Cheap Gifts from Origami - DVD Review

Cheap Gifts from Origami - DVD Review
This Origami DVD is pretty easy to follow, and offers a lot of unusual shapes to fold, including a few money origami designs. What is nice about using a DVD like this is that you can create a plethora of classy decorations for your home and gifts for your loved ones, using a simple square of paper. If you cut square shapes from your own used office paper (or even pieces of newspaper, the comics, or circulars), then you have an unlimited source of interesting origami paper to choose from without spending any money at all.

Lisa Shea's Origami Instructional DVD

Lisa's voice is very easy to understand and soothing to listen to. You only get to see her hands, but you can very clearly see the paper being folded. You can also hear relaxing classical music in the background (as well as some parakeets chirping, from time to time). :)

Lisa does a fine job of pointing out which are the tricky folding steps in each design and uses simple terminology to describe what part of the paper to fold into where (ie - "tuck the pointy end of the cat's head into the little pocket fold by the cat's ear").

The speed is a little fast for beginners to follow, but the beauty of a DVD is that one can pause, rewind and watch again infinitely. Having the papers folded on a graph paper-type surface is also helpful for orienting the paper positions properly.

The menu offers two options: 1. Watching the DVD from beginning to end, or 2. Using a submenu offering individual origami videos. My suggestion is to always use the menu. There is no introduction to the DVD about origami itself - it just jumps into the first shape, in alphabetical order. So there is no actual reason to watch this as you would a movie.

Since the submenu lists the designs alphabetically, there is no sequence of easy shapes through to advanced. You have balloons, cats, cranes, cups, doves, empress dolls, fish, helmets and so on. In addition, you have to do a lot of menu forwarding to get to items later in the alphabetical order. A longer menu listing showing all the options would be cleaner and easier to use.

I would love to see an updated version of this DVD indicating somehow which designs are easy, intermediate and advanced. With only the word Crane as a title, I need to watch the actual video sequence first to make a guess if it is something I am ready to fold with ease.

I would also like to see the money origami choices pulled out into its own submenu tree. This way if I wanted to refresh my memory on making a shirt from cash, I could more quickly hop to those options.

A few of the instructional sequences end a bit abruptly - for example, I did not get to see a finished version of the balloon shape - but for the most part the filming is smooth and clear. This video is much more easy to follow along with than any book I've tried. Lisa makes it look easy and has good crisp folds to emulate.

Using Your Origami

I appreciate how this DVD suggests what we can do with each shape - how cranes and fish are very nice as ornaments and gifts, and can be attached to handmade greeting cards, for example.

Using your creativity, you can come up with many opportunities to delight people with your new skill. A cup can be made quite easily from any handy paper and will hold water for drinking - you could make one and keep it in your purse or glove box! You could hand these cups to your children to play with at a water fountain in the mall, or place them in a picnic basket for a fun afternoon.

String a chain of doves together for the family Christmas tree. Leave origami money shirts in a card as gifts, instead of a plastic WalMart gift card this year. I could see making a bouquet of irises on Valentine's Day, putting a cat on a handcrafted birthday card, making a fish mobile for a new baby, or even folding a thousand cranes for a family member's wedding - all for the price of some pretty paper.

This DVD is available at

Note: I received this DVD free for review purposes.

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