Origami mobile tutorial: cranes garland

As promised, here is a new tutorial.

I’ll show you how to make this kind of pretty origami vertical garland.

Origami is a nice and relaxing activity that I recommend to everyone. There is something peaceful about folding paper with care that is similar to threading beads or knitting: I guess it has to do with the repetition of simple movements.

I make garlands with cranes, the most common folding, but of course there are plenty of other shapes to choose from.



You will need: 

  • 5 sheets of origami paper (4 x 4 in.)
  • 28 in. of stringing wire or any resistant thread
  • 16 bicone Swarovski crystals (see below)
  • 17 crimp beads
  • 1 small metal bead (2 mm)
  • 1 larger bead (around 0.5 in.) or a tassle
  • 1 head pin
  • cutting pliers, flat-nose pliers and round-nose pliers

origami garland tutorial

I selected four types of Swarovski bicone crystals, shown above:

  • 5 light brown crystals to go under the cranes as the crimp beads would be too small to hold them in place (4 mm)
  • 5 very small light browns crystals to go on top of the cranes (2 mm)
  • 4 black crystals to go in-between the cranes (4 mm)
  • 2 yellow crystals to go on the very top and the very bottom of the garland (4 mm)

Feel free to change colours and types of beads for your garland!


Step 1 : the cranes

For this tutorial, I chose paper in sunny yellow tones. Some are plain and some have patterns; I like mixing the two.

origami garland tutorial

First things first, let’s fold! Here is how to fold a crane. We will need 5 of them.

origami garland tutorial

Two down, three to go. I enjoy listening to music or a podcast while keeping my hands busy.

Voilà! All five cranes are done.

Prick each crane’s back with a needle so you can thread the wire through it later. There is no need to make a hole on their bellies as the folding already leaves a space there.


Step 2: the top loop

First, we will make the loop from which to hang the garland. Slide a crimp bead on the wire and make a loop by threading the wire back through the bead, as shown in the picture below. Leave a bit of a wire tail so the bead has a good hold, but don’t make it too long.

Flatten the bead using the flat-nose pliers.

origami garland tutorial

Thread a yellow crystal and slide it through the wire tail to hide it. If the tail is too long, you can cut it. Then thread another crimp bead and flatten it so the crystal holds into place.

Your garland’s top loop is now ready!

Step 3: beading

Now thread the cranes and their accompanying beads, in order: one small brown crystal, one crane, one regular-size brown crystal, and lastly one crimp bead.

I don’t put a crimp bead on top of the crane: it’s not necessary and the result looks better that way.

Measure approximately 2 inches (5 cm) from the yellow crystal to the small brown crystal on top of the crane. Then flatten the crimp bead.

origami garland tutorial

For this manipulation, I find it easier to hang the garland on a nail and work vertically. Gravity helps measuring: push the beads and crane high then let them slowly come down until they are where you want them to be. Pinch the wire just below the crimp bead to hold it in place then flatten it.

origami garland tutorial

When your first crane is up, thread a crimp bead at a 1.5 in. distance of the previous one, and flatten it. Thread a black crystal and another crimp bead, flatten it. Next will be another crane like the first one, then another black crystal, then a crane, etc. Rinse and repeat five times, finish with the last crane. Here is a breakdown:

origami mobile sketch

Step 4: the bottom loop

Same concept as the top one.

Thread and flatten a bead at a 2 in. distance of the previous one. Thread a yellow crystal and another crimp bead. Using your round-nose pliers, make a smaller loop that goes back through the crimp bead and crystal. Cut the excessive wire if necessary so the loop is small, and flatten the bead.

origami mobile

The bottom loop is now ready.


Step 5: the weighted end

You now have a large bead, a small metal bead and a head pin left. I like teardrop-shaped beads to end the garlands, but a tassle look very nice too. Just be careful it weights enough so that the stringing wire is straightened when hanging.

Set the beads on the pin.

Cut the excessive part of the pin. I leave about a finger’s width, as shown in the picture.

Using the round-nose pliers, make a loop; don’t close it yet.

Hitch this open loop with the garland’s bottom one then close it using the flat-nose pliers.

Congratulations, the garland is now done! You can hang it anywhere you like. It looks lovely either on a wall or on the side of a mirror, door or window. The cranes can spin freely on the wire so they interact nicely with the wind.

Origami mobile

origami mobile

There can be many variations on this theme: you can hook several garlands on a stick and make it a wide wall decoration. Or hook them on a circular hoop to make an origami mobile to hang above a crib. The limit is your imagination… so no limit at all.

Happy folding!


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Asymmetrical necklace tutorial – Séraphine

Today, I will show you how to make “Séraphine”, a lovely model of asymmetrical necklace. It takes a bit of calculation, trial and error when ’re improvising it, but once you’ve got the measures down, it’s fairly easy to make.

You will need: 

asymmetrical necklace DIY

  • 4 beads  of your choice (12 mm)
  • 8 small beads (2 mm) [optional]
  • 4 pins (3 eye pins, 1 head pin — or 4 head pins)
  • 7 jump rings (5 mm)
  • Around 70 cm of chain (27.5 in.)
  • 1 clasp
  • 1 extension chain [optional]
  • Flat nose pliers, round nose pliers, and cutting pliers.

asymmetrical necklace DIY

Set 3 of the 4 beads on the pins and make an eye loop at each end using your round-nose pliers. For the 4th bead, choose a head pin and make only one eye loop on top. It will be the ‘hanging’ bead. I chose this pattern: 1 small bead, 1 large, 1 small. But you can change it as you like, of course.

Tip : you don’t ever need to buy eye pins. Simply buy head pins and cut the head off to make the eye loop yourself. It will save you money and time!

asymmetrical necklace DIY

Connect these 4 beaded pins with jump rings, putting the one with a head pin at the bottom, but don’t close the rings yet.

Now, cut 5 strands of chain, following the measures below (in centimeters) — here is the conversion:

16 cm = 6.3 in. / 14 cm = 5.5 in. / 13,5 cm = 5.3 in. / 7 cm = 2.7 in.

asymmetrical necklace DIY

Attach the 3 strands of chain (13,5, 14 and 16 cm) to the rings as shown, starting from the bottom, and close them. To the 4th ring, attach the second 16 cm chain strand and close the ring. At the other end, attach the clasp with another ring.


Take the first 3 strands of chain and attach them at the end, all together, to another ring. Add to this the last 7 cm chain strand and close the ring. Add at the end the clasp ring and extension chain.

Voilà !

asymmetrical necklace

asymmetrical necklace

You are now the proud maker of a very elegant and original necklace. In my experience, it is usually quite successful in social situations; I always get compliments.

Have fun!

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Acetone transfer – DIY

Today, a quick tutorial!

If you ever need to draw something on a piece of fabric or any other material you can’t print on, but you don’t feel confident enough to draw it freehand, this article is for you. I’ll show you how to easily ‘print’ a template to help.

To decorate our LARP shop, B. and I made a shop sign. At first, we considered painting on a wood panel, but then transportation would be less convenient than fabric. B. had pieces of leather lying around, which were perfect.

We had designed together the shop’s logo.


The drop of ink is also a bead! Clever, isn’t it? I know, technically, bijoux et tattoos isn’t correct: tattoo is tatouage in French. But it rhymed, so we said ‘screw it’.

Because we hadn’t much time and our leather piece wasn’t very large, we altered the logo to make it more simple and fit a rectangular shape.


Now, drawing it directly would have been risky: freehand lettering is really not easy and if you make a mistake, you have no Ctrl-Z…

B. being a professional engraver, she gave me this great trick: acetone transfer.

Acetone transfer

You will need:

  • a bottle of acetone;
  • a clean rag;
  • your image reversed printed with a laser printer on a sheet of paper;
  • the medium on which you want your image transferred.

Acetone transfer

Say this is your image. You’ll need to reverse it with any photo editor (horizontally only, like a mirror would do). This seems obvious, but it’s actually very easily forgotten. We are going to transfer the printer’s ink onto the leather. That means the ink will have to be in direct contact with the leather, therefore the words have to be reversed to appear right afterwards.

Acetone transfer

OK, it’s good now, let’s print it (on paper)!

It won’t work with an inkjet, only toner ink. The higher quality the printer, the better. We chose this method for several elements of decoration, using two different printers. The transfer was much, much easier with a professional printer than a smaller, family one.

Acetone is not good to inhale; be sure you work outside or in a well ventilated place. I wore a mask, too.

Acetone transfer

Once ready, place the sheet on the leather, with the inked side down, so that the ink touches the leather. Lightly soak the rag with acetone and dab it on the sheet. Be careful not to shift the paper and mess up your drawing. Acetone evaporates very quickly, which is normal. The rag shouldn’t be too soaked, otherwise the paper will tear.

If your printer is not the best, you might have to dab then scratch the paper with something rigid (but not sharp) to help the ink come off the paper.

Once you’ve dabbed the whole drawing, you can remove the paper and, voilà! The toner ink has come off and is now ‘printed’ on the leather.

Acetone transfer

All you need to do now is leave it to dry and get rid of the acetone smell, then paint on top of the drawing. On leather, I used POSCA markers. A white marker covers the ink with no difficulty.

We also made smaller tags to decorate the shop. This is one of mine right after the transfer — this is one made with the non-professional printer. The transfer was harder yet the result perfectly sufficient:

acetone transfer

And after redrawing the lines with a black marker:

acetone transfer

This technique works on pretty much all materials: fabric, linocut or rubber, for example. As you can see, it’s easy and efficient.

Have fun!

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