Sunday 19 July 2020

Cut It Out

I've been having some fun in the past week. My original idea of the "poster book" has taken a DIY turn, and become the "cut and construct" booklet. I have always been a fan of those card models where an entire three-dimensional Houses of Parliament or Peregrine Falcon has been reverse-engineered into a sheet or two of card printed with shapes to cut out, score, bend, and glue, complete with guidelines and assembly instructions. By comparison, a cut-out accordion-book is a pretty simple challenge.

In fact, what I like most of all is the way the pristine, flat sheet of card looks before it has been imperfectly butchered with scissors and turned into yet another dust-magnet around the house. So these DIY booklets have been set out as if they were intended to be realised as card-engineering projects, but are actually meant to remain intact as 2-D pictures. I have created them as 60cm square images – six so far – but (in the unlikely event that anyone were ever to select one of them for an exhibition) I would probably reduce them to 50cm or even 40cm and present them in that very contemporary-looking, frameless, "dibond and acrylic glass sandwich" style. I think they'd look great.

Another aspect of card-engineering that intrigues me is the construction of packets and boxes, particularly the lighter-gauge sort used for tea, biscuits, and other grocery items. Ever since recycling was introduced I have taken to carefully disassembling such packaging, rather than simply stomping it flat, as I have become fascinated by the sheer variety of solutions to what you might think was a fairly simple, standard packaging problem: make a six-sided box using a single die-cut piece of card that is rigid enough to withstand handling and transport, yet easy enough to open, and if necessary act as storage for the contents. Some of the designs are as simple as you would expect, but others are bafflingly baroque: any Brits reading this might want to try deconstructing a range of teabag boxes into their original complete flat sheet sometime. Points will be deducted for tearing any card: the PG Tips box is a particularly intriguing challenge.


Kent Wiley said...

A fun project!

One year our holiday card was a four sided pyramid w/ family photos and famous, wise-ass quotes, intended to be folded together by the recipient. The mailer envelope was the real challenge that year.

Mike C. said...


I did something similar some years ago, creating a thing called a "flexagon", which showed different pictures when manipulated. I should probably do a post abut it.