Origami: How to Keep Cool and Make a  Paper Wind Chime

Origami: How to Keep Cool and Make a Paper Wind Chime

August is nearly over, and it’s still sweltering hot. Why not cool your space with a summery origami?

Until recently, it was the humble senpūki (floor fan) that kept Japanese homes cool in the summer. Only gradually over the last 50 years has AC become commonplace in all homes and offices. For a country where high temperatures reach the hundreds and humidity nears 100%, this requires some fortitude, as well as some clever tricks to survive the summer heat the green way.

How to Stay Cool in Summer Without AC

Uchi-mizu (打ち水) is one of those old tricks. You often see elderly Japanese, and sometimes business owners, watering the sidewalk in the morning. As the sun climbs higher and temperatures rise throughout the day, the water evaporating from the ground helps to lower the surrounding temperature.

Sudare (すだれ, bamboo screen) or a flower trellis hung outside a window serves as a decoration and a natural shade at the same time. Some people use cucumber plants so they can enjoy a harvest of summer veggies while they’re at it.

Eating cooling foods is a basic trick to keeping a healthy body temperature. Fresh fruits and vegetables, or cold noodles like sōmen and reimen are rejuvenating, especially when eaten from dishes made of glass, which should remind you of ice.

If you are struggling in the persistent summer heat this year, try some of these tried and true tricks. Let us know how they work out.

Now, on to the main topic of today’s post: the summer wind-chime, fūrin. Normally it’s made of glass, but today we are putting on our crafty hats on and making out it of paper, beads, and string in 8 easy steps! Here is what your fūrin will look like when you’re finished. Don’t you feel cooler already?

How to Make an Origami Fūrin (Wind Chime)

To make your fūrin, you will need:


  • colored paper
  • a pencil or pen
  • scissors
  • a ruler
  • a glue stick
  • Elmer’s glue or other liquid adhesive
  • a hole punch
  • thin yarn or twine
  • beads with a hole just large enough for two strands of twine to pass through
  • something to protect your work surface from glue

Step 1: Measure, Mark, and Cut

To make the body of your fūrin, you will need to measure eight 1 cm x 20 cm strips of paper (mark the center, as well as 1 cm from each), one 1 cm x 20 cm strip (mark every centimeter), and one short tanzaku 3 cm x 10 cm.

Step 2: Hole-Punch and Fold

Use your center line to help you punch a hole in the middle of the eight narrow strips and top of the tanzaku (not pictured), leaving the 17-cm strip whole. When punching the holes, be careful that you are punching in the dead center. This will help later with symmetry. Also, you will eventually will need to fold the tips of each of the narrow strips of paper upward at the 1 cm mark. We didn’t fold them until a later step, and then the glued pieces kept trying to come apart. Fold them now to save yourself some trouble.

Step 3: Glue

After all the ends are folded upward, take one of the strips and put a little glue around the center hole. Take another strip and place it on top perpendicularly to form a cross. Make sure the holes are aligned. Do this for all the remaining pieces.

You should now have four crosses. Next, add a little glue to the center of one of the crosses and lay a second one on top perpendicularly to form a snowflake.

Next, rather than laying the next cross on top of the snowflake, take your two remaining crosses and make a second snowflake, like this:

Now glue the two snowflakes together. You see? Some of our holes were off-center, so the spacing between each strip is uneven.

Step 4: Make Ring

Now it’s time to make the ring that will help make your craft 3-D. Take your 1 cm x 17 cm strip and put a little glue on the square at one end. Lay it over the square at the opposite end and press tightly.

Step 5: Attach to Ring

Next, add glue to the tip you folded upward in the previous step, and hook it a square anywhere on the ring. Press firmly. Then add glue to the opposite end of the same strip, and hook it over the square opposite the one you just glued.

Continue doing this until all the ends are attached. (As you work your way around, it’s better not to move to the strip right next to the one you just did, but to ones further away. (Think of the strips as the numbers on a clock. You first attached 12:00 and 6:00. Next you should attach 9:00 and 3:00, rather than 11:00 and 5:00 or 1:00 and 7:00. This will help you adjust for overall balance.)

Step 6: Hole Punch Tanzaku

Have fun with the tanzaku. If you use pure white paper, write a seasonal kanji or add floral stickers–morning glories and sunflowers are good choices for summer. If you want a design but don’t have stickers and can’t draw it, use an old postcard or origami paper.

Step 7: Beads and Thread

Measure out a length of string about 30 cm when folded over. (This is our natsuzora (夏空 summer sky fūrin. We forgot to take a picture of the string with the white one)

Add a drop of Elmer’s glue to the tips of the string and twist them together to form a point, and pass this through the bead.

Leave a loop at the top.

Now pass the string through the hole you punched in the tanzaku. If your tanzaku has a design only on one side, be sure you go from front to back.

Bring the string through the loop. (Ignore the detached tanzaku in the background. It should be attached at this point.)

Pull tight, and add another bead.

Next, measure 10 cm on the string with a ruler, or use the tanzaku as a guide, and tie a knot.

Drop a bead on top of the knot.

Pass the string through the body of the fūrin from the bottom, add a special bead, and tie a knot.

Use an artsy bead with wafuu taste.

Or add a touch of color or a seasonal shape like an apple.

Next, tie two knots a couple centimeters apart, just below the glued ends. This is for hanging your fūrin. Snip of the end, and that’s it. You’ve made an origami fūrin!

Step 8: Display!

Have fun hanging your fūrin in different parts of the house–next to the TV, by the window, from a light fixture, wherever the light or a cool breeze catches it best. Thank you for reading to the end of a lengthy post. If you share your creations on Instagram, please do tag us @wafuuinthewest. Have a cool day!

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