Indian-Japanese inspired

Wedding Centerpiece

Cultures merge beautifully using origami cranes and a baby elephant sculpture

by Cyrus Won


For a wedding involving a groom of East Indian descent and a bride who is Chinese/Japanese, I made a foam elephant wearing a blanket and headdress using 1,001 cranes. It is a Japanese tradition that brides fold 1,000 cranes for their weddings to teach them patience. The cranes are usually displayed in some manner at the wedding reception. Most are strung and hung from branches or arranged flat in a framed design, but I like a sculptural effect.

Wedding Elephant Centerpeice

Following are photos of the elephant’s progress. The most valuable tool I used was the Sculpting Tool that allowed me to scoop large chunks of foam at a time, and also adjust the shape of the cutting edge for flexibility. The Precision Engraving Tool was used for work on the eyes. The size of the elephant was determined by the width of my doors. Working in my spare time, this took about three months to finish, but much of the time involved waiting for batches of origami cranes.

Elephant Sculpture
Roughing out Elephant sculpture

After sketching out the elephant on a full sized block of foam and roughed out the shape I then continued refinement of shape while referring to photos of baby elephants.

Shape smoothed by sanding and eyes more defined.

Elephant sculpture refinement
Elephant sculpture refinement

Final eye treatment (including pupils), and “spine” of origami cranes for blanket and headdress. The final shape was coated with 3 coats of surfboard epoxy to add a hard, glossy shell.

Elephant Sculpture
Elephant sculpture for wedding

 Columns of origami cranes to plot size and shape of blanket

Elephant sculpture with headress
Elephant sculpture with headress
Elephant sculpture with headress

Elephant at wedding reception with admirers

Wedding elephant sculpture

Suggested tools/materials for this project:

All Purpose Foam CoatCrafters Deluxe 2-in-1 kit