Sometimes it's just more fun to let a little piece of paper make a decision for us, be it paint color, vacation spot, or dinner delivery. You might remember these paper fortune tellers (also known as cootie catchers, chatterboxes, salt cellars, or whirlybirds) from your grade school days, made to pass time and bring a laugh or three. They're great to play around with for nostalgia sake, or when you just can't make that really "difficult" decision on your own.
A fortune teller works by having the person who's fortune is being told choose a color from the ones labeled on the outer folds. The operator of the fortune teller then spells out that color by moving the sides in and out in a pinch and pull motion four times as they spell out "B-L-U-E". After spelling out the color, freeze your hands in whichever position they are in when they land on the last letter. Four numbers should now be showing when you look inside the paper toy. Have the person who's fortune is being told pick one of these four numbers. Move the fortune teller that exact number of times, then have the person pick one last number. Flip the paper over to reveal the fortune that corresponds with the last number they picked.
What You Need
- 8 1/2" x 11" sheet of paper
- Writing instrument (crayons or markers if you want to get colorful!)
1. Lay your sheet of 8 1/2" x 11" paper on a flat surface so the 11" side is vertical.
2. Bring the bottom left corner over to the right edge and press firmly along the fold.
3. While the first fold is still in place, bring the bottom right corner over to the left edge of the paper and press firmly along the fold.
4. Trim off the top portion of paper that has not been folded.
5. Unfold your paper to its original position and press flat.
6. Bring the bottom right corner up to the center of the square, press firmly along the fold. Repeat this step with each remaining corner.
After step 6 has been completed with all corners, your square should now look like the photo above.
7. Flip the new square over so that the folds are now on the back side.
8. Once again, fold each corner up to the middle of the square, press firmly along the fold.
Once each corner has been folded, the square should look like the photo above.
9. Bring the bottom half of the square up and fold in half along the middle horizontal fold as shown in the photo below.
10. Unfold step 9 and repeat this step, folding along the middle vertical line as shown.
11. Insert your thumb and pointer fingers under the petals, or outer folds, on each side and press up and towards the center of the square so that peaks form on the tops of each outer corner as shown.
Now it's time to fill in those boxes! Open up the fortune teller and lay it flat so that the four outer boxes are facing up.
12. Traditionally, the outer boxes are labeled with colors, grab a pen or crayon and label each box with a color.
13. Flip the paper over and label each of the 8 triangular sections with numbers. They can be any number you like, just remember the higher the number, the more work you fingers will have to do!
14. Lastly, fold back the triangle sections and write fortunes (paint colors, or names of restaurants!) on the insides of each section. You should end up with 8 fortunes (or mis-fortunes!). Refold your fortune teller and help your loved ones make rational, informed decisions. Have fun!
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Re-edited from a post originally published on June 30, 2015