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Origami by Children: Judging and Tips

Judging Criteria

Children whose models are selected for the exhibition will receive a Certificate of Merit, a one year membership in OrigamiUSA and a small gift. Experience is not necessary and every interested child is welcome to participate. Most models are made from diagrams in origami books available in libraries, bookstores, and on-line. However, original creations are especially encouraged.

Origami Models will be judged by the following criteria:

  • Quality of folding – Models must be neat, attractive and suitable for exhibition. After being displayed in New York (OrigamiUSA Convention) the collection will be sent toother locations around the United States upon request. Please note the following:
    • Select a model that you can fold with precision and beautifully. The appearance of the model is more important than its complexity.
    • The maximum dimensions of finished model should be no greater than 8”
    • Modulars must have stability and hold together without glue.
    • Action models will remain stationary while on display.
  • Creativity of presentation – Interesting paper selection and/or folding techniques can enhance a model’s visual appeal.
    • Choose a weight and/or texture of paper appropriate to the model. Practice and experiment with different papers to see how they affect the completed model.
    • We display models standing, hanging, or mounted on wire or paper. If you have a creative display technique/device, please feel free to include it.
  • Originality – We encourage, but do not require, original origami designs.
    • Diagrams and books on origami can be found at your school or library or on-line.
    • Original designs will be given special consideration by judges.
    • Age of child is also taken into account – a beautifully folded simple model by a young child is better than a complex one that is not folded as well by an older child.

Please note the following grounds for entry disqualifications:

  • do not draw on or add embellishments, glue, tape or cut your model.
  • do not use genuine U.S. currency for money fold models.

Submission Tips

Tip #1: Reflect your passion.

Chose a model you care about, that you can fold well. Consider surprising us with some unexpected combination of elements, an unusual paper choice, or a fresh take on a model. Look for ways to give your model some special character, humor or dignity—try to make it beautiful or evocative. Uncommon models attract attention and curiosity. Inspiration can come from many places including origami books and websites.

Tip #2: Chose the right paper.

It could be a simple model well folded, using ordinary paper that projects a sense of whimsy and cleverness. It could be complex and require a high quality paper, perhaps wet folded. Sometimes we look at a model with a fine design concept and good folding but lament that the paper choice compromises the model. It may not have enough substance to keep the model together. It may be too heavy and not hold fine details. Combining model and paper is crucial. Foil, for example, might be a good aesthetic choice for a decorative box but for a character or animal it may be so reflective that it is hard to appreciate the shape and details of the model.

Tip #3: Achieve stability.

Is the size suited to the design, and is it balanced and stable? It is a rare, but sad moment when an origami entry is lifted from its box and falls apart. Folds that are designed to lock a piece together must work. A piece that may be shipped, handled, displayed, and repacked by volunteers many times needs to hold together.

Tip #4: Pack simply.

Plastic snap-lid food containers accommodate many models and protect well from crushing and moisture. Containers fit nicely in small shipping boxes. You might add crumpled newspaper or bubble wrap for stability. If you use something messy like packing peanuts or shredded paper, corral it in a zip-top bag.

Tip #5: Ship inexpensively.

Since entries have only to be postmarked by the March 31 deadline, they can be shipped snail mail at the last minute. You don't have to panic and Fed Ex them. We allow time after the deadline to make sure everything is here. Each entrant can send one or two models. They might be related or completely different. You can download the entry form and send it with a model at any time for the next competition.

Tip #6: Look at photos of the models of past winners.

To give you some idea of what we are looking for, you can see photographs of past year winners here.

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