Origami Fainting Goats

Got Your Goat

I recently went to a new coffee shop here in Spring Hill, Tennessee called The Fainting Goat. I was immediately interested in the name and looked it up on line and discovered that there really were fainting goats here in Tennessee. When I went to the shop for coffee the first time I was inspired by the t shirts and ball caps with goats on them. I went home and decided to create my own origami goats. I actually used a base from a pig model and worked to modify its head to be Goat like. Here is the finished product:

I added some horns to make them more goat-like. Today I took several to the coffee shop and they thought they looked pretty authentic. I guess You could even make them faint by blowing on them. Ha!

Be Inspired

Origami is such a wonderful medium. Don’t be afraid to experiment. I often see something and think of how I could fold it up with paper. Think of the many origami bases and you can probably choose one that fits the subject the best. Some models may require more than one piece (compound folds), but many can be made with a single sheet of paper.


Share With Others

I have discovered that giving Origami to others is a great way to make friends as well as encourage others to enjoy the hobby and art forms of origami. Today I also took one of my Christmas trees and gave it to the librarian as I checked out some books. I also often use Origami to tell others the stories from the Bible while sharing my faith.  Just about everybody loves Origami. Why not fold some up and find some one to share with.

From Pig To Goat:

Above you can see the pig fold on the left that was used as a base to create the goat. The only part that needed to be modified was the head region.

Waxing Eloquently: A New Way to Treat Origami


Wax Covered Origami

I recently experimented with encaustic wax while in Texas. We took some of the Stars I made from recycled paper and painted over them with hot wax.

Melt Some Wax:

After selecting your origami star, heat up the wax.

Select Your Colors:

Next, you select the colors you want to use and cover the form with several layers of wax brushed over the surface.

Create Texture:

After the coating with a thin layer of wax you can create texture. By letting some of the wax drop onto the surface after painting them with a coating of wax I was able to develop a nice texture.


Adding Pigment:

After letting that dry we rubbed over them with a pigment. Next you use canola oil over the surface and then rub off pigment except where it stays in the nooks and crannies. Here is what the finished product looks like:

Waterproof and Rigid:

Once coated the stars became rigid and shiny. If you add a thread loop you could use them as Christmas ornaments. They would also make cool mobiles. You could just use them as set apart art forms or mount them in shadow boxes.

The Blue and Yellow One Has a Yellow Bottom and Multi-colored Top. I dropped yellow over the blue base color. It works best when the wax cools a little but is still runny.

Origami Christmas Trees

A Favorite Christmas Fold

Which do you like best?

One of my favorite folds is the Origami Christmas Tree. I love to make these every year to give away and to put on the mantle to create a small forest of trees. I have often used them while giving a devotional about the true meaning of Christmas in which I describe how the tree relates to the first coming of Christ. He actually came to die on a tree for our sins. The Bible has a lot of other things to tell us about trees as well. Check it out.

An Easy Fold

This project is actually quite easy if you take the time to make your creases heavy and carefully.

Let’s Start!

You start with an inverted water balloon base.

To make it you fold an X on one side of the paper, then turn it over and fold a cross in the center of the paper. Interestingly the “X” is the second letter in the Ichthus which is the symbol of Christianity. IXOYE in Greek means, “Jesus Christ God’s Son Savior”. When people write X-mas is isn’t necessarily to remove Christ from Christmas since the “X” means “Christ”.

Start With Several Squares of Paper

In order to form a symmetrical tree you need to start with several squares: large to small. You can make as many layers as you like. The more you have the taller the tree.

How to Make the Tree Base

Using the Inverted Water Balloon base you next squash it flat with the open side down.

Fold Up Each of the Four Points on the Bottom


Next We Will Create the Smaller Branches

You can already see the basic tree form in the previous fold. To enhance the look we will create four smaller branches in between the four larger ones. Flatten the base and fold the top layer both to the right and to the left as shown below. This will create a “rabbit ear” fold.

This Will Do In a Pinch!

To create the small branch all you have to do is pinch it out like this:

Repeat this process on all four sides and then use your fingers to squeeze the form into the shape of the tree again so it looks like this:

Start Large and Work Down

Next, take your largest unit and place it on the bottom. Take the next largest one (or one of the same size, if you have made two or three of each size), and continue to add them as you go up. In order to hold them in place you put 8 tiny drops of glue on each surface at the top. Don’t use too much glue! A tiny drop will hold it and set more quickly than a big drop. Pinch the outside to get it to hold its position on top of the previous unit. Squeeze and hold and the glue will set almost immediately. Continue to stack units to create your tree.

Start Your Own Forest



You can also make a trunk for your tree. Here are the directions for the trunk.

Use a square sheet of brown paper. I like to use recycled brown paper grocery bags. Fold the square just like you did for the tree portions up to this point.

Now, fold the right hand diagonal side down so it meets in the middle.

Flip this flap to the left and repeat with the right side of the under level. Then flip the paper over and do the same on the back side so it looks like this:

Now, to lock the trunk so it won’t come undone and to make the bottom flat, fold up the triangle portion at the bottom as shown below:

Repeat on all four sides to finish the trunk.

Now you only have to put a little glue on the top portion and insert it into the bottom of your tree and squeeze. Hold it until the glue dries and you have completed the whole tree.

Here Are Some Fun Ways to Use Them:

I often like to give trees away around the Christmas season. I once made several trees and gave them to a neighbor who took them to a hospital for the elderly and gave them out to the older patients who were not able to have a real tree in their rooms. They really enjoyed them. I made several for my daughter-in-law to use at a Christmas tea for women. She used them as center pieces and then let each lady take one home after the event. They make great center pieces for the table as well as fun decorations for the table top. I suppose you could add a string and make them into a mobile. How will you use them?  Have fun and be creative. Remember that this is the season for giving so make a lot of them!

Here is another type of origami Christmas tree:

Don’t Stir Up A Hornet’s Nest!



Not Just an Old Saying! “Don’t Stir Up A Hornet’s Nest!”

Have you ever heard this expression? It is often said to discourage people from entering an argument or engaging with an angry person. However, there is some substance behind the origin of the saying. How do I know? Personal experience!   On two occasions I have accidentally stirred up a hornet’s nest.


I remember several years ago in Idaho, walking down the edge of the creek while fishing. My pole tip was out in front of me and I was watching the stream looking for a likely place to catch a nice big trout. Next thing I know I hear a lot of buzzing. I discovered that the tip of my pole had run into the large hornet’s nest that was clinging to some branches near the shore. I took off trying to avoid the mad hornets out to get me for disturbing their nest. The only safe place I found was the creek where I submerged for a bit hoping the hornets would leave. After holding my breath for as long as I could in the cold water I emerged and the angry creatures had returned to try to repair what was left of their nest. Needless to say, I am much more careful when walking along steams these days.

Too Close For Comfort!

I recently had an even more dangerous encounter here in Tennessee. Our Community Group from church was helping a person in our neighborhood who has cancer. We were working to clean up and care for his yard around the house. While cutting back the brush way back near the house I accidentally struck another hornet’s nest. These guys were even bigger than the Baldfaced Hornets I had encounter in Idaho. These were the largest hornets in Northern America, the European Hornets, AKA “Giant Hornets” They got to me before I noticed their attack. I was stung a couple times right through my gloves and on my arm. Painful!  The pain lasted for the rest of the day and the next day the spots where they had stung me itched terribly. Eventually the pain went away.

After doing some research on these hornets I discovered some interesting things about their behaviors and life history.

They Are Not Called European For Nothing!

These Hornets came from Europe via New York. They were first discovered in New York in 1840. Since then they have spread to all the states East of the Mississippi River and have even extended their range to parts of South America. Their nickname “Giant Hornet” has to do with their size. Many are as large as 1 1/2 ” (2-3.5 cm).  Interestingly they are not as aggressive as some of our native wasps and hornets….unless……..you threaten their nests! When they are in close proximity to homes they can pose some danger. If you find them near your house it is probably wise to call a professional to deal with them since they know how to manage them without getting harmed.


Brown and Yellow and Red

As you might be able to see from the pictures these hornets have more of a yellow and brown striped look. Sometimes their heads are more reddish than brown. If you are familiar with the Bald Faced Hornets, they are usually more white and black banded. Our native Yellow Jackets have yellow and black stripes.

They Eat Big Things!

These hornets like to eat larger insects and spiders. One of their favorites is grasshoppers. They also prey on dragonflies, mantises and robberflies. They also like to eat other types of meat….Spiders.

A Neat Trick:

Scientists who have observed them for many years have discovered that these hornets like to specialize in preying on the large orb weavers (like the Zipper Spider in my earlier blog). Here is what they have observed them doing. They sometimes intentionally run into a spider’s web and pretend to be trapped. They actually have cut through the webbing that usually holds the spider’s prey until it is bitten and  then eaten. As soon as the spider comes out to enjoy his freshly trapped meal the tables are turned and the hornet strikes the spider and paralyzes it and then carries it off to the nest to be eaten.

What’s With the Rings on the Trees?

Another interesting behavior of these hornets is what they do to trees near their nests. They go out and chew the bark and mix it with their saliva to build the paper for their nests. They have a habit of returning to the same tree over and over again creating rings around the trees where they have stripped off the bark. The paper they make is very good at protecting the nest from water and cold and heat. If they build their nests outside  they also build a wall around the nest to protect the cells inside. Since they often build their nests inside of hollow trees and in the walls of buildings they do not always have these external protective walls, however. You might see the paper around the openings where the insects enter and exit the nest. I wonder how they learned to make this paper. I think it was a talent given them by God.

Watch Out for the Females!

Interestingly it’s the females that sting you. The males do not. So…….how do you tell the difference? Well, if you really want to know, there are several differences. The males are usually smaller in size than the females. The males have seven segments on their abdomens while the females only have 6. I doubt that you could see these differences until it was too late to avoid the stings however, unless they were already dead. Apparently their antennae also have a different number of segments but you would need a magnifying glass to see this characteristic. Best to observe them from a distance and photographs!

Often Harmful to Honey Bees

One of the draw backs of these hornets is their appetite for the common honeybee. Did you know the honeybees also came from Europe so there seems to be some history here. If you are raising honeybees you probably don’t want these guys around. Even though they eat many harmful insects that might threaten your garden they also eat many beneficial ones.

Best To Leave Creatures Where You Find Them!

When God created the many different creatures He put them in areas where they were helpful. It seems man has often moved creatures thinking they might benefit them in places other than their native habitats. This almost always creates a problem as time goes on. Many times the non-native species compete with the native ones, sometimes even leading to their extinction. Non-native species often are brought into the country accidentally attached to food products and plants. This is why there are many people employed to check items brought across state and country borders. We need to be careful to check our items carefully and help prevent unwanted pests. Though they are not so great out of place they were created for their native environment and serve a purpose there in controlling the populations of harmful insects. They are interesting creatures to examine up close…when they are dead! I suggest you look at pictures of them online and read all about them in the many articles you can find written by experts who have studied them for some time.

Here Are Some Things to Research:

Find out how the females over-winter to start new nests in the Spring.

What are Pheromones and how are they used by these creatures?

How painful are their stings compared to other bees and wasps?

Do hornets die when they sting you like honeybees?

A Special Thank You:

I would like to thank my friend Heather Davis for capturing this specimen for me. She lives near the house where I was stung earlier this year. She also is a blogger with interesting posts.