Waste Material Kusudama Balls




About: I"m back.

Kusudama - is a sphere composed of multiple interlocking origami modules folded out of square sheeth of material/ Traditionally it's believed, that kusudama's possess healing qualities. Anyways, here's a wikipedia page for you.

Treditionally kusudama balls are made of paper, but here I want to explore different materials that can be utilized to produce an array (I'm only showing one desigh here) of decorative objects.

This project was inspired by a tutorial video on ArtMobius YouTube Channel:

Step 1:

Ok, to begin, we'll be needing our materials. Ast the title suggests, those -are mostly garbage. I'll demonstrate the process using aluminium soda cans, but I'll also showcase two alternative options with plastic PET bottles and Tetra-Pak cartons involved.

The sphere I ended up using soda cans has 16,5cm in diameter, and it took 12 of 0,5L cans for making it. So if, you're not planning makink your kusudama half as small, a dozen of cans you'll need.

Step 2:

To cut sheets out of soda cans, you can just poke those with knife or scissors and cut what you need out. The result of such approach is usually quick but rather messy. Personally I prefer the next method.

Prepare two spacers for bottom and the top of the can and a box cutter. Simple construction, made of a piece of wood with a raised "fence" (as shown on the photo) has proven to be the most convenient-simple solution for me.

To cut the can - place the box cutter onto the spacer against the fence. You can use a plane block, but it makes blade quiet unstable during the process, and doing so I was constantly affraid to cut myself.

Make sure your knife has a fresh point exposed.

Put the can on table, push it sligtly against the tip of the knife and rotate it to score the line. Your goal here is not to cut the can with the knife, but to carve a line. Make few rotations. Add an aditional spacer for thr top part.

Step 3:

When the line is scored - push with your nail on the material to create a shear. You can also use knife to start the cut. Keep pushing to propagate the separation untill two pieces are... separated.

Here's a video demonstrating it much better then I;m descibing:

As you can see, this method creates fairly straight and accurate cut lines which allows you to use moste of the material. Also, since I'm going to use cut-off pieces for other projects, it's good to have a nice and atraight lines on them.

Step 4:

When all the cans are cut into tubes, make a cut along side to turn them into rectancular sheets.

By drawing the piece over the corner of the table you'll be able to straighten them to more or less workable state. But if for some reason you wan them as flat as possible, here's another video from youtube:


Step 5:

The next step is to cut the sheets into squares. You can sefinitely do it with scissors, but, since I've made a giullotine cutter recently, and this instructable is one of those I promissed to show it in work - I'm using a guillotine cutter. Needless to say, it makes the whole process much more quicker and pleasant, and if you want to make one for your own porpouses - here's my tutorial.

In any case, you'll need make 12 squares. I made mine having the sides of 12,5cm, since it was the biggest size, I was able to cut out the initial pieces, and I wanted to create as less waste as posible.

Step 6:

Separate your squares in two equal batches since there's two differents shapes they have to be transformed into.

But firstly, we'll have to crease the folding lines and to do this we'll need a circle template of the diameter equal to the size of squares, and an old magazine or simply a stack of paper.

Now, take your piece and mark diagonals with sharpie. No need to draw lines entirely - just the bit closer to the corner.

Place the square on a magazine. Align the circle template as shown on the photo and emboss the curve around it. You can use a special embossing tool, if you have one, but a regular ball pen will do the job as well. Just don't use any sharp-pointed objects since it can cause the material to cusp later.

Do all four sides.

These pieces will be hidden in the finished product, so It's not crucial which side of the sheet is facing up.

Step 7:

Now, using the lines created, bend the sheet into final shape.

Step 8:

The other set of shapes is formed in following way.

Put the square painted side facing up

Mark the middle of each side.

Emboss the curves connecting the marcs using the same circle template as previously.

Step 9:

Shape the sheets according to lines.

Step 10:

Now, two shapes have to be combined, as shown on the photos.

Basically, slide the second shape we've made onto the first one. Bend the corners over the edge of the first shape and flatten them.

This way we've created one of six modules necessary to create the sphere.

Step 11:

Take two modules and slide their corner one over another, thus connecting and interlocking them.

Keep adding new modules untill the sphere is complete.

The kusudama made of aluminium soda cans has the most potential to look impressive... but mine kind of suck. The joints aren't comming together and there'a some tear outs of the material are going on at some places... It happens, when you're doing things for the firsttime. In my next ones I have adressed those issues.

Step 12:

As to a possible implication for the aluminium ball - here's one. Just put a tea candle inside and youll get a candle holder/space heater (well atleas you'll be able to conveniently warm up your hands). Use something round, like a metal lid from a glass as a stand or poke a hole in top section with an awl and install a wire to hang the ball midair.

Step 13:

And now here's one made out of plastic bottles.

Using simply cilindricly shaped 1,25L bottles I was able to get two 12cm squares from each of them, so I used 6 bottles for this cusudama.

In general, the process was the same, but to make the creace lines in this case I'd recommend to use more pointy tool and even scratch the surface.

Since the transparent qualitie of the material you can utilize these spheres as lamp shades. Just use LED lamps to prevent overheating.

Step 14:

And the third kusudama I'm presenting was made from Tetre-Pak wine cartons.

Ignoring existing creace lines I was able to produce four 12cm squares from a single carton. You can see those lines present in the final product, but awoiding them would mean creating too many waste. Nevertheless, the finished sphere still looks appealing and can be used as a lightweight decoration piece at suitable event.

The Tetra-Pak cartones were the easiest and more pleasant to work with as a material of all three variants.

Step 15:

So, make your own mind on why'd you want to make a kusudama ball from waste materials, but anywa, it's an interesting project to try, and, maybe leave it hanging out on your bookshelf aftereard.

This is it fot now, thanks for your attention and have a nice balls.

If you like, what I do and what to support me, you can revard my job with the Amazon gift card. You can choose any amount to be sent, and any amount will help me to develop my content here. Use this link to order the card over the internet:

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    8 Discussions


    4 weeks ago

    This is so amazing on so many levels. Awesome idea for reusing old cans. Totally going to make it myself.

    1 reply

    5 weeks ago

    These are really impressive! I'm not sure I'd be able to fold and bend
    all that thin aluminium without cutting myself, but the end result sure
    is worth the try! :)

    1 reply
    Waldemar ShaXofHope

    Reply 5 weeks ago

    Thank you. Yeah, I should have warned about wearing gloves.


    5 weeks ago on Step 15

    looks like you could use any material to make the balls. I am going to make some right now !

    1 reply
    Waldemar ShaoldmaninSC

    Reply 5 weeks ago

    I'm pretty sure, you won't be able to use bricks... but since it's the internent, I'm also quiet scared of challenging anybody...