Notes for teachers
Puzzle purses have been intriguing and delighting people around the world for hundreds of years. The Victorians used these origami riddles as secret friendship tokens and love notes (one even appeared in the film Emma), while in Japan, they have been used as little storage containers. Cheap and easy to make, puzzle purses offer all sorts of creative possibilities and these instructions will start you off on that journey. This activity will show you how to design and make a puzzle purse, which you can then decorate and personalise in Part 2.
You will need:
1 square of thin card or cartridge paper (21cm x 21 cm)
Making your puzzle purse
These intriguing puzzle purses might look complicated but with step by step instructions, they are surprisingly simple to make. It’s all about folding in the right place and the right direction.
You will use just 1 type of origami fold to make the puzzle purse: the valley fold. This is the most basic folding – you simply take the edge of the paper and fold it to the opposite edge, then unfold.
1. At the top of the card square write ‘inside’. This will help you later.
2. Divide your square into 3 equal vertical sections and draw the lines lightly with a ruler.
3. Valley-fold along the lines and then unfold them.
4. Divide your square into 3 equal horizontal sections and draw the lines lightly with a ruler.
5. Valley-fold along the lines and then unfold them.
6. Valley-fold your square in half so that the corners meet and make a triangle. Do this in both directions. Then unfold.
7. Turn the paper over and at the top of the square write ‘outside’.
8. Using your ruler, draw in the 4 diagonal lines as shown below.
9. Valley-fold along each of the lines. You can use the corners of the smaller squares to help you make the fold in the right place.
10. Turn the card square over so you are looking at ‘inside’.
11. Reinforce the 4 creases around the middle square. As you do this, the 4 sides of the paper will stand up from the central square.
12. Pinch a pair of opposite corners and twist anti-clockwise along the fold lines to make a windmill.
13. Re-crease the edges to flatten and smooth out the windmill.
14. Turn the windmill over so that you cannot see any folds in the central square.
15. Fold the windmill arms into the centre of the square, starting with the right arm.
16. Going clockwise, continue to fold the arms inwards, letting them overlap.
17. Tuck the last arm in under the first.
Now your origami puzzle purse is ready! Go to Part 2 of this resource to see how to personalise it and add your own content to it.