For us Canadians, we all know why 2017 is a big important year in our history. For our American friends and international colleagues, if you don’t already know, this year marks the 150th birthday of Canada. It was on July 1st, 1867 that the Dominion of Canada officially became a nation with the unification of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, and Ontario. This is the year of Canada 150!

From coast-to-coast, Canadians are finding unique ways to acknowledge this anniversary. As a cardboard artist, I had to create my own over-the-top way to celebrate my Canadian pride at home.

Therefore, without further ado, I would like to present to you my creation – the Giant Modular Cardboard Canadian Flag Maple Leaf!

Cardboard maple leaf

Celebrating 150 Years of Awesome Canada with a cardboard maple leaf

It is a large 6-foot tall 3D vertical maple leaf that is made up of four separate sectional pieces. This maple leaf can be used to post displays and family pictures or can be used for trade-shows. It can be used for anything you want. Furthermore, due to its modular design, it can be taken apart and stored for future Canada Day celebrations.

Personally, I made this giant maple leaf as a display for my handmade official Canada 150 trading card series 150 Years of Awesome Canada. After I am done offering the cards, I plan to re-purpose this display for future made-in-Canada designs I have planned for trade-shows in 2018.

This is how I made this grandiose ode to Canadiana:

The first step is time-consuming, but a necessity for large-scale crafts like this. What I am referring to is using multiple pieces of white Bristol board, taped together, to make a basic grid template of the full maple leaf. Time is spent using a meter stick to measure inch-by-inch lines both horizontally and vertically. The design of the maple leaf is based on a simple symmetrical rendering I found on Google and the finished height chosen was arbitrary – I simply wanted a display as tall as myself (6’4”).

Taking time to make a giant template grid with Bristol board, pencil and a meter stick

The completed grid layout on the Bristol board

After setting up the grid lines, I designed the left half of the leaf standee by choosing connecting points on the grid and tracing the lines joining those points. Once the left side was designed, I copied those same points on the right side to create an opposite perfect mirror image. Using a cutting blade or a trusted pair of scissors, the full maple leaf design is cut out. This shows what the basic design looks like.

The maple leaf master template cut from the Bristol board

Because I want the maple leaf to be modular, I had to decide how it will separate into smaller pieces and how they will join with ease. I decided to use the grids on the template design to make side slots and tabs. Thus, all the slots are in the middle piece and the corresponding tabs are on the side and bottom pieces.

The main template split into the four modular sections with slots and tabs

The joys of tracing – my favorite part. I always trace my templates onto double-corrugated cardboard when making my crafts. To ensure the final design is durable and able to support itself when assembled, I traced each template section to make three double-corrugated layer copies. For each section, one layer will be the center connector to link the different sections together. The two other cardboard layer pieces are the outside parts to be spray painted later.

Three copies of each modular template section traced on double-corrugated cardboard

Here is an example of the three layers of the traced middle section. The middle layer has the slots so that the middle tabs of the three outside sections can insert within. The other two layers are whole and do not contain the slots.

The three completed cut-out cardboard parts of one modular section

Once all the layer pieces of each section are cut out, they are glued together. I used my trusted friend PL Premium. Using 10 lb. weights, I let them dry for at least 12 hours.

Using weights and PL Premium to glue each individual modular section together

Once dried, outside I use red spray paint to color the three outside sections and white to color the one center section.

The three exterior sections spray painted red

The one center section spray painted white

As for the bottom standing base, a flat piece of cardboard won’t allow the design to stand on its own. Therefore, I cut an extra piece of cardboard using the original template. I split that piece perfectly in half and glue each half on either side of the base section’s center. Once dried, it’s spray painted red outside and voila – a sturdy standing base.

Adding extra leg supports to the base to ensure the joined leaf can stand on its own

And here is the complete standee in all its glory.

Here is the finished design ready for whatever art will be added

As I mentioned before, the completed maple leaf standee is being used currently at comic book conventions to promote the official Canada 150 trading cards I make. If you would like to obtain copies of 150 Years of Awesome Canada, you can garner a complete set on Facebook, eBay, Etsy or on my website Zelphacomics. The cards honor our amazing country and are limited to 150 signed and numbered copies. It even contains the first ever President Trump meets Prime Minister Trudeau trading card. People have gotten a good laugh out of that one!

Completed Canada 150 Maple Leaf design

150 Years of Awesome Canada trading card booklets displayed on the maple leaf for comic conventions

This maple leaf design can be used for any purpose desired.  Bring it out for public Canada Day celebrations, adorn it with family photos or make a game out of it. Use it at trade-shows or have it as a school prop – the applications are endless.

And if you no longer need it, away to the recycling bin it goes. No waste and 100% green!

Happy Canada 150 to all my fellow Canucks. And to our American and international friends, take a little time to learn more about Canada. You’ll be pleasantly surprised with what our young country has achieved in a mere 150 years.

Trump and Trudeau card

The first ever Donald Trump meets Justin Trudeau trading card! #150yearsofawesomecanada

Aboot Canada 150, eh!