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


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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.)

  4. “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”.

      1. It’s true, it is – fortunately, I was invited to the Castle on several subsequent occasions by other people – which somewhat lessened the sting of misplacing the first invitation. :-)

  5. 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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