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Teabag folding is a form of origami the development of which is credited to Tiny (pronounced Teeny) van der Plas, who as a practitioner of origami developed the technique in 1992 as a papercraft art for embellishing greeting cards. It uses small square pieces of paper bearing symmetrical designs that are folded in such a way that they interlock and produce a three-dimensional version of the underlying design.
Origami (meaning literally "ori" folding "kami" paper) the Japanese art of paper folding dates back to antiquity. The name Teabag folding was coined after Mrs van der Plas first set about folding the greetings cards. The wrappers were essentially square and of equal size, the two main prerequisites for producing symmetrical and pleasing imagery.
Like many crafts or art forms the expression continues to be developed. The basic kite fold is used to produce rosettes that are a 3 dimensional version of the 2D design. There are many other folds and designs in existence and they are only limited by the imagination of the artist. Typical designs show birds, butterflies, flowers and generally imitate some raw beauty found in nature.
Tea bag folding is relatively simple.
Cut decorative paper into small, square sheets (called “tiles”). Fold the tiles in a rather simple manner. Glue the folded sheets side-by-side to form a rosette (called “medallions”).Origami Resource Center
Many of these squares are available commercially.
The basic rosette design requires eight matching squares to be folded into the 'kite' design. Math teachers find the designs very useful as a practical way of demonstrating some basic properties of symmetry.