Origami Heaven

A paperfolding paradise

The website of writer and paperfolding designer David Mitchell

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Designs from Playing Cards
 
This page attempts to record what is known about designs folded from playing cards. Many of these designs use cuts and so can be considered to be cardboard modelling / cartonnage. Please contact me if you know any of this information is incorrect or if you have any other information that should be added. Thank you.

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La Voiture de Cartes - 1725 onwards

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Card Castles built by the Column method - c1735 onwards

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The Playing Card Cube - 1759 onwards

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Playing Card Monks / Capuchins - c1760 onwards

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1821

Folded Playing Cards used as bows on kite tails

'Les Jeux de Jeunes Garcons', illustrated by Xavier Le Prince (otherwise known as Xavier Leprince), which was published in Paris in 1822 (although the drawings are dated 1821) contains a picture of boys using folded playing cards as bows on the tail of a kite.

The accompanying text reads 'At the bottom of the kite hangs a long tail made from a string to which are attached, from distance to distance, folded and flattened cards or half cards; the tail terminates in a kind of cut paper tassel.'

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1827

There is a section on 'Les Decoupures de Cartes' (Card Cut Outs) in 'Manuel Complet des Jeux de Société' by Elisabeth Celnart (a pseudonym of Elisabeth Félicie Bayle-Mouillard née Canard), which was published by La Librairie Encyclopedique de Roret in Paris in 1827. This section contains instructions for making other objects using cardboard modelling / cartonnage fold and cut techniques: Les fauteuils (The Armchairs) / Tables / Assiettes (Plates) / Corbeilles (Baskets) / Seaux (Buckets) / Paniers a salade (Salad Baskets) / Chaises (Chairs) / Les chaises a barreaux longes (Long Bar Chairs) / Maisonnette (Small House) / Chaine (Chain). The instructions are not easy to understand and I have not fully succeeded in reconstructing these designs.

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1831

Much of the material contained in Celnart is reproduced in translation in 'Manual completo de juegos de sociedad o tertulia y la prendas', translated by Frances for D. Mariano de Rementería y Fica, which was published by Palacios in Madrid in 1831.

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1888

How to Make a Chain from a Playing Card

This effect appears in 'La Nature' Issue 808 of 24th November 1888 in an article by Arthur Good (who also wrote under the nom de plume Tom Tit) headed 'Recreations scientifiques' and sub-headed 'Transformation d'une carte a jouer'..

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How to Climb Through a Playing Card - 1890

This effect dates back to at least 1723 but as far as I am aware this is the earliest reference to using a playing card as the basis of the effect.

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