Adventurous Art

Make it Out of the Ordinary: Faux Luminariaux

This post about making something Out of the Ordinary isthe first of several I will be doing in collaboration with WonderFool Productions as a part of their new initiative, FOOLmoon CommUNITY in which they will enable creative engagement with WonderFool artists both as a response to the current physical isolation, and to deepen and extend their community impact throughout the year.

Written instructions can be found at the bottom of the page.

Under the circumstances we do not assume anyone has any one material at home, so everything we imagine for you will have multiple materials suggestions so that you can truly make something literally out of ordinary things, you already have at home.

This week, we are truly appreciating our artists and the ways that our virtual platform has created CommUNITY, so here is a project made from ordinary materials that will bring back a little extraordinary GLOW!  

Faux Luminariaux:

Lots of luminaries from ordinary materials

You can take materials you have around your house to create your own mini luminary with abstract images created with Crayon and Marker; Re-purposed magazines that create imaginary scenes that pop; or build draw your own scene on regular paper and bring it to life with a flashlight.  

Creating a joyful image

  • What is out of the ordinary for you right now?
  • What did you see this week that  you joy?
  • What story matters to you?

As you read the instructions below, full of technical information, hold on to these questions. Imagine what these things look and feel like. Think about what colors they might be, how they sound, and how to break down the story into snapshots.  

The technical bits are here to give your ideas some legs, but it doesn’t matter if you have all the materials or if your folds are perfectly straight. What you want to express is the most important.


  • Paper
    • Could be plain printer paper with crayon, marker, or watercolor
    • …A page from an old magazine that inspires you (collage post creation to add interest)…
    • …Baking parchment colored with crayons
  • Crayons
    • Works on most light surfaces
    • Flows and blends very well on parchment paper.
    • Wax is hydrophobic, so you can use watercolor or marker on top of it and it will show through.
  • Markers
    • Works best on copy paper, but some markers may be alright on magazines.  Not recommended on parchment paper
    • Can be used like watercolor if you want to do wax resist. Just use a paper towel or brush to gently brush across it with a small amount of water, or mist it with a spray bottle. 
  • Watercolor
    • Only good on printer paper, but don’t use too much water. 
  • Glue (for collage on finished luminaries if you want more details)
  • Other sticky stuff like staples or tape (for lantern version).

Folding Version 1: Origami Box

Diorama Luminary, with collage detail

This version looks more complicated because there are more steps to follow.  However, the kinds of folds that you are doing are easier, so this one is the easier version.  

  • Recommended for young people who have not yet attained the age of 7 or 8.  FOOLish fun for people of any age.  
  • Recommended for printer paper or magazine page.  
  • Fold first, then unfold so you know where the main image should go on the paper unless you’re going to go totally abstract. 
  1. Fold Hotdog style (vertical, longways in half).
    • Use your rectangular paper. Printer Paper size or similar rectangle. It can be a scrap, but it works best with something that is close to A4 or Letter in proportion.
  2. Close the cupboard doors:
    • Fold the two sides so that the whole side goes into the middle, a move called closing the cupboard doors in Origami circles.
  3. Open the whole paper up flat.
  4. Fold Hamburger style (Horizontal shortways in half)
  5. Close those cupboard doors, it’s a wider cabinet this time. DO NOT OPEN this time.
  6. You will see that there are four lines that cut through the cupboard doors like they were window panes in a French door.  The top and bottom fold lines are where we are looking right now. Taking the paper up to the bottom fold line on the right side, make a triangle by matching the folded edge to the window pane fold line.
  7. Do that to all four corners. DO NOT UNFOLD
  8. You will see that you have a kind of irregular octagon now. In the middle where the cupboard doors are folded there is a bit of paper sticking out just past the triangles you just made. Using the triangles as a guide, fold that back.
  9. Here’s the magic part: You can now reach inside the pockets you created by folding back that flap of paper, and pop up your box, carefully reaching inside each corner and pinching along the edge of the triangle to make it stand up.

If we were just learning the box you’d be done unless you wanted to make a second one as the cover to keep something in.  BUT since this is a Faux Luminary, you’re not done yet.  Notice where the bottom (top) of the box is, and fold it flat again.  This is where you can color your scene.  Unfold the box and draw whatever you want inside that rectangle, with whatever materials you want.  

Folding Version 2: Accordion Lanterns

  • Easy, but easier with experience and strong hand eye coordination, so recommended for young people from 7 or 8 years old and up. 
  • Best with parchment paper or printer paper, because magazine paper cracks easily with its coating.  Experienced folders can do magazine paper, but if you haven’t done this before, it is recommended that you use printer paper for your first one.  
  • Draw and decorate your paper first, then fold. 
  1. Accordion your paper, so that the outside folds are mountain folds. There are tips for how to do this evenly in the instruction video.

2. Crease the whole accordion with a marker or round scissor handle. 

3. Fold the top and bottom third of the accordion into a pleasing angle, think the way a capital C curves, and crease as hard as you can.  

4. Open the “C” curves up, so the accordion is a line again.

5. Flip the accordion over and re-crease the folds you just made so they are very strong and deep.  

6. Open the c curves and open the accordion flat-ish.  

7. Lay it so that the accordion zig zags look like stairs or ladder lines going away from you and begin reversing the folds that are on the side of your dominant hand.  I am right handed so I started with my right hand on the bottom fold and carefully followed the crease lines all the way to the top.

8. Do the same process on the other side of the ladder.

9. When you are done, the accordion will be reconstructed, and your c curve will be there flat, but inside out

10. Pop the middle of the curve back to flat, but not the c curves.  This will create an arched semi circle like the picture

11. You can staple or tape the ends together so it stays fully curved.



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