How to Make Perfect Square

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How to Make Perfect Square

Postby SpK » July 3rd, 2010, 12:53 pm

Hi,

I'm wondering how most people cut squares, especially for larger pieces of paper for more complex models. I'm kind of a beginner at origami and I feel I'm always limited by the inaccuracy of the paper I start with.

None of the paper I can obtain has exact 90 degree corners, and I don't have a cutting board or whatever its called (I'm not even sure what it is but I've heard its good for cutting accuratly). I've tried searching for different ideas, and currently I try to use a method Sara Adams made a video about (fold one side in a bit, then fold perpendiclarly against the line etc).

Everything I do seems to just be off a little bit and its really frustrating. If anyone has any ideas on how I could cut more accurantly, that would be awesome.

Thanks
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Postby Adam » July 3rd, 2010, 4:49 pm

I share your suffering.

I generally use a cutting mat. I cut the paper using exacto blades. These are very sharp and can generally easily cut through most types of paper. Only the fibers in Unryu can prove to be a bit tough, but it is generally still not too difficult to cut through them. Additionally, I use a 60 cm long steel ruler. Steel rulers are always better, because exacto blades can cut through the plastic of plastic rulers.

The problem is, however, that the 60 cm ruler is too short to cut huge sheets in one go. Instead, I cut about 50cm as precisely as possible. Then I align the ruler to the edge of the cut I made and continue cutting until I've got a nice straight edge.

This method works, as far as I've seen, very well with the somewhat thicker or sturdier types of paper, but if you try to cut a single layer of tissue paper, chances are the paper will tear.

This method generally works quite well, and if you work very precisely and patiently, your sheets should be almost perfectly square (with an error of <1 or 2 mm. )
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Postby SpK » July 3rd, 2010, 5:06 pm

Thanks for your advice.

I too use an exacto knife and a steel ruler (50 cm), although I do not own a cutting mat. I will definitely look into getting one.

Does anyone have any other ideas of how to get great 90 degree angles without a cutting mat?
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Postby jadylyon » July 3rd, 2010, 5:21 pm

well, if you don't have access to a (self-healing) cutting mat but still need something to cut against... use glass. a big cheap square mirror will do the trick nicely. i had a desk with a glass top that was the cat's meow.

as for the 90° angle, you could create a square template from something thin and strong, and use that as an overlay on your paper to mark the accurate corners before cutting?
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Postby leung_wwy » July 4th, 2010, 1:21 am

i actually use a completely different method - using a very small sharp Global paring knife (that's a kitchen knife). no cutting mat required but you might want to use some old newspaper on the table, just in case

with a bit of care, this method (with my knife) is sharp enought to cut through the slightly thicker chunks in the unryu very cleanly.

(for the purposely of viewing perspectives - you are standing on one side of a table, looking from above)

1) fold a straight edge on the paper (just any straight edge) - this is the first fold, and should be along a crooked/non-straight edge. don't be too stingy. make it about a inch wide. Call this "Side A"

2) slide knife into the folded edge (ie between the top sheet and the bottom sheet) and move blade along the folded edge - away from yourself (esp if you don't want to get cut). make sure your other hand is firmly on the paper (or use a paper weight - but I find that hand is much better). I find the best way to do this is to have the folded edge on the vertical, and moving the knife up away from where you are standing.

3) now that you have 1 straight edge on the vertical, create a perfect 90 degree angle by folding the paper horizontally. the straight edge should line up to itself perfectly. How far up (or down) you fold this time is up to you. Again my recommendation is 1 inch minimum to make sure you get a decent cut. Call this "side B"

4) turn the paper 90 degrees. now your original horizontal edge (side B) will be your vertical edge. repeat step 2.

5) repeat step 3 to create "side C".

6) repeat step 4 again, but on "side C". Now you should have 3 edges that are straight, sharp and at 90 degress to each other.

7) for the 4th and final edge, to make sure you get a square, do a diagonal fold on the 3 completed edges (like you would with a square). This fold should make out where you 4th edge should be (side D).

8) Just fold and cut Side D the same way you have done the other sides. and presto! perfect square!
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Postby Trouble » July 4th, 2010, 3:53 am

i use the same methohd as leung_wwy for kraft paper because it is often huge and mine is really cheap and for other special paper i get my mom about once a week to cut it with a ruler and mat ( i cant kut a straight line with a ruler to save my life) and i trust my mom to cut good seeing she is a kindergarden teacher and cuts alot of stuff
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Postby Adam » July 4th, 2010, 9:56 am

I've used the second method many times as well, and noticed that it can be terribly difficult to create a fold that is really perpendicular to the first created edge. It's easy with some papers (kraft), but when trying this method with other papers, the crease ends up being slightly off or slightly curved, because it's hard to keep the fold perfectly straight.
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Postby SpK » July 4th, 2010, 3:36 pm

Currently this method mentioned by leung wwy is the way I (attempt) to make a square, but as Adam mentioned, I am always inaccurate, and I am unable to get a perfect square.

Anyone have any other ideas?
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Postby jadylyon » July 4th, 2010, 5:58 pm

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Postby Masuma » July 5th, 2010, 4:56 pm

I use a large steel right triangle (I don't know what it's actually called) and a rotary cutter. It works perfectly.
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Re: How to Make Perfect Square

Postby Origasm » September 25th, 2017, 7:33 pm

Sorry to reply to an old topic.

I found out the plastic glass from photo frames are 90 degrees, so I use one of these to cut off perfect squares. So head to a second hand shop and find a picture frame and use this glass.
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Re: How to Make Perfect Square

Postby origami_8 » September 25th, 2017, 9:13 pm

That's indeed interesting to know. Might be a cheap alternative to wood stencils.
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