Origami Tessellation Instructions: Water Bomb Tessellation (Eric Gjerde)

Origami Tessellation Instructions: Water Bomb Tessellation (Eric Gjerde)


In this video I’m going to show you how to fold the water bomb tessellation by Eric Gjerde. It’s also diagrammed in the book “Origami Tessellations, Awe-Inspiring Geometric Designs.” We’re going to start with a square sheet of paper this one is 15 centimeters by 15 centimeters or about 6 inches by 6 inches large and the finished model will then be about this size which is 9 centimeters on each side, or approximately 3 and one-half inches on each side. Now if only one side is colored, start with the white side up and we’re going to divide the paper into 8 equal parts and that is what I advise you when you first do this model later you can divide into more parts, and I’m going to explain how to do the steps in a relatively general way so that you’ll be able to make larger models. So, first we’re going to divide into 8 equal parts in this video, so just bring the edges to align, to make a crease halfway, and unfold. Then bring each of edges to the crease you just created. Try to make all of these creases sharp, and try to get all of these folds to be valleys, so if you decide to divide the paper into 8 equal parts differently, just be sure that all of them will be valley folds. Next, bring the edge to the quarter crease, and then the three-quarter crease, then rotate and again, fold to the quarter, and the three-quarter crease. Then rotate, and again divide into 8 equal parts. First in half, then in quarters, and then eighths. Then turn the paper over, and now we’re going to make some diagonal creases. The first two are a bit …..actually, so I’m just going to start in this corner. We’re going to crease just between these two grid points. So bring this point to where one quarter intersects with the other quarter. And then also do the other diagonal of that small square. Be sure to only crease along the diagonal of two small grid squares and always make very strong creases. So this is the first set of diagonal creases and we’re going to make several more these, and I’ll tell you how to position them. You can see that you have a square consisting of four small squares here, and right next to it you’re going to go one to the right, and then one up right here you’re going to start the next one. And you always use that rule. Always start with one to the right, and in the top of those two squares. And you need to fill the paper like that, the whole way and sometimes you would rotate, but we’ll see that in a second, so first let’s make the next set of diagonal creases here. You want to fold accurately so when you kind of know where you need to go, always align the paper with the grid and then make a nice accurate sharp crease. And then the other one. Always trying to get accuracy by aligning on the grid. So there’s the second one. Then let’s do the next one right here. And the next one right here. Always following that rule that I gave you. One to the right and then take the top square. Now we have four of these Xs and let’s now rotate the paper and do the same thing again. For example if you look at this X, the next one will be one to the right, then the top one so there’s an X right here. And then we can put another one right here. And you want to fill the whole pattern with this. Let’s see which ones are missing … For example, if you rotate like this, you can see you have one of those Xs, and you can’t see any creases here yet so let’s do those next. Oh, do it the other way around so that you can align the paper on the grid to get nice accuracy. And the other direction. And the next one I think right here. I go round the square quite chaotically, but it’s easy to see where some are missing. So when you use a grid with higher divisions you know, you can always check which ones are missing. I’m doing this one next. Let’s see … let’s do this one next. And which one’s next? We’re almost done here. Let’s see. Right here on the border we’ve got an X but this square isn’t creased yet, so we need to put an X right here. And as you can see, this X is only partly on the square so be sure to go along all the borders. For example, here one is missing. …and here. And this one is missing. … and that one. And let’s have a look around … It’s looking pretty much done. I think the only one missing is this one right down here. If you imagine an X here, then this would have been the top square on the right. And then all crease patterns should be done. Now we can collapse the whole thing. We’re basically going to form a lot of water bomb bases so let’s just take one of these Xs that end on an edge and just try to get that in place a bit. The basic idea is that where the diagonal folds cross, you will go down and the four points of the square where those diagonals are on, those are all going to be pointing upward. So if you want to go around and push in the centers of those Xs that will help. And then you might also want to push out the corners. But you can do that as you go along too. So, pushing those in and out. So, let’s just try to get the second one here. Like that, just pushing it together a bit and right here, like this one is pushing those together a bit. and let’s not worry about the one that’s on the edge. This one … and the more you do, the simpler it will probably get. Because the paper is starting to take on the shape that you want. So you can see here, it’s not really pointing down yet, so press down, and then those will fall into place. Press up here … This is why I really want you to do, basically, as seen from the colored side, mountain folds on all the horizontal and vertical creases and valley folds on all the diagonals because then collapsing won’t be really that hard. I’m trying to make this quite slowly so you can see what’s happening. But basically the direction of the creases will cause the paper to do what you want. You might have to push on the valleys so they go inside, but when pushed from the back so that the mountains really pop up. And like that, you just start making the model 3D. Right here you can see it’s inside but it’s supposed to pop out, so just push from the back. You can probably hear this paper when it pops up. And then you’ll start getting something like this. And you just want to then gather it up and push it together. You can hold it from the back. You can see here there’s all these kind of sunken Xs. You might want to push them together to make them stronger by just – what I do is – I take my fingers (I take three usually) and put them in the pockets and then press together. Like so. And then your model is basically done. You can see that when you press it together quite hard, – let’s see if I can hold it with one hand – that you have all these squares, basically, cubes and when you pull it apart a bit it opens up. And you have to decide for yourself how much you want it to collapse whether it be quite tight or whether you want to open it up a bit. And the more you make, the funner it gets and the more the paper will probably want to curl, too. So here it is. Hope you enjoyed it!

99 thoughts on “Origami Tessellation Instructions: Water Bomb Tessellation (Eric Gjerde)

  1. if you wouldnt mind maybe you could make one with lines that are straight instead of dotted lines? its kind of confusing 🙂

  2. This one was nice and easy! I attempted to do an Escher steps tessellation I found on Flickr, but was unsuccessful. I could see some similarities to the clover folding and hydrangea, since it was inspired by Fujimoto. I'm horrible at completing ones with only a crease pattern and no real guide, so I'm gonna try and keep at it. I plan on looking up the model/technique that influenced it, and that way I'll have a better reference.

  3. @luyla1 Why does anybody do any hobby? They don't do it because it's boring, they do it because it's fun. That the point.

  4. What's so extraordinary about this model is its impossible to predict the emerging structure after pushing in the water-bomb basis ..

    No surprise, that once again your instructions were accurate and easy to follow .. thanks!

  5. @AdamsSara you totally right! in class me and my friend doing origami all the time and the teachers yell at us but who cares is fun!!

  6. Hello, Great video 🙂 I'm a big fan of yours, i have a question here, if you use a bigger paper size, will it be possible to have a complete spheere that can be closed as a ball ?
    Big Up Sara keep the ggod work ^^

  7. @toohardanouar Not without altering the model quite a bit. But you could try and connect two sides and get something similar to a "magic ball".

  8. @dscheatablegame There's an origami base called waterbomb base, which is the basis of this tessellation.

  9. @apatel98 To make this into a modular, you'd need to add flaps and pockets or some other sort of locking mechanism. These are not part of the design I presented. If you want to have more squares, simply fold a larger grid (i.e. with more divisions).

  10. Sara, i would like to know if i can make it but instead of squares, i could use hexagons, does it work the same way?

  11. i mean a water bomb made of hexagons, i like it because it does look like a skin, perfect for architecture

  12. Actually, I've thought about it, but for now I'll concentrate on videos. I fear I don't have enough time to dedicate to both videos and working on a book.

  13. thank you sara :DD i successfully created this beautiful model 🙂 is it possible if you make more tessellation models? i really am into tessellations these days and have done all of the tessellations in your videos, and i think there is only few of them 🙁 i thought of ordering eric gjerde's book but i find hard time following only by the diagrams…and ordering from my country is a bit difficult 🙁 so a little more tessellation models, i would be really happy :)) thanx

  14. The videos on tessellation techniques should help. As to videos showing how to fold a tessellation from start to finish – I currently don't have any planned. The next couple of videos I want to do some other stuff again, I've done quite a bit of tessellation stuff recently and do want to keep a nice balance. However, sometime in the future there'll definitely be more tessellation videos!

  15. Fold a grid with more divisions and then repeat the pattern I showed throughout. Hope this helps!

  16. The first time I did this I did a 16×16 grid and it worked out well, but I tried to do this from memory and forgot about the unfolded squares so I guess I got the magic ball pattern. Still looks neat though.

  17. I've done it!!! 🙂 however, in the end, my paper is a litle messed up. I think u r using a kind of paper that helps a litle to do the waterbombs…can you recomend a paper that is oriented to this kind of work?

  18. Thank you for this video tutorial. With your help, I made an origami sheep stop-motion animation video and linked to your tutorial video in the description. It's quite difficult to explain how to push the parts in and out to make the waterbomb tessellation. Your strategy of using three fingers is quite helpful. Here is my origami sheep, inspired by Beth Johnson but with my own pattern of a larger waterbomb tessellation crease pattern than she used and a totally different sheep body. I hope it's OK that I linked to your video.  http://youtu.be/8S_l1OQYe9g

  19. After I finished folding this design, it was a surprise to find the end model has such odd dimensions! Ended up being 3×3 squares, but with a number of extra random squares on differing sides. But then again, the original tessellation pattern wasn't symmetrical to start with, so I suppose it follows that the end-model would be asymmetrical. I guess it's very possible to either fold the 'offending' squares back into the model so they become unseen, or physically cut a few of the 'offending' squares out of the model (with scissors, shock horror) to make it rotationally symmetrical if desired. Nevertheless, the result is very pleasing to the eye.

    Thanks again Sara. 🙂

  20. I could listen to your voice all day! I like the way you smoothly edited the video to show the pen marks on new folds 🙂

  21. thanks for helping us with this wonderful art….where I am it is so difficult to find books… but at least with your bvideos I can follow up and improve my discoveries….

  22. #myfirst
    I had been folding origami for a long time and was looking for something new to try, when I came across this video on tessellations. I was so pleased to learn a new way of looking at paper folding.

  23. #myfirst this tutorial was a lot to start with but I got through it and managed to fold it successfully! Thanks for the awesome video!

  24. I cannot remember absolutely… but this is at least very close to being #myfirst video of yours; I do remember that it was this was first captured my attention to appreciate tessellations. Thanks!

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