The Fitful Flog

December 10, 2005

Geflocktne Dreidl

Dreidl is a Yiddish word meaning “top” or “little spinning thing.” Geflocktne means “twisted” or “interwoven.” I’m not in the least sure about the inflection – please feel free to send corrections. This one is showing nun up, meaning that you win nichts, nada, niente, nichievo, not so much. Spin again, please.

At Hanukkah, it traditional to spin the dreidl and play for chocolate coins or nuts. Some time in the 80s, after Kasahara’s Omnibus came out and I learned how to divide things into fifths, I made a dreidl from a square. It was a tube with one fifth overlapped. It was okay, but it didn’t spin very well and I always had this nagging feeling that the top was rigged, just like loaded dice. And someone else independently created and published diagrams before I did. Really, it would be hard not to do it that way.

This one is made from a silver rectangle (A5, specifically) and uses a couple tricks to avoid the pitfalls of my last attempt. By twisting the paper, we get one fourth of the weight on each side, while still allowing us to box in the space and lock it shut. Knowing that there wasn’t sufficient weight to get it to spin for any length of time, we drop a Tootsie Pop into the interior and use the stick as the handle. The lollipop weighs six tenths of an ounce (or masses 17 grams, for those of you keeping score at home), just about enough to maintain centripetal force for a few seconds. And it’s kosher.

This fold is dedicated to Mrs. Petzel, who lived in my town when I was a gormless lad and frequently lent me origami books and BOS magazines. She lives in San Diego now and is more widely known as Florence Temko.

The CPs are here:
Geflocktne Dreidl for A4 paper
Geflocktne Dreidl for American letter paper

A slideshow showing the construction is at Flickr.

5 Responses to “Geflocktne Dreidl”

  1. 1
    Gila o Says:

    Here is A dreidl that Alma has folded with help of your instruction after that I reocmanded your dreidl in The Israeli forum.
    Thank’s for the dreidl

  2. 2
    oschene Says:

    Hey Gila,

    I got such a kick out of that, you can’t imagine. Please give my best to Alma.The glitter is festive and shows a proper attitude towards glue – not for structure, but for decoration.

    I saw the discussion on the Tapuz board and was quite frustrated to discover that I couldn’t find a web interface to translate it. I like the design of the board very much, particularly the way the entries expand and contract. We need something like that here.


  3. 3
    Alma7 Says:

    Hi Philip,

    Gila told me she wrote a comment here.
    I’m so glad you liked my dreidl!
    I added the glitter glue, because the white seemed rather dull. Next time I’ll just paint the printed pattern before folding. The structure is good and strong, and it doesn’t need any use of glue at all.
    I also wrote about it in my daily blog.


  4. 4
    Debra Says:

    This looks so cool! My daughter and I were really excited to try this, but we can’t figure it out 🙁

    Something miraculous happens between figure 3 and 4, but we have no idea how to make it happen. Maybe it’s because we’ve never twisted paper before… but if anyone could tell us what to do with the bottom two rows of “squares” when twisting the fan, it might help? It’s been awhile since this was posted or anyone commented, but I’m hoping from the amount of views that someone’s still out there folding dreidels 🙂

    Happy Chanukah!

  5. 5
    oschene Says:

    “Something miraculous happens….” Very apt, very apt.

    Hmm. Did you check the orientation of your folds? Blue is mountain fold and red is valley — if these are in place, the piece will want to twist, just as it does in the photos.

    Happy Chanukah!

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