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It’s the Japanese art of paper cutting, which involves cutting and folding paper to make detailed designs. It’s the cutting element that makes this art form different from the more common origami, which only involves folding paper. The term “kirigami” has been used in Japan for a long time, because “kiri” means “cut” and “gami” means “paper.” But the term was only introduced in the U.S. in 1962, thanks to Florence Temko’s book, “Kirigami: The Creative Art of Papercutting.”
If you ever made a paper snowflake as a kid, you’ve already done kirigami. This is one of the most simple kirigami structures: a folded base that’s unfolded, and cuts that are opened then flattened. Other simple, symmetrical kirigami structures include pentagrams and flowers.
Of course, accomplished kirigami artists go way beyond snowflakes and flowers in their creations. One such person is Haruki, a Japanese artist who goes by the name @02ESyRaez4VhR2l on Twitter, who creates incredibly intricate works of art using the packaging from everyday objects as his materials. He has earned more than 93,000 followers on Twitter, and you’ll understand why when you see some of his work.
For example, just check out what he pulled off with a few Pringles potato chip cans in 2018. He made the Pringles logo into five really impressive figures with colorful suits matching the colors of the packages! Nearly 200,000 Twitter users have liked it so far.
プリングルズ の空箱たちで工作しました！ pic.twitter.com/s1tGJaKjTw
— 空箱職人 はるきる (@02ESyRaez4VhR2l) November 17, 2018
One of his festive structures was a Christmas tree scene made from a basic box of popular Japanese chocolates. As you can see below, he cut the box in a way that made a beautiful tree and turned the little glass of brandy into a display of wintry magic!
— 空箱職人 はるきる (@02ESyRaez4VhR2l) December 14, 2019
From a Starbucks coffee pod box he created an amazing dragon. Perhaps the coolest twist was putting the iconic mermaid from the company’s logo behind the dragon’s head, basically turning her into Daenerys from “Game of Thrones“! It’s easy to see why it got more than 162,000 likes.
— 空箱職人 はるきる (@02ESyRaez4VhR2l) November 29, 2019
It’s hard to believe this owl started life as two basic cardboard cartons that contained soy milk. You can see how he used the red suns from the package’s artwork to make its intense eyes.
— 空箱職人 はるきる (@02ESyRaez4VhR2l) November 1, 2019
Starting with an empty box of chocolates, Haruki fashioned an elegant violin player. This guy is seriously a wizard with some paper and cutting tools.
— 空箱職人 はるきる (@02ESyRaez4VhR2l) July 23, 2019
He created an extremely detailed scene featuring a young girl in a treehouse from a biscuit box. It picked up more than 200,000 likes, making it one of his most popular pieces ever! Can you spot the cat?
— 空箱職人 はるきる (@02ESyRaez4VhR2l) October 19, 2019
Two battling figures, complete with hats and weapons, began as empty cardboard boxes.
— 空箱職人 はるきる (@02ESyRaez4VhR2l) October 12, 2019
You know those iconic instant noodle cup cartons? The artist got everything he needed to make an astronaut from one of them. That means his materials cost less than $1 for what is a really cool piece of art.
— カップヌードル (@cupnoodle_jp) May 7, 2019
Some of his creations have required several boxes. For this village scene, Haruki used 16 boxes (four of each color seen in the first image). The result earned him more than 500,000 likes on Twitter!
— 空箱職人 はるきる (@02ESyRaez4VhR2l) March 25, 2019
If you’re inspired by Haruki’s creations, there’s really nothing stopping you from giving it a go. You already have everything you need in your pantry.