A DIY Faux Weathered Wood Ceiling

My idea for the Tinygami Work Studio is to have the left half of the ceiling bright white as it will be the side I use as a mini photo studio. The walls and ceiling will be plain white and perhaps even part of the floor.

The right side is where my daily work/production area will be. I want it to feel like a private alcove, kind of cozy and comforting, like I’m tucked away from the world when I go there. I guess you could say I’m going for a rustic, Japanese, farmhouse kind of environment.

Since day one as I’ve driven around the Michigan countryside I’ve always been envious of the old barn wood I see on every highway I’ve traversed. How to get that look when I don’t have an old barn to knock down and dismantle to upcycle those gorgeous weathered boards? Make them!

I sifted through a multitude of tutorials on Pinterest and came up with this:

diy-stained-faux-weathered-wood-tutorial

Since I don’t seem to be 100% back in the swing of blogging (the way I used to be) this tutorial is a little under-imaged but contains all the pertinent info you’ll need to try this project yourself.

In a nut-shell I’d say it was both easy and fun. Since you’re going for a worn and weathered look perfection isn’t a requirement. It’s more like a little slap it on, rub it around, wipe it off kind of  process that is quite forgiving as long as you remember to not create hard start and stop lines with the first coat of stain as they’ll mark the wood with straight lines. In order not to do that I discovered two tricks:

  1. The main one I used on each coat was this: Apply the stain in short 2 foot sections (starting at the right end of the board and moving left) by dragging the foam applicator from right to left so that where the stroke ends you have long streak marks instead of a hard solid edge. When I applied stain to the next section I’d zig-zag the applicator a bit then do the same. I constantly went back to the far right end of each board and would draw the applicator down as far as the last section I’d just stained. This kept the application of the stain nice and even.
  2. On day two I did add a touch of mineral spirits to the foam applicator to apply the ebony which made the stain easier to apply. I don’t know that I had to do this but didn’t want to take any chances since the black-color was so dark.

Supplies:

  1. 29 Pine tongue and groove boards for each half of the ceiling. I purposely looked for the boards with knots, swirls, and patterns that were loaded with character. The “perfect” boards I used for the painted white boards or slipped them back into the pile at the lumber store.
  2. 1 coat of Minwax Jacobean oil-based stain applied with a 5″ foam/sponge applicator and wiped off with a lint-free cloth. Allow to dry at least 24 hours until dry to touch.
  3. 1 coat of Minwax Ebony oil-based stain applied same as step 2.
  4. 1 coat of Minwax Classic Grey oil-based stain applied same as step 2.
  5. I will most likely be using Minwax Clear Brushing Lacquer in the satin finish as my finishing coat because I really want a crystal clear finish, not a topcoat that turns amber over time. ETA: I have now decided I will either leave the wood unfinished or use a finishing wax as I don’t want a shiny surface to the boards. I’d prefer them to look raw and unfinished. Because there is no plumbing in the studio, and during the winter I’ll run heat, and the summer AC I don’t think humidity is going to be a problem as far as moisture damage to the ceiling.

Optional items I used for this project:

  • Rubber gloves. I got the chemical resistant kind at the hardware shop.
  • Foam applicators. I used 6 start to finish. The first color took 3 to, the second color took 2, and the final color only used 1. This was because the more stain that was already on the boards the easier it was to apply.
  • I used 2 lint-free rags total for wiping down the boards. I used the first one until it was so saturated with stain I had to start a second.
  • 3 stir sticks, one for each color of stain.
  • A breathing mask rated to filter out the stain fumes as I was working in a heated garage for 3-4 hours for each color/coat because it’s winter.
  • Paint thinner to clean up.
  • I didn’t until it was too late but I’d say to use lots of cardboard on the floor and at each end of the length of your boards to prevent splatters.

Optional ideas I read about but did not implement:

  • Sand all hard edges before you begin to create a more worn look.
  • Spot sand board edges between colors also to create a more worn and weathered.
  • Beat the boards with random heavy objects to dent and ding them then sand the dents and dings to make them look aged.
  • Use a combination of paint and stain to color your boards.

Some of the many pins I used for inspiration:

Build a Rustic Sofa Table & Make New Wood Look Old on PaperDaisyDesign.com
Wood feature wall on TheRaggedWren.Blogspot.com
MIXED WOOD WALL – EASY & CHEAP DIY on UncookieCutter.com
HOW TO MAKE NEW WOOD LOOK LIKE OLD DISTRESSED BARN BOARDS on RealityDayDream.com
DIY Plywood Plank Floors on CentsationalGirl.com

If you decide to try this and have any questions leave a comment or message me via my website! I’m happy to help if I can.

Oh, and these are the 29 painted white boards. They’re primed then painted with one coat. The second coat will go on after installation. I’ll admit I’m pretty excited to see them all go up!

white-painted-tongue-and-groove-ceiling

Advertisements

How to open an origami crane

closed-flattened-origami-crane-tinygami

If you’ve ever received a Tinygami crane that was folded flat you may wonder how to spread its wings without damaging it.

The picture above on the left shows how even when unopened the crane will usually stand on its own. But the picture on the right shows how you are able to appreciate the delicacy of this model when its wings are spread open. The problem is once you spread the wings apart the crane (often) will no longer stand up and tips to one side or the other.

underside-origami-crane

The trick is found on the base/underside of the model. When folded flat the base of the wings are parallel to each other which won’t always give enough stability for a crane to be able to stand on its own.

Three things must happen to create the same stable base once the wings are opened:

how-to-open-origami-crane-tinygami

1. The wings must be pulled both down and outward. I do this by placing my thumbs on the topside of each wing right up against the body to add some support as I gently pull the wings down and out. Pull too hard and you can tear the wings where they attach to the body, so slowly and carefully is the best way to do this.

origami-crane-body-inflates-air

2. Once the wings are down the body should have inflated with air to create a pillow effect.

freestanding-origami-crane-tutorial

3. Whether the wings are closed or open the base needs to spread open (a little or a lot) to create the four contact points that stabilize the crane. I create them by gently pinching the base of each wing between my thumbs and index fingers at the same time to create this pronounced X shape.

tinygami-how-to-open-origami-crane

The wings will look like the top right figure above just after pinching the base because doing so pinches the wing to its tip. To flatten out the wing I simply smooth the crease out, again pinching with the same two fingers but this time above and below the wing to flatten it. But be careful not to lose the X shape at the base.

Some papers are easy to re-flatten the crane again. The now inflated body will simply fold back down along its original creases. But others aren’t so pliable and the body will crush instead of re-fold so be careful if you decide to flatten the crane again once you’ve opened it.

I hope this tutorial is helpful to you. If you have any questions or need clarification feel free to leave a comment or contact me privately by CLICKING HERE.

DIY Origami Paper Cup Tutorial

When I was asked to teach an origami class to preschoolers I instantly recalled the paper cup as being one of the first things I learned to make as a child. It’s both easy to make and functional. You can put things inside of it!

origami-cup-tutorial-10

It’s what I call a forgiving fold meaning everything doesn’t have to be absolutely precise to create a successful cup. Made from a small piece of paper (we used 6″ sheets of origami paper) the cup becomes a container. Made from a large piece (like a newspaper) it can be a hat! One of the things I love most about origami is that you can use any kind of paper, not just origami paper. Some to try would include:

  1. Note paper
  2. Gift wrapping paper
  3. Newspaper
  4. Magazine pages
  5. Scrapbooking paper
  6. Wax paper
  7. Kitchen baking parchment
  8. Tissue paper
  9. Tracing paper
  10. Gum and candy wrappers

origami-cup-tutorial-1
1. Begin with a square piece of paper. Fold in half from corner to corner to create a large triangle.

origami-cup-tutorial-2
2. Now fold the right side of the triangle along the dotted line the goal being to keep the top edge of the section parallel to the bottom. Set crease. See below.

origami-cup-tutorial-33. Now do the same with the left section folding it across and over the right section you just folded. Set crease.

origami-cup-tutorial-44. This next step you can fold both of the upper flaps at once or do them individually as you fold and tuck them into the cup. Either way you fold them against the top of the cup along the dashed line. I prefer to do that individually which is how they are pictured in the tutorial.

origami-cup-tutorial-55. This is a guideline fold to make it easier to tuck the flap into the cup so once you fold the first flap down, immediately unfold it back to its original position. (I used a more decorative origami paper with one printed side and a solid color side instead of the more typical colored on one side and plain white on the other.)

origami-cup-tutorial-66. It should look like this.

origami-cup-tutorial-77. Now you tuck the flap into the front pocket of the cup. This would be the left front section.

origami-cup-tutorial-88. Now fold the remaining flap forward and up again like the last one if you didn’t do them both at the same time and tuck it into the large opening to form the cup.

origami-cup-tutorial-99. That’s it! You’re done! Congratulations and thank you for visiting the Tinygami blog 🙂

 

DIY Origami Swan Tutorial

Just the other day I did something fun and new. I taught tiny humans how to fold paper and make origami models. There were two classes consisting of 10 preschoolers each. I hadn’t ever taught origami to anyone so young before so I wasn’t sure how things would go. I did a lot of research to look for simple, beginner level, origami model instructions that 4 and 5 year olds would be able to master in 15 minutes. LOL. I wanted two so that if they breezed through the first one we could try a second.

origami-swan-instructions-2-stacie-tamaki

All I can say is they were ADORABLE! I don’t usually spend time around children this young, especially so many at one time, so it was a lot of fun. First of all, their little voices are so cute. They were happy, curious, and very creative. When I asked if anyone had any questions after showing them my work no one said anything. All of a sudden one little girl walked up to me and hugged me *melt*. SO SWEET!

I laid out 6″ squares of origami paper for them and invited them to each choose two they liked. Fortunately there were plenty of grown ups on the field trip with the class so they were my impromptu assistants.

The kids really loved making the swan. I made this photo tutorial so that if they wanted to continue they would have a reference guide to fall back on.

You can try to if you want to just for fun. You can use any size and really, any kind of paper keeping in mind that thicker papers are harder to fold.

origami-swan-instructions-31. Begin with a square piece of paper. Here I’m using a 3″ square of origami paper.
2. Face front (printed) side of paper towards tabletop and fold in half at center to create a guideline fold.
3. You’ll end up with a large triangle shape. Then unfold.

origami-swan-instructions-44. You’ll use the center crease as a guideline and fold the right outer edge towards the center guideline.

origami-swan-instructions-55. Now fold the let outer edge towards the center as well.

origami-swan-instructions-66. Your model should look like this.

origami-swan-instructions-77. Turn over your model and repeat the same two folds to narrow the shape. Pictured above fold the right outer edge towards the center line.

origami-swan-instructions-88. Now fold the left outer edge towards the center.

origami-swan-instructions-99. Your model should look like this. Note the dashed line at the center of the model. Fold the model in half taking the point on the bottom and folding up to the point at the top.

origami-swan-instructions-1010. After the model is folded in half it’s time to fold the head. I like to visualize an imaginary line from the edge of the top corner of the white triangle (the backside of the paper) and fold the paper downward.

origami-swan-instructions-1111. This is what your model should look like. Layered upon itself accordion style is the body, then neck, then head.

origami-swan-instructions-1212. Now lift up the model and holding it accordioned  together you’ll fold the model in half following the arrows so the left edge and right edge meet together creating the base of the swan.

origami-swan-instructions-1313. Hold the base with your fingers and use your other hand to gently pull the neck upright away from the body.

Folding Tip: Do not set the neck at a 90Âș angle from the base, it will be top heavy and have a tendency to tip over. If you fold the neck just before it reaches 90Âș(pictured with the dotted line at the back of the neck above) or even sooner the weight of the head and neck will rest over the body and will be more stable. Aim for 11 O’Clock or just a bit more instead of all the way to 12 O’Clock. 

origami-swan-instructions-1414. Once the neck is pulled upright be sure to pinch along the base to set the fold in place.

15. Then use the same process holding the neck with one hand and using your other hand to lift the head away from the neck.

origami-swan-instructions-1516. Then pinch the top of the head to hold the fold in place.

origami-swan-instructions-16

17. Gently push the body apart to create the base the swan sits upon and set on tabletop.

18. Woo hoo! You just made an origami swan!

My new origami website on Squarespace

tinygami-new-website-homepage

My 10 year love affair with Dreamweaver is over. After the past year of nothing but problems since switching to the Creative Cloud* version of the program I realized I’d spent too much time on the phone with Adobe support technicians who whispered sweet nothings in my ear… Meaning suggestions of things to do, not do, delete, reinstall, troubleshoot, etc. only to be told in the end there are problems and someday they may be able to fix them. I believed them at first because love will blind you that way. I probably even believed them the second time they told me the same things because I wanted to believe them. But a year later and having spent too many wasted hours, sleepless nights, and force quitting endless crashes to occasionally be able to update an existing page I finally realized: This is never going to get better. It was time to accept this truth and move on.

So, here I am with a new Tinygami.com website for the new year! Thank you to my friend Dana for telling me about Squarespace.com. I used their click and build platform and was able to move my origami site (now full of new and project descriptions) to its new home in less than 24 hours. Awesome! Even better is the site built on Squarespace converts for mobile devices. My old site didn’t do that. StacieTamaki.com is still up as my  legacy site but if things continue to go well here I’ll be moving it to Squarespace as well.

*While I have nothing but contempt for Dreamweaver CC I do like the rest of what I’ve used on CC so far. Particularly Photoshop. I still love Photoshop. Just wanted to make sure people understood I don’t have an issue with the entire platform, just one of the two programs I used the most frequently. 

Tinygami Origami FAQ’s

These are the questions I am asked hundreds of times a day during the three weeks of ArtPrize. Since they are pretty consistent I thought I’d compile them together into an FAQ post. If you don’t see the origami related question you may have wondered about feel free to leave a comment and I’ll reply there or add it to the post if it’s a popular question I’d forgotten about.

tiny-origami-paper-cranes-tinygami

Question: Do you use tweezers or tools to fold the cranes?
Answer: No. I only use my fingers. Seriously! 🙂

cutting-origami-paper-miniature-folding

Question: How long does it take to make a mobile of 1000 cranes?
Answer: In a perfect world I’d have 3 months for each mobile. But on deadlines I can finish them faster. Steps involved include:

  • Concept development
  • Sourcing materials for structures
  • Shopping for paper
  • Cutting paper into 1000 tiny pieces with a metal straight edge and X-acto knife on a self healing cutting mat
  • Folding cranes
  • Building mobile structure
  • Hanging mobile structures
  • Dividing cranes
  • Hanging cranes
  • Finishing details

Question: How long does it take to fold one crane?
Answer: Just a few (2-3) minutes. But some of the thicker, softer, more fibrous papers will strain the tendon in my right forearm very quickly requiring me to take breaks every 20 minutes or so for at least that long or longer.

origami-papers-imported-japan

Question: What kind of paper do you use to make your mobiles?

Answer: Almost all of the paper is imported origami paper from Japan. There are exceptions such as the white paper in the Mochibana piece which is tracing paper because I wanted a translucent quality that evoked the translucence of mochi, the dessert made of pounded sweet rice.

When I lived in California I was able to shop at a multitude of Japanese and art paper stores to find my origami paper.

Here in MI I’ve been to Hollander’s paper store in Ann Arbor twice and have resorted to ordering online.

I also receive very generous and thoughtful gifts of paper from time to time (thank you EmiInk!). They are always the most special papers of all.

Question: Where do you buy your paper?

Answer: I’ve been collecting paper since 1995 and have accumulated what I call my “stash” that I add to whenever I see beautiful paper for sale. Craft stores (think Michaels, Hobby Lobby, etc.) often have a nice selection but this is a list of my favorite specialty paper sources listed by state:

California

Nikaku Japanese Arts
Address: 615 N 6th St, San Jose, CA 95112
Phone: (408) 971-2822
You’ll find squares of paper in the center island display and rolls of larger paper along the same wall as the stairwell after you enter.

Nichi Bei Busan
Address: 140 Jackson St, San Jose, CA 95112
Phone: (408) 294-8048

Maido (There is more than one location)
Address: Santana Row, 378 Santana Row #1125, San Jose, CA 95128
Phone: (408) 213-1985

Kinokuniya (There is more than one location)
Address: 675 Saratoga Ave, San Jose, CA 95129
Phone: (408) 252-1300

Miki’s Paper
Address: 1801 Fourth St, Berkeley, CA 94710
Phone:(510) 845-9530

Michigan

Hollanders
Address: 410 N 4th Ave, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(Next door to the Ann Arbor Farmers Market)
Phone: (734) 741-7531

Washington

Spokane Art Supply
Address: 1303 N Monroe St, Spokane, WA 99201
Phone: (509) 327-6628

Question: Where did you learn how to fold cranes?
Answer: My maternal grandma from Japan taught me as a child.

hanging-origami-crane-needle

Question: How do you hang the cranes?

Answer: I use very small sewing needles to string the cranes. Usually they are “sharps” or “betweens.” For the smallest 1/4″ high cranes I use the thinnest beading needles I can find. I like to thread the cranes from the top to bottom of both each crane and each strand. This allows me to make certain no two matching papers are next to each other, meaning above or below vertically or side by side horizontally in neighboring strands.

metallic-thread-hanging-origami-cranes

Question: What kind of thread do you use to hang them from?

Answer: My favorite is Madeira’s Supertwist metallic blend embroidery thread. It is more soft, flexible, delicate and shimmering than other metallic threads I’ve found at most fabric and craft stores. I order it online and have it shipped out to me.

how-to-hang-origami-cranes

Question: How are the cranes suspended on the thread?

Answer: In 2016 while preparing my ArtPrize entry I discovered a new way to hang cranes (and frogs and rabbbits) using no glue. Going forward I will use this technique whenever possible including for the individual strands I offer in my Etsy shop. The process may take longer but I love that it allows me to hang strands even when there is no electricity (that I used to need to run a mini glue gun).

Previously I used a low-melt temperature glue gun to hang each crane to the thread. High-melt will burn straight through the thread. The seam allowance tool in the lower left corner is to make sure each crane has the same amount of space between them to keep the length of each strand uniform. The tweezers I use to pull glue off/out of a crane that didn’t attach to the thread in the correct direction, meaning no two cranes hang facing the same direction as the cranes above or below them. I also try to set them at different angles to the cranes that surround them on each side.

color-sorting-1000-origami-paper-cranes

Question: How do you decide where the colors go?

Answer: It takes far longer to prepare the cranes for hanging than most people realize. The process begins by dividing out the 1000 cranes into piles of matching patterns and solid colors. Once that’s done I divide the cranes by pattern and color into equal piles. Each pile represents one strand. There are never even numbers of anything so after following simple division it becomes more intuitive dividing them out in a way where colors or patterns are as evenly dispersed as possible so the overall color scheme will be balanced from strand to strand.

dividing-hanging-origami-cranes

Once the cranes are divided into equal piles of mixed colors and patterns I drop them into small circles made of paper to keep them from mixing together until they’re hung.

headlamp-folding-origami-cranes-tinygami

Question: How is your vision?

Answer: Honestly? Not as good as it used to be. I now need reading glasses and good light. They’re both crucial when working in miniature formats whether using a swing arm lamp, natural light or sometimes at night I often use my camping headlamp in the house. Clear, bright light is imperative for me to be able to see as clearly as possible when folding the tiniest of cranes. For the headlamp I do use rechargeable batteries in an effort to be as eco-friendly as possible.

Question: Are you worried about arthritis? Carpal Tunnel Syndrome? Do your fingers hurt? Do your hands hurt?

Answer: No. No. No. No. But, I do worry about tendonitis as my right forearm will get sore if I fold thick or soft paper or very tiny small folds (think frog legs and feet) for too long. Then I have to take frequent breaks and stretch out the tendon that gets stressed by putting my art out to my side at a 90Âș angle to my body and bending my wrist upward so that my hand is at a 90Âș angle to the arm (now parallel to my body). It’s a little trick a Physical Therapist told me about at ArtPrize that has done wonders to reduce the strain in my forearm.

transporting-art-installation-origami-artprize

Question: How do you transport the cranes from your home to a venue?

Answer: It isn’t terribly elegant but to protect them from light, dust, weather, and general damage I use customized cardboard boxes. The trick is adding a cardboard tube at the top to roll the monofilament they hang from onto to keep it from tangling during transport. The strands of cranes can puddle in the bottom of the boxes. My main goal is to keep the structure from crushing the paper cranes. This protects the structure from damage as well and is how I store the mobiles when they aren’t on display.

In 2015 I came up with an alternative, but similar, method to transport the mobiles to my ArtPrize venue using plastic garbage cans. If it rains I can simply pop a plastic kitchen garbage bag over the entire container. It’s not as protective but is easier and faster to get the mobiles in and take them out and allows the strands to hang longer during transport.

transporting-miniature-origami-mobile

Question: How long have you been folding tiny cranes into mobiles this way?

Answer: Since 1995 but for the first 19 years they were pretty much a hidden hobby. ArtPrize in 2014 changed all of that and I am now busy creating a business model that will allow me to pursue my art as my full-time career both while at home and on the road traveling in my tiny trailer 🙂