Step-By-Step Kusudama Flower Ball Tutorial

These charming origami flower balls have a history of being used for potpourri and incense in ancient Japan. Learn how to build your own kusudama with this easy-to-follow tutorial!

Step-By-Step Kusudama Flower Ball TutorialView in gallery

Step-By-Step Kusudama Flower Ball Tutorial - PaperView in gallery

You will need:

  • 60 squares of origami paper, cut square (mine are 3″ x 3″)
  • Craft glue
  • Paper clips or mini clothespins

I used a roll of shoji-gami rice paper, which you can find at art supply stores and on Amazon. The paper has a fine, fibrous texture, with a satiny finish on the surface. It felt just that little bit more special.

Step-By-Step Kusudama Flower Ball Tutorial - PiecesView in gallery

Creating The Flower Petals

1. Set out five pieces of paper. Each piece = 1 petal, and I find it faster to make all five petals at once.

Step-By-Step Kusudama Flower Ball Tutorial - In progressView in gallery

2. Fold each piece of paper on the diagonal to make triangles.

Step-By-Step Kusudama Flower Ball Tutorial - square foldView in gallery

3. Fold the outer corners of the triangle up towards the center corner, making squares. (They should look like little fortune cookies.)

Step-By-Step Kusudama Flower Ball Tutorial - wing foldsView in gallery

4. Fold each flap in half, making little wings. The bottom edges should line up.

Step-By-Step Kusudama Flower Ball Tutorial - diamond foldView in gallery

5. Pull each wing taut, and then flatten along the center seam, making diamond shapes.

Step-By-Step Kusudama Flower Ball TutorialView in gallery

6. Fold the tips of each diamond inwards. Again, these folds should be flush with the outer edges.

Step-By-Step Kusudama Flower Ball TutorialView in gallery

7. Fold the flaps in half, along the center seam. Flatten the folded creases with your thumbnail or the side of a pen.

Step-By-Step Kusudama Flower Ball TutorialView in gallery

8. Dab a bit of glue on the outside of the two flaps, then fold into a cone shape so that the flaps meet. Temporarily hold the center in place with a paper clip or (as shown here) a mini clothespin, until the glue dries.

Five of these petals will make each flower.

Step-By-Step Kusudama Flower Ball TutorialView in gallery

Assembling Each Flower

Apply a line of glue to the long center seam of two petals, glue them together, and then continue to glue in the rest, one by one. Boom, kusudama flower! Make twelve of these in order to create a flower ball.

Step-By-Step Kusudama Flower Ball TutorialView in gallery


Step-By-Step Kusudama Flower Ball TutorialView in gallery

Assembling The Kusudama

Once you have twelve flowers, you can make the kusudama ball. The ball is made from two halves of six flowers.

Apply a line of glue to the backs of two adjacent petals on one flower, do the same to a second, and then glue together using paper clips or mini pins. Look at the image here to see where the flowers were glued; the petals should line up with each other. Continue to glue flowers together in this manner – five will fit in the circle.

Step-By-Step Kusudama Flower Ball TutorialView in gallery

The sixth flower will fit in the hollow left by the other five. Glue it, clip it and you’ve made one half of the ball!

Step-By-Step Kusudama Flower Ball TutorialView in gallery

Once both halves are assembled, glue them together and leave the glue to dry overnight. That’s it!

Step-By-Step Kusudama Flower Ball TutorialView in gallery

I love the delicate nature of my kusudama. The rice paper makes it soft, closer to actual flower petals. I tested out a few other flowers using other materials, like colored cardstock. These were harder to fold, but the end result is solid.

Step-By-Step Kusudama Flower Ball TutorialView in gallery

Step-By-Step Kusudama Flower Ball TutorialView in gallery

My kusudama might be plain white — all the better for a dark background — but of course you can use whichever colored paper strikes your fancy. Have a look at your local art supply store! The handmade patterned Japanese papers are to die for.

You can also embellish a kusudama with pearly beads in the center of each flower, making it an even prettier decor object for a special occasion. Some people also glue knotted strings into their kusudamas so that they can be suspended in the air.

If you’re looking for a crafty afternoon project, I recommend making your own kusudama!