Cut Out: Colonization Catcher


Cootie catchers are an old pen-and-paper game, usually used amongst young friends at sleepovers to learn more about each other. The Colonization Catcher tweaks the format to open up some tough, modern conversations. Cut out along the dotted line and fold your very own! If it’s been a while since you made one, snap a picture of the instructions before folding.

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Just as zines have been around for ages, so has the infamous cootie catcher. I’ve always made these paper games. As a pre-teen, they revealed which hot male celebrities my friends and I would each marry. Such hopes were in vein for this young baby queer (hey, dodged that bullet!). But even in high school, I made these to pass the time and take jabs at friends. Pick a color! Pick a word. In any case, here’s your fate

Cootie catchers have that Magic 8 Ball feel, like it could tell you (and your friends) something about yourself that you don’t know. This recent catcher feels the same, promise. Is it bullshit? Is it real? Do you think it’s pointing something out? This Colonization Catcher knows your secret reconciliation flaws and answers all your questions about cultural appropriation.


How to Fold a Cootie Catcher:

Read all instructions first, and practice on a square piece of paper if you’re unsure. Take your time and fold carefully. For the best creases, use a flat, hard object to press down each fold. A bone folder is best, but a dull butter knife, credit card, pen tube or hardy fingernail will also do the trick.

1. Cut out this square (or your own square design, once you get the hang of it).

2. With the design face up, fold the square in half, edge to edge. Then unfold, and do the same for the other direction.

3. Flip it over so the design faces down. Fold each corner into the centre, making a smaller square with triangular flaps.

4. Flip it over again, so the question text is all face up. Again, fold each corner into to the center.

5. Now, fold down the middle (edge to edge) and crease the edges so they align. Open and fold in the other direction, creasing again.

6. Pick it up and scoop your fingers under the flaps. Push the corners together to meet at a centre point, so the flaps push up and out.

You did it! Gently test opening in both directions to make sure folds are all aligned, and then hit the streets. Go forth and try out your new Colonization Catcher on a friend using the instructions below.


How to Use the Colonization Catcher:

1. Ask your friend to pick one of the words on the top of the closed cootie catcher (e.g. “let’s” or “appropriation”)

2. Moving the flaps in and out and side to side in time with the letters, spell the word they have chosen out loud, while simultaneously opening and closing the catcher for each letter, alternating directions. Remain open on the last letter.

3. Ask your friend to choose from the questions on the inner flaps. Count out the accompanying number, opening in alternating directions in time with your count. (You can repeat this step if you want).


4. Finally, let them pick a final number or question and reveal the answer on the inside flap.