Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Playing Koi

Here on the west coast of Canada, Chinese New Year is a really big deal!

Our kids celebrate it at school (Oliver's contribution for tomorrow's fete - baby mandarin oranges - purchased and chilling!) and there are plenty of community activities on the weekends to bring in the year of the sheep with style.

As an art instructor, I'm always trying to teach a new skill in a current theme children may also be exploring in their classrooms during the day.

Hence: koi fish folding; the perfect paper project for beginners and intermediate folders alike!

Here's how:


The competed piece.

Here is the template we'll need.  I printed this onto plain white computer paper and had the children colour their own designs.  To make this even easier, turn these into tracers and trace them onto the red "lucky money" envelopes kids receive at this time of year!




Once they've been coloured in beautiful patterns, cut the shapes out, then make the two small cuts at the front of the fish.




Put a small amount of white glue in front of the incision, folding the front of the fish down, pinch and hold, creating a 3-D effect of the fish's head.




Once both sides of the koi's head are holding, pinch on the fold line near it's tail.




Now, slide the second cutout - the koi's tail - in between the fold.




One quick staple and voila - the tail is attached!




Turn your piece over on it's back.  Spread a small amount of white glue in the four spots illustrated here:




Now for the magic!  Secure your koi onto your chosen background by pressing down on the koi's glued front fins...




...and now holding down on it's tail for a few seconds (make sure to create the appearance of movement by twisting the tail to one side or the other).




We created an extra special background for this koi by using a local Chinese newspaper to collage!




More advanced?  Shrink the template and create a tiny school of koi!





Do you remember all the paper folding tricks you knew when you were a kid?  Can you still remember any?


20 comments:

  1. Melissa, those paper Koi look fantastic and almost real :)
    I wrote about my childhood/teens spent in Asia on my blog today, so Chinese New Year always holds a
    special place in my heart! Happy year of the goat!

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    1. It's such a great mid-winter celebration: colourful and good food too!!

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  2. What a fun little project. I bet the kids love coloring and folding them :)

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    1. Thanks Edi...the kids DID love patterning them and were amazed to see them become 3D. I'm hoping they pull out this party trick when they declare they're "so bored" at home ;)

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  3. That's so cool! What a great project. :D

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  4. Those are so fun! My elementary school in Chicago celebrated Chinese New Year, too, and it was always one of my favorite things. I remember my first grade teacher was really excited about it and we spent a whole day doing special activities.

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    1. I imagine most big cities are in on the celebrations these days; back in my day (elementary school in the '80s), I really don't recall it being a 'thing' yet though. When it comes to celebrations, more is more though!

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  5. So cool! They look very life like! I'd love to make these with Essley when she gets a little older. I wish we celebrated the Chinese New Year more here. I love all of the color and fun decor.

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    1. I remember being at a Chinese New Year parade when Charlotte was about E's age and one of the roaming dragons got close to her and flopped his fluffy eyelashes at her - you've never seen such terror! Luckily she's more enamored by them now...they're so fun and colourful!

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  6. Hi from Ontario! Those koi are really lovely, love how they look on the newsprint background.

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    1. Thanks Stephanie! Yes the background was born out of both form and function: I needed to fill and hour and a half class...ripping and pasting always takes a good amount of time. Also, it provides a really edgy neutral for the colourful fish!

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  7. Oh my gosh, these are so cool! You make it look so easy. I'll have to try this with the kiddos. =0)

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    1. They really ARE easy! You could sit around with friends making a whole school of these...some vino and snacks and I'm pretty much describing my ideal soiree...

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  8. oh wow.. i love these.. beautiful.

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    1. Thanks Hena...means a lot coming from you!

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  9. What a sweet craft! The koi look adorable. They would be fun to hang on a mobile.

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  10. Oh my! How cute are those koi! Thanks for the template and instructions!

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  11. Love these! I used to fold nearly every piece of paper I came across as a kid :-)

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  12. These are sooo cute! Thanks for sharing this!

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