Folding cubes flat – and popping them back up!

Fri, 10 Sep 2010

I've been experimenting. Finding different ways of folding a cube flat so that it can spring up again. I have a few different projects planned with fold flat shapes at their centre.

There is a downloadable file at the end of this post so if you are a member you can try this at home. This shape works nicely. Two tubes at ninety degrees to each other. The inner tube is 1/2mm shorter on each side than the outer one so that they fit together snuggly.

The finished cube is nice! There are no obvious creases and edges. Once popped up it really is hard to see that it folds flat! I just need to work out where to fit an elastic band.

This is the cube made from the cross shaped net in the download file. A single diagonal crease on opposite faces allows the model to fold flat. It works well but the gap round the edge of the face is kinda big and ugly.

This one works well. It folds flat and pops up nicely. The half faces work as a natural limit to the movement of the model.

I'm going to have a go at elasticating the first model. I might have a go with other shapes as well perhaps a pop up dodecahedron next!

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Comments (4)

  • Smelter September 11, 2010 at 8:08 am

    Excellent idea Rob, I’ve been

    Excellent idea Rob, I've been planning to work out something like this for some years, ever since my first employer had a pop-up shape made as a give away to customers that had a calendar printed on some faces, with holes for pens and pencils on the top (making it a useful desk top item), and adverts for their products on faces that were left.

    • robives September 11, 2010 at 10:38 am

      Thanks! I’m just printing out

      Thanks! I'm just printing out a dodecahedron net to have a go with…

  • Shelley Noble September 12, 2010 at 6:10 am

    This is great. It makes me

    This is great. It makes me wonder how it could be used as a mail piece to be a clever gift or promo. Designers are always looking for a way to wow via the mail.

    • drinkumbrella January 4, 2011 at 4:28 am

      I used your first cube design

      I used your first cube design as the basis for my holiday card this year. Instead of a snap-up, I used a string, so the victim can pop up the cube by pulling the string. Pic at

      Took longer to assemble than I hoped, but it was a cute little project. It seems people enjoyed the novelty.

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