Modified Cardboard Polyhedra

Modified Cardboard Polyhedra

Inspiration: flower of life, cardboard furniture, wooden puzzles for adults, red paper model with brass fasteners (not pictured), FREE rubber bands, Buckminster Fuller


Dodecahedron iterations 2 and 3:


Final Ai final for laser cut (triangle, square, pentagon):

Final modified polyhedron:


Drawings of final objects:


Platonic Solids Project Reflection

For my nesting platonic solids project, my initial inspiration was the red, paper sculpture that was held together with gold fasteners. I believe it was an icosahedron, and each triangle was articulated by three folds within a circle. I was immediately attracted to the way the circular flaps seemed to make to shape less angular and geometric, and more organic. I knew that I wanted to use the concept of folding circles to create a modified platonic solid, but I wanted to push that concept further, by cutting circular windows on the interior of each triangle. The first solid I created was the dodecahedron, and every circle was folded along the sides 5 times, to make 12 regular pentagons. Initially, I taped the flaps to one another, but I knew that I would have to decide on a mechanical connection further along in the design process. Struggling to cut the shapes perfectly by hand, I decided that it was time to get laser trained. I attended a training, and began to cut the circles, with the hexagon “scored” inside, to create guidelines for folding. It took a lot of trail and error in order to figure out the exact settings to cut through the material in certain areas, and engrave the material at the best depth in others. At this point, I still wasn’t thinking about mechanical connection. I glued the first laser cut model together, just to triple check that the design was effective.

Eventually I decided that a good mechanical connection might be grommets, inserted through a hold that went through both flaps. I purchased the grommets, and began to assemble a new dodecahedron. The chipboard that the shapes were cut from, however, became too damaged throughout the process of hammering in the grommets. While the design was sleek, and I still like the idea of grommet connection, I had to trash that model. I would like to remake the circular dodecahedron, but with a flexible plexiglass as opposed to paper. I believe that the gold grommets would be beautiful paired with clear plastic, and the plastic would be less vulnerable to a slightly messy care-taker.

At this point, I found myself at a crossroads. I was frustrated with the amount of material I was buying, especially because Blick is literally my worst nightmare. There was still a fair amount of trial and error on the laser with every new material I used, and I couldn’t see another piece of material go to waste. So I said “screw it.” I would make a finished sculpture out of two things that are always free: cardboard (from the street), and rubber bands (from the printing stations at TNS). With those new self-imposed constraints, I began to cut circles on the laser, this time with triangles as the interior shape, as opposed to the pentagons I had been working with thus far. In my head, I determined that adding “tongues” to the interior circle would give the rubber bands something to hook onto. That idea worked well, and I was able to print a few shapes, attach them, alter my design, and then print more. Soon I had made the three platonic solids that are formed from triangles: the tetrahedron, octahedron, and icosahedron.

I am definitely not done with this project–I have a million different ways I want to push my design. The first thing I’m going to do is make a new, larger, PERFECT icosahedron out of cardboard. Each circle will be 12’’x12’’, and the tongues will be longer, for a more secure rubber band attachment. I will then spray paint the circles red on the front (the side with visible scoring) and yellow, or white, on the back. I also want to fully execute the dodecahedron, complete with its grommet attachments. I see these sculptures as some type of adult puzzle, because their assembly is relatively complex and mathematical. I think that I will make more of them, and then it will become more clear what the “why” is.

1 Comment

  1. Jose DeJesus Zamora · March 17, 2017 Reply

    Your project is flawless and beautiful, as is your process and your reflection. I think your brought the material to a new level. You demonstrated the possibility of the corrugated cardboard. I wish you would have used more variety. I am going to suggest you look into origami patterns which are meant to be executed using paper, but I have used acrylic film and Mylar (or Duralar depending on the brand) and successfully folded the pieces but in a much larger scale than traditional origami.
    I also want to comment on your drawings, I like them but they are pretty much illustrations of your photos. I would like you to use the circles matrix that we used during class and that you used in illustrator to create the color composition you showed me earlier in the semester.
    Look forward to more!!

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