Life-size elephant created from one piece of paper

Origami Elephant

Origami elephant looks over shoulder of its creator, Sipho Mabona; photo by Philipp Schmidli/Caters News Agency used by permission

With a single sheet of paper, Sipho Mabona of Switzerland created a life-size elephant. Mind you, he used a big sheet of paper.

Origami elephant

Origami elephant created by Sipho Mabona; photo by Philipp Schmidli courtesy of Mabona

Taking the art of origami to the extreme, Mabona used a 50 x 50-foot-square piece of paper and, with the help of three assistants, folded and folded, and folded some more, working six days a week for a month, three to 10 hours each day.

The end result is a remarkable piece of origami artwork, currently on display in the Art Museum in Beromünster, Switzerland, where it was built.

"I’m really happy about how it turned out," Mabona told GrindTV Outdoor in an email. "Actually, it exceeded my expectations because if you have a small rendition sometimes the proportions are good, but then when you make it larger the proportions might no more really be as good.

"But with the White Elephant the proportions where actually better. I was also worried about the thickness of the paper since it was thinner than expected. But in the end the texture of the paper looks great."

Here's a time-lapse video showing part of the process:

Mabona was 5 when he began folding paper airplanes, and continued doing so for 15 years until he ran out of paper airplane designs. So in 2000, he turned to origami, hoping to create original designs. And he has done just that, becoming a professional origami artist with his work exhibited in galleries and museums around the world.

For the White Elephant, Mabona raised $27,000 from a fundraising website to be able to afford the materials and the hiring of assistants to help him build it. He used an aluminum frame and covered it in clear lacquer to add rigidity.

Origami Elephant

Origami elephant and its creator, Sipho Mabona; photo by Philipp Schmidli/Caters News Agency used by permission

Mabona created the White Elephant to show proof that there are no limits to what can be made out of an uncut square piece of paper.

"I believe that origami and the White Elephant are so fascinating due to the prevalent belief that the use of only one piece of paper is very limiting," Mabona told MailOnline before beginning his project. "But actually the very contrary is the case. In the art form of origami a simple piece of paper can be transformed into anything imaginable.

"It's exactly this transformation, which in my opinion stands for many struggles we have to overcome in life. This project will be a great experience for us to share with you. Hopefully it will change the public's perception of origami and make people realize what a powerful art form it can be."

Origami elephant

Origami elephant creator Sipho Mabona with smaller version; photo by Philipp Schmidli courtesy of Mabona

Similar stories on GrindTV

Diver surrounded by millions of jellyfish in Jellyfish Lake

Albino blue marlin surprises anglers of Costa Rica

Hammerhead shark eats out of diver's hand

Follow GrindTV on Google+