Recipes may seem like an unusual thing to have on an origami site, but I’ve noticed over the years that there seems to be a strong connection between people who like origami and people who like food. And at conventions I’ve been asked for particular recipes, so here they are.


We will start with the Scottish traditional sweet known as tablet. It’s a curious sweet in that very few people in Scotland will buy a commercial version. This is partly because they either make it themselves, know someone who makes it, or will buy it from a home-baking stall at a local fete. But it’s mainly because the commercial versions really aren’t as good as the home-made stuff.

The other problem is that everyone who makes it has their own little tweak to the recipe, their own preferences for the texture or colour (which ranges from near white to light brown) or even the flavour (should I add vanilla? Or not? If so, how much?).

But what everyone agrees on is that their granny made the best tablet! So if you want to be known as a premier tablet maker, become a granny. This is more of a problem for those of us burdened with an Y-Chromosome, but, as we all know, to be the best at something requires sacrifice!

Recipe 1 (which I got from my sister) :-

750g / 26oz granulated sugar
275ml /9 fl oz milk  (semi-skimmed or whole)
80g / 3 oz butter (salted or unsalted)
1 tin (397g/14oz) condensed milk

Use the biggest pan you can find, this boils up quite a lot. I use a large soup pot (10″ diameter and 7″ deep).

Melt the butter in the milk. (If you must, you could add 1/4 tsp of vanilla essence here)

Add the sugar and stir on a low-medium heat until all the sugar is dissolved.

Bring it to the boil and then reduce the heat to maintain a rolling boil until it reaches a dark toffee colour. (Note. the colour lightens on cooling, so don’t stop at the colour you want the tablet to be). This takes at least 20 ro 30 minutes, stirring frequently.

When the correct colour is reached, take it off the heat and beat the mixture until it loses most of its glossy look. Pour into greased or lined tins (or silicon moulds) and leave to cool.

When finished it should be hard, but when you bite it it should be persuaded to melt in your mouth.

Recipe 2 :- (from my wife)

1kg / 2lb granulated sugar
270g / 9oz butter
1 tin (397/14oz) condensed milk
600ml / 1 pint of hot water.

Method exactly as above but replace ‘milk’ with water.

This recipe takes longer to simmer to the correct colour (at least 45 minutes) and a lot more beating. But the final result is slightly softer. This one definitely benefits from 1/4 tsp of vanilla added while melting the butter.

Hints and tips:-

While boiling, it doesn’t really smell too sweet. Don’t worry, it’s absolutely fine, keep going.

Don’t be tempted to skip or skimp on beating the mixture. It takes a good 5 minutes or more. It should lose most of its gloss and the bits that go up the side will eventually sound like sand when you scrape them off. It’s about ready to pour at this point.

It doesn’t cut easily, unless you score it about 5 or 10 minutes into the cooling process. (Some of us like the rough cut look though)

If the tablet isn’t setting (either liquid or turning into soft toffee) you can scrape it back into a pan with a little water, gently heat it and then bring to the boil again. Simmer for a few minutes and beat again.



Origami In Scots

Flypit Paper:-Origami in Scots

(note: this is pronounced ‘FLIPE-it’)

 Flypin’ Paper; Kin ye no’ dae it richt?
Dae yer spuggies look mair like coos?
Dae ye no’ ken whit the wee pictures mean?
Dinnae fash yirsel’! Read this an ye’ll no’ get in a fankle.


Flype afore (valley or glen)

Flype ahent (mountain or ben)

Sneck alang here

Dae it again, ahent

Birl it roon

Birl it o’er

Keek frae here

Pan it doon (or in)

Blaw it up


Noo gang awa an’ maik yer ain flappit doo!

 Guid flypin’.

Dennis Where’s your Kami

Well I just got in from Edinburgh
I fold paper but I ain’t no nerd
The lassies all want a flapping bird
Dennis where’s your kami?

Let the folds go high
Let the folds go low
Down the street in my kilt I go
And all the lassies say hello
Dennis where’s your kami?

A lassie asked for a modular ball
but naw, it would nae lock at all
I nearly gave Montroll a call
but then I found my kami


To fold a kilt is my delight
It isn’t wrong, I know it’s right
The treemakers would get in a fright
If they saw me with me kami


Well I made a frog all for a show
but in 3D it wouldnae go
So I hiked up my Kilt and gave it a blow
Now you can’t do that with kami!

Chorus & fold.

First published in BOS Magazine issue 247 December 2007

The Natural Laws of Origami

There are in origami a number of unofficial ‘rules’, e.g.

  • Start from a Square
  • Use only a single sheet
  • Don’t cut
  • Don’t Glue

Most of these are, at some time or another, broken (if not utterly smashed) by almost every folder.

It has come to our notice that there are other ‘rules’. However in their seeming inevitability, they are more like ‘The Natural Laws of Origami’.  In other words, where there is origami, these laws will be seen to exist. We present here those we have observed throughout almost 40 years of origami experience. Please feel free to submit any others you may have encountered.

  1. Right angles aren’t.
  2. For the purposes of origami, white isn’t a colour.
  3. The instruction you don’t understand will have the next step over a page.
  4. The book won’t lie flat or will close over at the point you need both hands to complete a particular fold.
  5. A picture is worth a thousand words , but a couple of lines of text is useful.
  6. Don’t expect a rabbit-ear to look like a real rabbit’s ear, and definitely don’t expect a double rabbit ear to look like two.
  7. Anything thicker than 4 layers will not thin down to a point, no matter what the diagram looks like.
  8. When teaching a model, the tricky bit is the bit obscured from view by your fingers.
  9. Model complexity can be defined as the probability of your first attempt going in the bin.
  10. You can fold foil. It’s unfolding it that causes problems.
  11. White paper is only good for sheep, clean geometrics and people who can’t fold accurately.
  12. Any particularly difficult sequence of folds will be followed by an instruction to either “Repeat behind”, “Repeat mirrored on the other side”, or worse, “Unfold Completely”.
  13. The number of hours spent perfecting a model is only exceeded by the number of guesses other people require to correctly identify the subject.
  14. Nice to Fold. Nice to look at. Easy to teach. Pick one.
  15. The number of identically coloured sheets in your paper stack will always be one less than the number of units that the model requires.
  16. Never eliminate the possibility that a mallet might be useful.

Written by Dennis Walker & Martin Quinn, first published in the BOS Magazine Issue 245 in August 2007.