pmc is that it doesn’t fire together but rather each flap is still separate and can be nudged gently apart to tweak the points.  I could easily bend the ear out a bit to uncover the hole I made.

The silver is similar to 26 gauge sheet and flexible if using pliers.  Be careful when using any power tools, like a drill or you will destroy your project before you know it!

Here is a photo showing my practice paper kitty next to my silver kitty!

I would love to hear your comments about my Origami Kitty and also love to see any photos of projects you’ve done with Paper PMC!

1 comment:

  1. 'Kitty' turned out lovely, just imagine him in front of a fire all snuggled up!