Personal, Zen

Zen in the art of origami


At the end of January, my parents closed their store in DFW Chinatown, which sold Chinese language media (books, CDs, magazines, DVDs, VCDs), Sanrio items (Hello Kitty), Asian gift items, Chinese cultural items, Asian skincare products and an assortment origami. I bought a bunch of their leftover inventory because so much of it is SOOOO CUTE and also very difficult to find in white-washed Austin (or anywhere in the US except for Chinatowns).

I got this hair-brained idea that I would create a homemade Valentine’s card for the big kid’s class. As you can see from the final product, I bit off a little more than I could chew. But chew I did!


The whole idea started with folding the little lucky stars. One of the girls who used to work at my parents’ store taught me how to fold them when I was maybe 9 or 10, and I never forgot how to do it after all these years.

The strips of paper already had cute hearts printed on them, and I thought I could find a store bought card that could serve as a container. Except store bought cards can be really boring, and I had already cheaped out the last two Valentine’s by sending the kid with a $4 box of cards to distribute. For the record, I think there is nothing wrong with going with the $4 box. Sometimes or many times, you have to just check the box of what your kid needs to take to school and call it a day.

In my search for a suitable container, I came across a simple box that worked well with the 6 inch x 6 inch solid color origami paper. And while it wasn’t perfect, you could take two identical boxes and mush them together to make a lidded box. This is the tutorial I used for the box. 

The box alone seemed a little plain, so then I found this tutorial of an easy heart with wings to put on top. I used 3 inch x 3 inch origami paper with fun prints to make the hearts instead of the 6×6, and they turned out just right for the boxes.


With stars, boxes and hearts all made, the last touch was something to indicate who the sender was. The little fortune cookie size slips of paper were by far the easiest to make. I let the copy/paste function work in Word and then printed a sheet of them to cut. DONE.

The kid involvement part was letting him count the boxes, place 2 stars and the note in each box, choose which color box to go with which color lid, and finally choose which heart to attach to each box. Not too shabby for someone who can’t craft or Pinterest or decorate for the life of me. But I sure as hell can fold paper like an Asian BOSS! 😀


The folding was really rather therapeutic once I got past a couple of botched throw-aways. I did most of it while the husband and I caught up on our TV shows in the evenings. Between laundry and origami, I seem to always be folding SOMETHING at night. This exercise now has me convinced that the Japanese really have this zen thing figured out. Maybe next, I’ll move on to ikebana, or the art of flower arranging.

By the way, if anyone is interested in purchasing origami or other merchandise mentioned, shoot me a note at and I can figure out what inventory is available and ship it to you.

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  1. Pingback: Origami zen: Sailboats and tulips | Finding Drishti

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