I love making little papercraft figures, but when it comes to displaying them or giving them away, I'm always worried they'll get crushed or lost in the shuffle. So this past weekend I made a little display case to house my latest creation, Maleficent by Gus Santome. Check it out:
Isn't she adorably evil?
She's in a dimensional shadow box with a curved mirrored backing. Here's a side view so you can see inside it a bit better:
The best part is how easy this is to make! All you need is a small cardboard box and a sheet of mirror foil paper from the scrapbook aisle. You can display any kind of papercraft in it, of course, but I highly recommend Gus's designs; they're a great size, and he has dozens of fabulous (free!) geeky characters to choose from, from the Ninja Turtles to the Avengers.
First, you'll need to print out and assemble your papercraft character:
These particular designs are super easy to make, so they're perfect for beginners.
(Sorry I don't have any size reference here, but she's only about three inches tall.)
Next, find a sturdy cardboard box that's large enough to house your papercraft:
Next, measure and mark a half-inch border around the face of your box:
[PRO TIP: Instead of forcing your utility blade all the way through the cardboard, trace your lines lightly with the blade first, then go over the grooves again. It should only take two or three traces to get a perfect, clean cut.]
I was in a hurry to finish this for a friend, so I forgot to grab photos of the next step. Oops. So just visualize with me, if you will: You're taking the box outsiiiiide. And now you're painting it with spray paaaaaint. WoooOOoooo!
If you're making your own Maleficent display, or some other character who would benefit from a ring of paper flames, then print out your paper flames next. I used this graphic:
Just open it in Word or some other image software, and size it so it's slightly wider than your box. (Yes, slightly wider.) Then print it on the color paper of your choice (I used green and black) and cut out your flames:
Now here's the fun part:
At some point you're going to want to hide the corrugated edges where you cut out that front panel from your box. You could use ribbon, foil tape, more paper, etc. I used silver foil curling ribbon, since it looks just like the mirror backing:
I've also installed the paper flames here. To do this, just curve them a little and use a bit of clear tape to adhere them to the side wall of the mirror backing. (You could also install them in a straight line, but I thought the arc looked nice.)
Here's what we've got so far:
Now all you have to do is add your character!
Since most papercraft has a flat/square head and the mirror backing is curved, you'll first need to glue a paper strip like this to the back of your papercraft's head:
Fold a tab under on each side of the paper strip, and glue it in place so it gives you a nice curve. Then glue the curved strip directly to the mirror backing in your display. The papercraft may bobble a little if you jostle it, but it's a surprisingly strong support.
You can glue a sawtooth hanger to the back of your display box and hang it on the wall, or just set it on a shelf as-is.
Of course, the final step that I didn't have time for was installing a tiny green LED behind the flames. But just imagine with me for a moment how awesome that would have looked. [imagining] Mmm. Yep. Next time.
This was a gift for my friend Christie, who, in cast member terminology, is "good friends" with Maleficent at the Magic Kingdom. (So give her a wave for me if you ever see the castle show.) That means I have to make one for me next - and I've got my eye on the Evil Queen. What do you think, guys? Make the box edge look like the Mirror on the wall? Eh? Oh! Or I could make Iron Man, with a jet plume shooting out underneath him, like he's flying. Oooh, the possibilities...
I hope this sparks some crafty brain-storming of your own, and as always, please send me photos if you make one yourself! I love seeing what you guys come up with!