Book Review: ‘Triangular Gift Box Origami’ by Arnold Tubis

Edited by Scott Summers

I love boxes. Maybe that is because, like alchemy, they bring some usefulness to paper folding by creating something out of nothing.

That is why I jumped to suggest a book review when I saw the announcement about the publication of “Triangular Gift Box Origami” by Arnold Tubis with diagrams by Joseph Hwang on our Community for Creators WhatsApp group.

I already own another book by Tubis: “Unfolding Mathematics with Origami Boxes” (2006). Both books present the same concept: a basic box shape and style with variations. In this new book, the boxes are triangular, and the diagrams show the many variations that can emerge from this concept.

The Technicalities

  • Number of pages: 47
  • Number of diagram pages: 30
  • Number of models: 20
  • Languages: English
  • Paper Size: US Letter (8.5 by 11 inch)
  • Paper Quality: Average
  • Difficulty level: Intermediate
  • Where to find it: Paperback at Amazon, e-book at OrigamiUSA’s The Source

The models are presented in order of difficulty, without a scale to tell the level of each, but all fall within the intermediate range, as stated on the cover.

Some of the models are featured in groups of three or four that have the same opening steps. Others are stand-alone models with unique folding sequences.

All the models fit onto the same box bottom, and instructions for it and how to size it to fit are found before the diagrams for the decorative lids are presented.

Most boxes are finished in 12 to 15 steps. The longest is 22 steps.

The illustrated table of contents is spread over two pages. The cover of the print edition contains color images of each finished box. The e-book has a drawing of one of the boxes on its cover.

The book starts with an explanation of symbols and explains how to fold a hexagon from a square or a rectangle.

Diagrams

The diagrams on page 36.

In general, Hwang’s diagrams are clear, and the use of symbols is standard, with a few exceptions. In step 11 in the diagram below, for example, you can see that both the arrows and the fold lines indicate a mountain fold while the text calls for an inside reverse fold. Using an inside reverse fold symbol (fat white arrow or chevron) would have been more precise.

A detail from page 29.

The minimal text is used to explain what is unclear or not present in the diagrams, and I found a few typos.

While most pages feature six steps per page, some pages feature up to eight.

There are some inconsistencies in the diagrams, but these are forgiven because they will not stop any intermediate folder.

Folding

Decorative Lid 1

Decorative Lid 1, from 20 cm Elephant Hide. Image and folding by Ilan Garibi.

To be honest, it’s enough to fold a single box lid from the book to get its full essence.

I started with the bottom part first, since it explains how to create the walls of the lid as well.

The diagrams for each lid stop at the point where you need to turn the flat, ornamented fold into a 3D box. You then need to go to the instructions for the box bottom to complete the top.

Lid 1 is made in 16 steps. I would consider this to be a simple-to-intermediate-level fold. It took me a few minutes to complete, and the diagrams were clear enough to allow for a smooth folding experience.

The result is lovely.

Decorative Lid 9

Decorative Lid 9, from 20 cm Elephant Hide. Image and folding by Ilan Garibi.

Another simple fold: 17 steps, no problems, a few minutes to fold, lovely result.

Step 12 could have been drawn with a better 3D view, but as an intermediate folder, I managed without it.

Decorative Lid 15

Decorative Lid 15, from 20 cm Elephant Hide. Image and folding by Ilan Garibi.

This model is more difficult than lids 1 and 9. You have to make a hexagonal twist, but there is a 3D step to guide you through the process. Beside that, it’s the same process as the previous models.

Conclusion

To be honest, this is more of a booklet than a book.

If you consider this to be part of a bigger collection of booklets about boxes by Tubis, you’ve got a great omnibus of box models.

As a stand-alone book, I found it too quick to finish. Some of the boxes are too much like the others, and once you find the four that you really like, I am not sure you will fold all the rest.

The better side of it is that once you understand the concept and how a box is built, you will quickly try your hand with your own variations.

From there, the road to original creation is short. I always value books that help you understand a principle while teaching you with a model. I believe this book does exactly that.

Bottom line: Nice to have!

Author Interview: The Five Essential Questions

Tubis
Arnold Tubis.

Q Tell me a little about yourself.

A I am a retired physics professor who was on the faculty of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., USA. from 1960 to 2000.

Origami has been one of my many avocations since the early 1960s, and I have, over the years, collected thousands of books, magazines, convention proceedings, etc. on origami.

This book is my ninth on origami, and my models have been exhibited in the USA, Japan, Europe and Israel. I am the co-coordinator of the Greater San Diego (Calif.) Origami Group.

Q What is the essence of the book? (What makes it stand out, who was your target audience, etc.?)

A Like all of my previous books, this one is designed for the intermediate-level folder who wants to be able to fold simple and practical (but hopefully elegant) models in about fifteen minutes to a half hour.

Q If I could fold only one model from your book, which should it be, and why?

Lid 13, folded by Arnold Tubis. One of the hundred he folded for his granddaughter’s wedding.

A Decorative Lid 13 on pages 33 and 34. I have taught the model to appreciative classes in San Diego and at several conventions, and in virtual Zoom-based classes. I am making 100 of these boxes using Tant paper for my granddaughter’s wedding.

Q Which is the hardest model in the book? What makes it hard to fold?

Box 14, from the book cover.

A Probably Decorative Lid 14, on pages 35-37, because of the two types of treatment of the six flaps. This lid is essentially a generalization of a box in my book with Crystal Mills, “Unfolding Mathematics with Origami Boxes,” (box 15, in that book, folded from a square). For background, see my article, “Generalized N-Sided Masus,” in Issue 9 (March-April 2012) of The Fold.

Q What was most enjoyable in the process of the making of this book?

A Since I am so horrible at computer diagramming, it was a pleasure to again have Joseph draw the folding steps and design the book layout for models that have been lingering around my house for over a decade.

Editor’s Note: The interview was lightly edited for length and clarity.