Intro: Folded Paper Packet
Here is a simple folded paper packet that has a multitude of uses in a variety of settings. Once you know the folding technique (origami-style), the paper packets can be made in just a few minutes.
Step 1: Design Considerations
The paper packets can be made from a variety of paper having various colors, patterns and textures The paper must be square in shape. Any size is possible but any square that is less than 8.5 inches (21.6 cm) on a side will produce a packet that won't hold much.
The following size ranges are a guide to the size of paper packets that can be made from different sized square sheets of paper.
18 inch = 6.5 x 8.5 inch packet
(45.7 cm = 16.5 x 21.5 cm packet)
12 inch = 4.25 x 5.75 inch packet
(30.5 cm = 10.8 x 14.6 cm packet)
10 inch = 3.5 x 5 inch packet
(25.4 cm = 8.9 x 12.7 cm packet)
8.5 inch = 3 x 4 inch packet
(21.6 cm = 7.6 x 10.2 cm packet)
Step 2: Start and Finish
Step 1: Start with a square sheet of paper (Photo 1) and lay the printed side facedown on the table.
Step 2: Take the upper left corner and bring it down to the lower right corner and fold into a triangle as seen in Photo 2. Rotate the triangle so that the longest edge is closest to you and the opposite peak is pointing away from you, as seen in Photo 3.
Step 4: Take the peak and bring it down to the base of the triangle, in the middle, and fold (Photo 4).
Step 5: Fold the left leg of the triangle to the right, ensuring that an overlap of about 1 inch of the top edge is part of the fold (Photo 5). Keep the top and bottom edges even as you crease the fold. Different sizes of paper will have different lengths of overlap. An approximate length is fine as the important thing is to ensure that a portion of the top edge is included in the fold.
Step 6: Unfold the left leg and then fold the right leg to the left, bringing the point of the right leg almost to the fold of the left leg as seen in Photo 6.
To close the paper packet, insert one of the legs into the leg of the other and then fold flat, as seen in Photos 7 and 8. Trim the legs as needed so that the legs fit properly and the packet folds easily and flat.
Photo 9 shows the front of the paper packet and Photo 10 shows the back of the packet.
The folded paper packet can be better secured with an adhesive sticker (as seen in Photo 10) or a piece of adhesive tape.
Step 3: Inside the Packet
The packet serves as a convenient place to store things. You could, for example, insert a card with an invitation to go camping or you could simply write your invitation on the backside of the paper before folding it up, as seen in Photo 1.
The packets are excellent not only for storing harvested seed, but also serves as a seed-planting aide for small seeds. As shown in Photo 2, simply unfold one of the legs and use the long tapered cone to sprinkle tiny seed into the soil.
The paper packets are great for partitioning out dehydrated meals for extended backpacking trips (Photo 3). Once the contents are emptied, the packet can be unfolded, flattened and used as a placemat to keep food and utensiles off of the dirt. Once meals are consumed the paper packet can be used in any way that paper is normally used...messages, impromptu sketches, pressing plants (if allowed) or simply used to start the next campfire (if allowed). This conveniently cuts down on plastic or other synthetic packaging materials that would otherwise have to be carried around for the duration of the backpacking trip for proper disposal once the trip is over. The paper packets should, however, be collectively carried in a plastic zip bag or bear canister to protect against moisture.
Step 4: Idea Generator
The folded paper packets are easy and fun to make and there are so many uses beyond the few I have described here.
I like to think of these humble paper packets as "Idea Generators" because once I see an interesting piece of paper, whether it is in the recycling bin or an interesting pattern that I can print from the internet, the ideas start flowing as to how I might make a packet for a particular use or event.
Even in its simplicity the paper packet adds an extra touch to whatever use we might put it to.