Toy "blooming flower" uses nested, dyed fans of tissue paper to surprise, delight

As I get ready to (finally) return home from a month-long tour, I'm taking stock of the gifts I scored for my daughter Poesy on the road. First up is this Toysmith Blooming Flower an incredibly clever little papercraft toy. It consists of a complex of folded and cut tissue paper, sandwiched between two plastic rods. When you open out these rods, the tissue paper fans out to make a lovely paper flower.

But that's just for starters. If you give the flower a shake, it "blooms," as other paper fans, in contrasting colors, emerge from the insides of the first-order flower. Each shake or sharp tap creates a new structure, each more lovely than the last. It's difficult to explain, but itsmecharlee posted the above YouTube video in which a charming little girl masterfully demonstrates.

This is the second time I've brought these home (I discovered them thanks to a tip from Bettina Neuefeind, who sent me to the amazing Black Ink, near Harvard Square in Cambridge, Mass). The first one lasted for more than a month, which is pretty good for a mess of fragile, glued-together tissue paper in the hands of a then-four-year-old. They're only $4, and the kid is five now, so this time I'm bringing home two. They're really lovely and cool.

Blooming Flower from Toysmith


14 Responses to “Toy "blooming flower" uses nested, dyed fans of tissue paper to surprise, delight”

  1. s2redux says:

    Can we thus assume that you finally got your bloomers back from United?

  2. laurakeet says:

    I loved these things when I was a kid! Got them at the gift shop of the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, I think.

  3. hungryjoe says:

    Here’s a vaguely similar thing we saw a lot in China:

  4. Steve White says:

    I got my three years olds these several years ago in Chinatown. Endlessly cool and surprisingly durable.

  5. Sekino says:

    That brings me back! My aunt got me one when I was a kid. They’re fascinating.

  6. There was one left at the Amazon link, so I grabbed it. At least I thought I did: We’re sorry. Some items became unavailable after you added them to your shopping cart. Click here to return to the product detail page and try another seller.

  7. Timmo Warner says:

    Sometimes I can put them on my shirt? When? When?!

  8. GlenBlank says:

    I have one of those sitting about two feet from my keyboard in a pencil jar.  It was a favorite among the acolytes of the Church of the Holy Toy, a religion I accidentally invented after-hours at the old LHC RenFaire in Agoura.

    I once had a strolling magician aboard an Amtrak train from Santa Barbara to LA invite me to the Magic Castle after I gave him the one I had at the time, which I’d demonstrated as a response to his sleight-of-hand. (Lost his card, though, and couldn’t recall his name, so I never got to take him up on it.)

  9. Dimmer says:

    “I once had a strolling magician aboard an Amtrak train … invite me to the Magic Castle after I gave him … one”

    Two innuendos in one sentence. Prizes! Maybe even three if you count the “Magic Castle”.

  10. blueelm says:

    Oh wow. I had several of these as a child. I never knew how they worked and was not the sort of kid to strike or shake a toy. So I would just kind of open them a little and then shut them back thinking “wow, these things are too easy to break.” 

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