At one point, everybody enjoyed making it at as a kid: Paper crafts! Just by cutting and folding you can create your own line of unique paper toys. As it doesn’t require any special technique, all of you big-clawed fellas too, can have fun making these delicate paper toys slowly and carefully at your own pace. Once you get the hang of it, try a bit more of the difficult paper crafting such as animals and insects, then move on to the outright challenging wind-up toys or spaceships. For today, PingMag is visiting the AssistOn gallery space in Harajuku for its current paper crafting exhibition. And hold your breath…afterwards the PingMag crew will try to engage in paper crafting too.
Written by Ryoko
Written by Rie Ishimi
Paper crafts can be pretty anything made out of paper, from architectural models to wind-up toys. The pattern for each of the model is printed on paper and cut out along the lines. Then, each piece is attached and assembled. The elaborate structure of, say, a paper swan or a cathedral is overwhelming. Amazing, what you can do with paper alone!
The works currently exhibited in AssistOn are sold by the publishing company Shubunsha Co., Inc. Shubunsha handles various books related to architecture and recently has been working on the Japanese version of Une Petite Maison, designed by famous architect Le Corbusier. It’s no secret that the president of Shubunsha has long been an avid fan of this captivating hobby. The company started producing paper-crafting books on various fields in hope to appeal to wide range of audience – and find as much joy as their president did. Seeing is believing: Open your eyes to the wondrous world of paper crafts:
All of God’s Creatures
First, let’s start with the works of various creatures. Animals are always familiar things that we could relate to, so here’s the paper elephant, the paper giraffe, the paper dolphin, and the paper penguin and last but not least, the paper dinosaur. Interestingly, some paper crafts are waterproof and even designed to be played with in the bathtub or even swimming pool! Sounds amazing, but since we didn’t get that far today, we invite our beloved readers to experiment and get back to us if you will…
… and his pal, a waterproof paper penguin, next to a little turtle.
Since this consists of only one piece, this paper beetle can be assembled without scissors and glue. If you are into bugs, that looks really cool!
Paper crafting is a great source of reference for individuals studying architecture. Re-creating miniature houses and buildings through paper crafting helps future architects understand all the process; as building them in 3D with CAD software is certainly not enough. One of the good examples is Katsura-rikyu – a representative of traditional Japanese architecture, often referred to as a masterpiece of the Edo period. Currently, some of the rooms in the actual Katsura-rikyu are not open to the public. So you’ve better luck understanding the structure by sticking to all the details of its paper-crafted version, and building one for yourself!
You can also see the inside of the paper building.
The inside of a hotel. Even the tiniest details are re-created exquisitely!
Paper Tin Toys
Next, we are going to show you some paper crafted tin toys that were quite popular in Japan in the 1950s. It’s getting increasingly difficult to get authentic tin toys from that era. But thanks to paper craft you can still get the overall picture. The following series are courtesy of Mr. Teruhisa Kitahara, curator of Hakone’s Tin Toy Museum:
The book includes three models such as original paper models from the “Kitagawa Collection 01” and “Smoking Robot”. You can see the movie, click here!
Finished wind-up paper of the “Smoking Robot”. If you turn the side-handle, the robot starts walking for real!
The paper crafting book titled KARAKURI no MOTO includes the works by paper crafting designer Keisuke Saka. He created the paper tin toys shown above. This book includes 10 models and comprehensively describes the basic structures of movable paper crafts.
The cover of KARAKURI no MOTO, a book about movable paper crafting.
This page shows some reference examples about the movement and the structures. There are all kinds of unique wind-up paper-crafts.
Paper Cartoon Characters
As mentioned earlier, one of Shubunsha’s goals is to invite people of all ages to enjoy creating paper crafts – and ideally while chatting with kids. Have a look at some of kids’ favourite and popular cartoon characters made to out of paper:
Finally, PingMag gave paper crafting a try!
Now it’s our turn: sitting in the sunny office, we started with the easy ones called “Easy to make – Frog” and, Oh My God! those sweet childhood memories, the Paper Trolls from the Moomin Valley!
We cut out each piece carefully with scissors in order to avoid tearing the delicate pieces with fingers… Actually, in the end it wasn’t necessary to use scissors.
Cutout pattern. This shape actually reminded us of the time when we had to dissect a frog in anatomical class… Ugh!
Little Me of the Paper Trolls from Moomin Valley. Unlike the paper frog, there are more pieces to cut out and then each of the delicate pieces had to be put together. It was pretty hard to assemble, especially Me’s head. But during the process, we became full of nostalgia for the good old days when we were little kids immersed in our curiosity…so we did enjoy the experience quite a lot!.
Cut the pattern carefully and slowly…
Every piece has to be cut out accurately!
There are awfully many types of cute paper crafts. So, why don’t you take this opportunity and try one for yourself? The paper crafting exhibition exhibition might give you some inspiration. It runs through May, the 31st, at AssistOn in Harajuku. So, check out these beautiful crafts! When you see the paper crafts first hand, you will be quite impressed and taken by their delicate details.