by Lydia Miller
There is a sense of pride when a piece of clothing or jewelry attracts the attention of the people around you. That pride is doubled when you can say, “thanks, I made it myself”. Origami fish earrings are easy to make and are quirky and unexpected. All you have to do is decorate some paper, fold it, and poke a wire through the top and voila! Instant eye-catching earrings. They make great gifts, if you can bring yourself to give them away.
Before you even start folding, you have to think about the paper you want to use. You always have the option of using premade origami paper, but the earrings will be a lot more personalized if you decorate the paper yourself. Before you freak out and start making excuses about not being artistic or being bad with colors, calm down. Take a deep breath. Let it out. The decoration process is incredibly easy. All you need is colored printing paper, some foam, packing peanuts, a paper towel, and some markers. After you have gathered up all these supplies, simply pick a pretty color of paper and grab a few pretty-colored markers that sort of go with it. You honestly can’t go wrong.
Now comes the fun part. Pick out a marker that is slightly darker than your paper. Fold up the paper towel so that it has a thick folded edge, then color along the edge of the folded edge so that it is soaked in color. Pull the towel along the surface of your paper to create a misty look, or pound it on the paper to show the towel’s texture. Do whatever you want with it to create interesting textures and designs. Now for the packing peanuts. These are great for decorating because they are extremely versatile. All you have to do is color on the surface and use it as a stamp. You can use the side to make an “S”, you can use the top to make a wrinkly splotch or to create streaks of color, you can even break it open and use the inside. Pick a color or multiple colors and go to town on your paper. Cram the designs together, because not much paper is going to be seen in the final product. The foam is an optional touch. Foam is great for carving in a specific design and stamping it on, but if your paper is already pretty full, you may not need it. Congratulations, you have successfully decorated one side of your paper. Now you get to turn it over and repeat the process on the other side, but inverting the colors you just used. That way, when you fold the paper, it will have two different themes.
After you have finished decorating both sides of your paper, it is time to start folding. Cut two 2” by 2” pieces out of your decorated paper. Take one piece and fold it diagonally so that you are left with a small triangle. Take the two points of the longest side of your triangle and fold them upward diagonally to create a square or diamond. Take the two tips that you have just folded upward and fold them in half back down. You should still have a square, but it should be made up of two smaller triangles on the bottom and a large one on the top. Now take the tips of the two triangles you just folded down and fold them back upward at a slight diagonal so that the tips just barely stick out in the middle of the triangles they were folded away from. Take the square and turn it so that the part you just folded is on the top and one big, unfolded part is on the bottom. The bottom part should be two pieces of paper, one on top of the other. Take the top layer and roll it up to meet and slightly overlap the triangles you already folded, then press it down flat. You have just finished the face of the fish.
There should still be a tab of paper unfolded beneath the mouth of the fish. Pull that layer back and away from the inside of the fish face, then fold the paper down the center of the face and the center of the paper that you just pulled away from the fish. You should now have a pointed fish face with a sort of tadpole-tail hanging off the back. Fold that tail back against the fish head so that you have a square again, the crease the paper. Unfold the tail and use the crease as a guide line. Make a small cut along the crease starting at the bottom of the tail and going half way up. Open the tail and fold it back against the head. Put your finger about half way up from the fold you just made and fold the tail back away from the head. You should now have what looks like a fish without a bottom lip. You are going to create that bottom lip by folding the two corners of the open mouth toward each other around the end of a pencil. Put a small dab of glue on one corner and fold the other on top of it. Hold the corners firmly together for twenty seconds or until the glue dries. Once the glue has set, pull the pencil out of the mouth and your fish is done.
To turn the fish into and earring, all you have to do is poke a hole in the top with a needle, slide an eyepin through it through the hole, and attach it to an earring hook. You can decide whether to add colorful beads to your earring or to leave it plain. Now that you are finished with your fish earrings, you have only one decision left to make: whether to give them away or keep them for your own enjoyment and self-expression.