A kusudama ball is a paper ball made from individual origami flowers. They are quite beautiful. Here's what my completed one looks like (ok, it's only half of the ball, but you get the idea):
I used several copies of an outdated flyer for some concert I'd picked up downtown to make it, but it works great with origami paper, too.
The kusudama ball is especially pretty if you use paper with different colors on each side. The inside of the flowers will be a different color than the outside.
Here are the instructions:
60 squares of origami paper or other paper, any size (I used 3"x3")
Put a paper square on a table in front of you so it looks like a diamond shape. Fold the bottom corner to the top and crease the fold to form a triangle with the long side at the bottom.
Fold both the left and right corners to the top and crease. Now you have a diamond shape bisected by the line where the two side flaps meet in the middle.
Fold the two flaps down again, aligning the edges that were in the middle in Step 2 with the bottom edges of the diamond. Crease well. Now you have a shape that looks somewhat like a fleur-de-lis with a point in the middle and two wings on the sides.
Stand the flaps up so they're perpendicular to the table. Open the flaps and press down on the center creases, which now line up with the right edge of the diamond from Step 1. When you press these creases down, they naturally indicate where the flaps can be flattened. Now your fleur-de-lis shape has wider wings with a crease slanting down the middle of each wing.
Fold the top of each wing toward the bottom, forming a small triangle. The edges of the triangle line up with the edges of the original diamond shape from Step 1.
Fold the bottom of the flaps toward the middle along the creases, folding them in half. The triangles formed in Step 5 are now inside these flaps. Now you have a diamond shape with two side flaps folded toward the middle.
Curve the paper around and glue the surfaces of the two flaps together inside. Now you have a 3D oval which is one petal of a paper flower. Inside, the flaps form three pistils/stamens. If you are using paper with different colors on each side, make sure the color you want on the inside of the flowers ends up on the inside of the petal.
Repeat Steps 1-7 for each square of paper to make 60 petals.
Glue six petals together in a circle to make one flower. The pistils/stamens now radiate from the middle. Glue the rest of the petals together in groups of six to make 12 flowers total.
Now put glue in a line all the way down the the outside of two petals of one flower. Press two petals of a second flower to the glued petals to begin making the kusudama ball. Continue adding flowers and gluing the petals that touch other flowers until you use six flowers. Now you have half a sphere. Repeat with the other six flowers to create the other half of the sphere.
Glue the two halves together by placing glue on the petals that will touch other petals to create the whole kusudama ball. You're done!
I found that the half-balls are better suited to staying in place if you want to set the kusudama ball on a shelf. If you want to hang them or perch them atop a vase, a whole ball is better.
Leave me a comment if you try this and let me know how it turns out. Have fun!