A Wave to Hope

My final project is made out of 780 origami balls strung through 26 LED fairy light strips. All arranged to create an image of an ocean wave. Once I decided on doing the origami mural for my project, the very first thing I had to do was decide what image I should create. Playing around in photoshop using a canvas only 30×30 pixels, I created this image of an ocean wave.

I cut down some of the images and put it all in excel to then count how many balls I actually needed to fold and how many for each color. I put a letter in each box for each color and used control F to find how many there are of one letter, thus helping me find out the number of balls for each color. Then for each column, I counted how many balls I needed in all three colors for one strand of LEDs. To make sure my counting was correct, I added up all the numbers in each column and made sure they added up to 30 (because there were 30 lights on each strand). Then to keep track of which ones I threaded on the LEDs, I made them green in excel. To keep track of how many I was folding, I makd a sheet of tally marks for each color.

Afer folding all 780 balls, I blew them up and poked holes on the other ends of the balls so I can string an LED through. I did this by attaching a piece of a thicker wire to the ends of the LEDs and using it almost like threading needle. Doing this I discovered the LED wire was longer than the 30 balls on each strand if they were stacked up on top of each other. To fix this problem, I twisted the wire between every single LED to make sure every ball has a light and that they will be side by side. At the ends of each light strip, I bent my threading needle so that it would hold all the balls in place. After that, I put up 26 command hooks and hung all 26 lights next to each other.

I realized they were not all aligned perfectly at the bottom or at some places in the middle even if the very tops were all aligned. So I went back to each individual strand and either untwisted some of the wire between the LEDs or twisted it even more. After doing this, I got the exact image I was looking for.

I was very scared at first of this not working or not finishing on time. Making one ball took about 2 minutes ( 1,560 total, or 26 hours). Then poke holes in each ball and stringing them on one strand of LEDs took 1.5 hours each (for 26 strands~40 hours total). After calculating that, I was worried I would be in a rush making it and there would be no time for any errors. Yet I got help from some friends to help fold and I was able to finish earlier than I planned! I had to thread them all on my own though, but I just went home one weekend to work on them straight and got almost all of them done. I didn’t have too much trouble with this project, just that it took up ALL of my free time.

Here is a video of how I did this whole project


I am beyond proud of how well my project turned out. I created an ocean wave because of it has a very special meaning to me. Growing up, every summer I would go to my grandparent’s house and stay there for almost all of the summer vacation. This house has been in my family for over 100 years but recently we had to sell it, due to recent storms destroying our land. Our whole family was in tears letting this house go, especially my grandpa, as his dad built the house. Therefore I created this ocean wave to represent our beach and ocean and dedicate this project to him.


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