Adapted from Kathy Ceceri’s book, Make: Paper Inventions

This week, the Maker Camp project path we’re focused on is the Give it Form track. These explorations take you from paper modeling to digital sculpting, showing how to transform flat 2D shapes into 3D forms. Start by prototyping with paper, before getting creative with cardboard construction, and then doodling and printing in 3D.

This doesn’t have to be expensive. Most of the materials you need to do 3D projects at home can be found in your local crafts supply or hardware store. In fact, you probably own many of them already. The following lists include items that are good to have on hand at home, as well as suggestions for groups and in the classroom. Keep your supply cabinet stocked and you’ll always be ready to try some fun and amazing inventions!

Paper

For inspiration, your paper stockpile should include as many colors, patterns, and weights as possible. Regular office and children’s craft paper is fine for most Maker Camp projects.

  • Copy paper: for most projects, recycled paper with printing on one side is fine
  • Card stock: stiff heavy paper with a smooth surface is best
  • Construction paper
  • Origami paper: nice to have, but not necessary
  • Machine paper: long thin rolls are handy for some projects, but not required.
  • Recycled newspaper: full sized is best.
  • Recycled magazines: Glossy home, cooking, and fashion magazines will have lots of colorful photos to use. Ask your local library for old copies.

Art Materials

These are just the basics. Feel free to supplement with your own favorites:

  • Markers
  • Crayons
  • Pencils
  • Pens
  • Glue sticks
  • White glue
  • Masking tape
  • Clear tape
  • Shrinkable plastic sheets (or recycled #6 plastic food containers)
  • Play-Doh

Sewing Supplies

For these items, you may have to visit a specialty shop or order online.

  • Embroidery hoop: can be used as a screen for making paper
  • Teflon nonstick pressing sheet: used to keep ironing boards clean

Housewares/Groceries/Dollar Store

Kitchen items are easy to find in your local grocery store. Discount and dollar stores can also be a great place to find small electronics you can salvage for parts as well as cheap household items.

  • Large plastic basin or aluminum roasting pan
  • Sponge
  • 2 smooth dish towels (not terry cloth)
  • Rice flour
  • Potato starch
  • Plastic wrap
  • Wax paper
  • 2 frying pan splatter screens: can be used as screen for papermaking instead of embroidery hoop.
  • LEDs: cut from strings of lights or from mini flashlights
  • Rubber bands: lots and lots of them!

Hardware

Most local stores will carry these.

  • Aluminum foil tape
  • Copper foil tape (used for gardening)
  • Pliers (for bending wires on LEDs)

Electronics

Small electronics parts are becoming harder to find locally. Try online retailers such as DigikeyAdafruitSparkFun, and Jameco.

  • LEDs: Red LEDs are the most versatile, but you can buy a mixed bag of LEDs and test out different kinds.
  • 3 V coin batteries (CR2032): You can buy these in bulk from Cheap-Batteries.
  • Circuit Stickers: These lights and electronic sensors are specifically designed to be used with paper. Buy them through Chibitronics.
  • Rectifier: A component that turns AC current to DC.

Software

Sculptris: Free 3D modeling software

Extras You May Find Helpful

  • Small, sharp, pointy scissors: While you need to be careful, a small pair of really good scissors will make cutting out many of the patterns much easier. They can even take the place of an art knife.
  • Ruler: Helpful for measuring and for drawing straight lines. If you choose to use an art knife, a ruler is also useful as a guide.
  • Paper or foam plates: They can help you keep all your materials and small pieces of paper in one place while you work.
  • Large ziploc bags: For storing small pieces of paper or finished objects.
  • Programmable cutter: Many paper projects will go much faster if you own one of these machines.
  • Notebook: If you’re making changes and trying new things, writing down the details in a “Maker’s notebook” will help you remember what worked and what didn’t.
  •  Camera: Take pictures while you work to record and share your cool creations!