Saturday, February 11, 2012

A little peak...

A lot has changed since we took down our homeschooling blog nearly two years ago. Just a note to say life continues to be an adventure and our family has new baby girl, Rinna Rose

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Star Lantern Tutorial

This little project has been on my list of things to make for a very long time. Our friend Emily made them with her classmates a few years ago for her school's Winter Fair. I had a small lantern to set on my nature table since then but I finally broke down and took it apart to figure out how to make one myself. I have looked for instructions everywhere but could not find them so here is my interpretation. If any one knows of an actual printed source please share it with me, because I do not know if I can explain it very well. I am very visual so I will give a photo for each step. It would be very nice to have a little video camera to do this but, alas...Step One: Paint a large piece of water color paper with water colors, I think Wet-on-Wet method looks best, and bolder colors are more stunning (as compared to very pastel). A lot of us may have some old water color paintings from our children lying around, these are perfect and may save a step.Step Two: Once it is dry rub the back side of the painting with oil, I used canola oil but you could use whatever you have around, I rubbed it lightly using a paper coffee filter or you can use a paper towel. Let this soak in over night. Rubbing the paper with oil makes the paper more translucent and makes it easier to fold.

Step Three and Four: Using a compass make a nice big circle and cut it out. Fold it in half evenly four times creating an eight division of a circle. Here, I am doing my folding in half, always with the unpainted side up (in origami these would be called valley folds.)
Now, you can turn this into a technical geometry project with your straight edges and compasses but we have done that several times in our math lessons, so here I am just making sure my folds always lined up when I am doing this; kind of like origami-precision is key to a beautiful end productStep Five: Connect two points of the eight division to create an octagon and cut it out. Again!..It is important for everything to be as precise as possible so the final folding of the lantern is even. Step Seven: If I haven't lost you yet, hang-on! Now we are going to fold the hexagon again to create a sixteen division of the hexagon. But, this time flip the paper over so the folds are going the other way. When you are finished you will have "mountains" and "valleys" every other crease.
Step Eight and Nine: From this hexagon we are going to it fold four times to make a square, I think these photos (above and below) explain it well. After you fold it into a square, unfold it and create another square by rotating the hexagon (2/16) and fold again. I don't know if I am explaining this well, but you should be able to figure this out after staring at the piece of paper for a few minutes...this next photo may help a bit.Step Ten and Eleven: After you have folded it into a square two times, holding on to one of the corners of a square, fold back, like this. Go around to all of the corners of this square and repeat. (After doing one square, refold it into the other square and fold back all of those corners, as well). This is a lot of folding and unfolding but it is worth it because the star lantern will virtually fold itself after this step-with some gentle persuasion.
*Hint: Make sure these all of these folds have nice creases. You can do this by folding them away from you the first time (mountain fold) and then folding it toward you the second time (valley fold) so it is very flexible. It is worth the extra effort.

FINAL STEP!!!: When you open it all up, this is what your paper will look like (except your center will not look like that): It will have some distinct "Diamond/Kite" looking folds and now you are going to transform this into a three-dimensional lantern by holding it and folding all of the tops of the "kites" back- all the way around the hexagon, after the you fold back the first few you will have to begin to shape the bottom. I do this two ways: pushing down the bottom from the inside and by flipping it over and creasing the bottoms. This is not precise, you just have to play with it until it is relatively even And Voila!!! You have a beautiful star lantern to light your way through the dark time of the year! Hopefully that was relatively painless. Two bits of advice; first one from Amelia, don't let yourself get overwhelmed with the big picture just take one step at a time and don't look ahead. Second, If you want to share this craft with your children, do it a couple times by yourself to make sure you understand all the steps (and so they are out of ear shot if you begin to cry or curse). I really recommend this for older children 5th grade or above (possibly younger if they don't frustrate easily) but you can involve younger ones in this project by letting them do the painting and them having the star "show up" on the first evening of Advent.