Origami Coffee Scoop

I recently acquired an unlikely but exceptionally effective Aeropress espresso coffee maker that consists of 3 simple plastic parts. I do still miss the hum of our old Expobar espresso machine that died, but this new set up makes an awesome Americano and has the added advantage of being portable for camping or travel.

The only problem, albeit a small one, was that I needed an efficient way to transfer the coffee grounds from our grinder to the Aeropress. I wanted something reusable, easy to wash and simple to store. The idea for a fused-plastic, folded scoop was born.

I have made things using fused plastic in the past. The process for fusing plastic is very simple, although it can be a challenge these days to find plastic shopping bags. As you can see from the photos, there is only one store I frequent here in my town that still uses plastic bags. I cut off the seams and the handles of 4-5 bags and stack the flattened layers of plastic between two sheets of parchment paper. Using an iron on medium heat setting, press firmly and evenly across the pile of plastic. The plastic will quickly melt and shrink into a solid sheet of plastic. Keep ironing, turning and flipping it occasionally, until the sheet of fused plastic is no longer visibly shrinking. Once the plastic cools, you can trim off any irregular edges.

To make my scoop, I trimmed the plastic sheet into a long rectangle. Then I folded it in half in both directions as well across both diagonals. The open, creased rectangle is laid under the spout of the grinder to catch the grinds. By pinching half of the long rectangle together, a scoop is formed on the other half, making it easy to pour the grinds into the coffee press. The fused plastic is durable, easy to wash, and dry, and fold to store away.

What have you created out of necessity – the mother of invention?

Handmade Holidays…

Winter has officially arrived with the first snowfall of the season. It has been a busy few months here on our new property. Observing the seasonal changes of this high desert landscape has been a favorite activity of mine. At least that is my excuse for not posting about all that I have been making recently. I do want to share it all, but I will spread it out so I don’t flood my otherwise quiet blog with too much noise.

The holiday season means a bevy of creativity in my studio. Decorating the house, organizing and filling the Advent calendar, creating a seasonal card, and making ornaments are just a few of the things on my to-do list.

This year, my card is a 3-dimensional construction – a little house. Photos (credit: Eji Eustaquio) adorn each surface of the house which was created using SketchUpPro. I printed the 3-dimensional box pattern on glossy photo paper, then used spray mount to glue it to heavy cardstock. Assembly involves cutting, folding, and gluing each of the boxes by hand, as well as adding a hanger ribbon. Mini candy canes are hidden inside; revealed by lifting the roof flap.

The ornament this year (shown as a prototype) is made from paper and felt; a small Himmeli gem made from rolled magazine paper, with an origami star above, and a felted wool ball and tassel below. The final version will likely use different colors of magazine paper for the Himmeli gem, and glossy or glittery origami paper for the star.

May you find inspiration for your own handmade holidays this season!

Folding spheres from paper…

As I focus on making things with my two current favorite materials – paper and felt – I am revisiting some craft books I’ve had in my library for years. Extreme Origami by Kunihiko Kasahara includes instructions for weaving various spheres from strips of paper. One of the simpler spheres is made using four strips and a weaving technique that is similar to braiding with four strands. These small paper spheres can be scaled up to become ornaments or bowl fillers, or strung together in their miniature form to be used as garland or as part of a mobile.

Origami pyramid centerpiece…

Origami is one of the most simple and satisfying crafts for me. The cost is minimal, the required tools are only my two hands and the occasional scissors or cutting blade, yet the results are always awesome. This is an experiment for a pyramidal centerpiece. I chose stark, minimal white paper for this prototype.

Foldschool’s genius DIY furniture…

We all know that the most affordable furniture is self-made (time discounted of course.) Foldschool.com offers free patterns and instructions to make three different pieces of kid’s furniture – a chair, rocker, and stool. Using standard sheets of corrugated cardboard, you cut, fold, and glue to create a pint-sized chair, stool or rocker. Despite their size, they are sturdy enough to hold the average adult. Personally I love the natural craft-brown, but you and your child could paint it or cover it in decoupage, or otherwise decorate it in any number of ways.
Now I am just waiting for Foldschool to come up with a design for a little table… Anyone?…