Edited by Jane Rosemarin
The Pentagonal Lemon Squeezer.

One way to get new models is to take an existing design and change the paper outline. In this article, we study the Fortune Teller and try to make a pentagonal one. We will get insight into the inner workings of the blintz fold and distinguish two ways of transforming a model to fit the new outline: preserving the crease pattern, or preserving the folding sequence.

The Fortune Teller

Three of the most popular childhood origami models are the Fortune Teller, the Cootie Catcher and the Salt Cellar. Incidentally they have the exact same crease pattern and folding sequence. They differ in purpose, decorating and optimal materials.

Left: The Fortune Teller in action. Right: Crease pattern of the Fortune Teller.

A Fortune Teller is a blintz to one side, a blintz to the other side, and then opening up the pockets of the first blintz. It is likely the simplest double-blintz model, and an action model folded and beloved by children around the world. Find a PDF diagram here.

Now, study its crease pattern. How would you generalize it to a pentagon? This depends on which properties you keep invariant. We shall see two variations: keeping the topological structure of the crease pattern, and keeping the intent of the folding sequence (almost).

Generalizing the Crease Pattern

Left: Pentagonalizing the Fortune Teller crease pattern. Right: A pentagonal Fortune Teller?

The crease pattern of the Fortune Teller has a simple structure in each corner: A diagonal between neighboring mid-sides, a half-diagonal to the center, and two lines parallel to the sides going through the diagonal T-cross.

The pentagonal crease pattern above shows the transplant of this structure from the square to the pentagon.

With reference to “The Complete Blintz Part 7: Deconstructing the Corner Fold,” this generalization can be seen as using two edge midpoints, case EF (in the article), as landmarks for each corner fold of the blintz. Since the angles have changed, the blintz fold no longer reaches the center, but it is essentially the same fold.

Since the flaps no longer reach the center, it is not suitable as a Fortune Teller: The numbers and fortunes are no longer hidden.

Generalizing the Folding Sequence

Instead of focusing on the crease pattern, we may focus on the folding sequence: Fold corners to center.

Left: Pentagonalizing the blintz folding, crease pattern. Right: Pentagonalizing the Fortune Teller folding, crease pattern.

Doing this provides some excess paper, painted gray above. We have hidden it symmetrically under the blintz flaps, but other solutions exist.

If we do that for both blintzes of the Fortune Teller, we get this:

Left: Pentagonal Fortune Teller, back. Right: Pentagonal Fortune Teller, front.

Except for the option to operate a Fortune Teller with five fingers of one hand (great dexterity exercise!), we don’t get much here, and at the cost of a more complex pattern. But hey! The back side color change looks promising.

Combining Options to Make a Lemon Squeezer

So let us combine the two blintz generalizations. The first blintz will use the “fold to center” method, the second will use the simpler “fold between edge midpoints” method from generalizing the crease pattern.

Left: Pentagonalizing the Fortune Teller crease pattern. Right: A pentagonal Fortune Teller? No, a Lemon Squeezer.

Since the second blintz is mid-edge based and not center-based, this model is not suitable as a Fortune Teller — the fortune texts are not covered up. The model might still be used as a five finger dexterity trainer. Try it!

However, reinterpret the model as a Lemon Squeezer, and it is suddenly a beautiful utility model, a new design.

If you were to fold this from sufficiently sturdy material, this decorative lemon squeezer would even be functional — if a bit difficult to clean.

Instructions for a Lemon Squeezer

Use a regular pentagon made from a 15 cm square. Start by marking all the corner-to-midpoint lines, if your favorite make-a-pentagon method doesn’t provide that automatically (mine does).

The model can also be used as a 5-fingered cootie catcher. Try it one-handed to train your dexterity!

The instructions are also available as a pdf. See PDF diagrams.

Other Articles in This Series

“The Complete Blintz Part 1: The Yakko”
“The Complete Blintz Part 2: History of the Blintz”
“The Complete Blintz Part 3: Blintz Story Telling”
“The Complete Blintz Part 4: The Dragon and the Might of the Blintz”
“The Complete Blintz Part 5: Creating via Blintzing”
“The Complete Blintz Part 6: The Cushion Fold”
“The Complete Blintz Part 7: Deconstructing the Corner Fold”
“The Complete Blintz Part 8: A Longer Masu Box by Grafting”