I haven’t posted in a long while, and the reasons are twofold: First, my job is currently keeping me extremely busy, which hopefully is a temporary problem only. And second, I am currently working on a papercrafting project that is much more complex than originally anticipated. I hope it will soon see the light of the day…
In the meantime, please see below a little project I made for my daughter’s birthday: A clown playing the concertina as an invitation card.
The concertina unfolds and reveals the text of the invitation. The clown will stand upright if you don’t open the card too much.
This is how it looks from the front (no text yet):
In order to actually write on the card, it’s best to flip the inner part out, like so:
The card is quite simple to make: Just cut out the three parts, glue the two clowns together at their back, and glue the inner part of the concertina to the clowns. Make sure that you use light cardboard – normal printer paper is too thin and will not allow the card to stand upright.
Just in time for the end of this year (and Christmas, in case you want to make this as a gift for someone), I have updated the stegosaurus calendar (you will find the template for the stegosaurus itself behind this link).
This time, I have decided to make cards for a weekly calendar as well as for a monthly one:
The weekly calendar allows for notices and appointments to be added to the cards, but is a lot of work. After all, you have to print and cut out 52 cards.
You may remember the stegosaurus calendar. In addition to its use as a calendar, you can do all kinds of other things with it. In order to facilitate this ‘hacking’, I have prepared a template for blank cards:
Very importantly, make sure that you use thick enough cardboard. Something in the range of 300 g/sqm is fine. If the cardboard / paper is too light, the model will easily warp and the cards may no longer fit.
Start with cutting out all parts: Note that there is one part (for the tail) which is inside the right side part. It’s highly recommended to use an X-acto or similar crafts knife.
Next, fold the long center piece and glue it to the side with the “window”. Make sure that the walls are parallel and leave enough space for the cards.
Attach the other side:
Next, assemble the four feet:
… and glue them to the body:
Then attach the tail:
Now on to the head: This looks more complicated than it is. First, before you start assembling the head, cut a slit where the mouth is.
If you are a perfectionist and have a good knife, you can cut out the year and put it into the dinosaur’s mouth:
Following up on my previous post of a Maneki Neko / Lucky Cat, here is an alternative design courtesy of my five year old daughter (if you are more interested in the original, more traditionally textured model, click here):
She decorated a blank test model with a black felt-tip pen. This is probably just a father’s biased pride, but I very much like the black and white minimalism.
Since I was quite fond of the design, I carefully disassembled the model, scanned the pieces and created a new template.
Finally a new model, and frankly one that I’m a bit proud of – after all, it did require quite some work to get it right in the end. And it’s my first one with movable parts. It’s a lucky or beckoning cat, popular in Japan and China (where I got the inspiration, when I was travelling there).
The beckoning cat is supposed to bring luck and wealth. This one can actually move its arm. Here is a video:
The underlying mechanism is actually quite simple and consists mainly of a small paper pendulum with a coin as weight.
Here are some more pics of the assembled cat:
I have to admit this was the most difficult model to design so far, and it is quite tricky to build – especially the mechanism for the arm. You have to pay attention to allow the arm to rotate freely. Any friction will cause it to stop rocking back and forth.
In addition, the whole model is a bit complex for beginners, and it is important to build everything in the right order – otherwise you may paint yourself into a corner. Here is a photo tutorial:
Start with the mechanism for the arm. In order to keep things nice and clean, this is a standalone contraption that later goes inside the actual cat body. Here are the parts:
First, build a holder:
Now assemble the left arm, but leave one side open yet:
There is a small square with a hole in the middle. This goes into the upper arm and is intended for holding and stabilizing the stick that later will hold the arm in place. Take a wooden stick about3 mm in diameter, wooden skewers are perfect. Insert it carefully into the arm, like so:
Now glue the missing face to the arm. Then insert it carefully into the holder:
Make sure it rotates freely, without any friction. Shorten the skewer so that it is a bit longer than the holder. If it is too long, it will not fit into the body, so be careful.
Next, assemble the head:
First, take the largest part and glue it into a helmet shape:
Now take the two smaller parts and glue them together. This will form the face:
Now glue the face into the “helmet”, and finally close the head with the bottom part. Then attach the ears:
Ok, onto the final part – the body. In a first step, build the front half only, starting with these parts for the right side and hind leg:
Continue with the front:
… and add the left side, which includes the hole for the left arm. You will end up with something like a hemisphere:
Now glue this hemisphere onto the base plate:
Now place the holder for the arm into the body. Align the ring with the hole for the arm, then glue the holder to the base plate and the ring to the hole – this will ensure that the arm is firmly centered in the hole.
Now you can insert the arm:
Ensure that the arm can rotate freely. Then lock the skewer in place by glueing the small disk to the end. Now it’s time to attach the pendulum weight. You will need a small coin as a weight:
Make sure that the arm is in the right position (upwards) when the weight is attached. Also, test that everything works smoothly. The arm should swing back and forth when you tip it.
If everything is ok, you can glue the backside in place:
Alright – almost there. The only thing left is to attach the head, and you are done:
By the way, there are Maneki Nekos with either the left or right arm up. The significance is not universally clear, but if you want a cat with the right arm up, you can print out the templates mirrored. Most printer drivers allow for this option, sometimes called ‘T shirt transfer’.
I admit this is “somewhat” kitschy, but it can still make for a nice little gift for children, if you want to give them a set of pencils or felt-tip pens (kids love kitsch). It’s a peacock pen-holder:
In case you wonder what the golden scribbles mean, and if they maybe are the next Voynich manuscript, I have to disappoint you: They are just that – decorative scribbles.
Now, making this model is a bit complicated, so I decided to make a small photo tutorial. The model consists of two pages. Page 1 contains the body, page 2 contains the peacock’s fan.
Start with the body. Score and cut out all three parts:
The larget part forms the body and neck. Glue the sides to the base, in order to get a ‘boat-like’ structure. Do not glue the remaining sides yet:
Glue the head, including the yellow beak. The head is small and detailed, so take time and be careful.
Now insert the back side of the neck and the top of the body into the previously made ‘boat’, and carefully glue the neck and head to the body:
After that, you are almost done with the body.
Now, very importantly, I suggest adding small weights to the base. Just glue one or two small coins inside, close to where the neck begins. Otherwise, the weight of the pencils being at the back end of the model, the peacock will be prone to tipping over.
Glue the remaining flaps and get something like this:
Now it’s time to start working on the fan: Cut out the holes in the strip, then glue it to the main ‘taco-shaped’ part, but leave one side open:
We have to insert separator tabs, so that the pencils stay in their intended positions. Otherwise they will stick out at arbitrary angles and don’t form a nice fan. Thus, glue the tabs radially into the base:
This doesn’t have to be 100% accurate and symmetrical. The important thing is to provide some guidance for the pencils and keep them separated. Now glue the base of the fan shut, and attach it to the body:
Congratulations – you are done. Just add six pencils, and there you have your red-golden peacock. You will notice that adding just one pencil in the leftmost or rightmost position will make the model fall over, so add them symmetrically.
This is also a caveat: As nice as the peacock is, it’s probably not the most usable pen holder for daily use. Consider it more as a decorative accessory or for presenting a gift (and don’t sue me if after your hard work on building the peacock, it doesn’t hold up to your heavy duty office demands).