At the design conference/workshop I went to a few weeks ago, there was a… creative community? … which, in addition to their business cards, had these blue sheets of card stock with dotted lines all over them. As a fan of folding things into other things and one who knows that a lot of origami starts with a square sheet of paper, I was intrigued. On the back were instructions to “make the d:cl logo 3-D, origami style” and a address. I got all excited:

…and then I brought it home and made fold-y things.

square sheet of light blue card stock with dotted lines and d:cl logo
Contents: 1 square sheet of light blue card stock.

I was somewhat intrigued about how one might origami a logo, until I realized that their logo was contained in a square. 3-D, a cube. I’m folding a tiny box! Ok, that makes way more sense than a whole logo, which this will be once I fold it all up. Kinda.

I was actually a little disappointed when I realized what I’d be folding this thing into, since I’d made these “balloons” as a kid. O, Childcraft Encyclopedia, how I adored thee! I made all sorts of fun stuff from those books, but I had really been hoping that this would be something new to me. It’s a new use of the balloon/box/cube, anyway, so why not give it a try?

The link on the back of the sheet took me to this video, with some rather dramatic music for origami folding. Seriously, it sounds like I should be folding weapons or Blade Runner unicorns or something.

Like a lot of other origami, there are a few preliminary folds that don’t really seem to make much sense at the time. Why am I folding things just so I can unfold them later? Patience, young padawan! It makes things easier down the road.

This little cube is a lot of folding things in on itself. Corners into corners. The dotted lines kinda didn’t help much, but hey, they looked cool.

First part of folding blue paper into a cube
Squoosh it in on itself
Next part of folding blue paper into a cube
…corners up to the top…
Almost-last part of folding blue paper into a cube
Making a cube or a spaceship?

I ran into trouble by the fourth or fifth fold. There’s a reason why that special, colored-only-on-one-side origami paper is so thin… so you can fold it more easily and give it nice sharp creases. Card stock is not meant to be folded by hand, at least without scoring it first, so there were little rips and splits before I was even halfway done. The blowing-up step didn’t really go so well, it kinda got caught up on itself. Also, I don’t think this was the desired effect:

folded blue paper cube
I don’t really think it mattered if the letters were upside down.

I was extra-glad I’d grabbed two, but my second try concealed the letters of the logo even more:

two folded blue paper cubes
This time, it’s actually under the folds.

And all those superfluous dotted lines! All over the place. They don’t really seem to help with the folding much, but kinda, I guess, and I suppose having them all over the sheet makes the end product more uniform. I’m sure there was a design decision made in there, I’m just not sure it was the right one.

So I deconstructed the sucker to see what fold-lines you might actually need, and which ones might be helpful for folding newbies. Not-really-a-spoiler: it’s not a lot. Then put it back together and scribbled all over the exterior to see how much of the paper would actually show on the finished cube. Again, not a lot.

Unfolded paper with handwritten marks on it
Somehow I thought pencil would be less messy than Sharpie. Clean-up wise, sure…

And then I got all ambitious and started plotting! I would make an instructional version that would give you each step as you were folding it! I would make one that would only have the lines necessary for folding, but nicely incorporated into a pattern! I would make a continuous design that looked weird on a flat sheet, but would ultimately fold up into something awesome!

And then I realized it was 10:32pm on a school night. Hrm.

So yes, logo on a cube. Step one: print your favorite logo or peekature in the middle of a square. Yes, yes, I know printer paper is not square, figure out which end you want to cut off and put it in the middle of the imaginary square. It will be a real square once you take scissors to it.

Step two: watch and follow along with this video instead:

white paper cube with the Mad Art Lab logo

Step three: YOU CAN HAZ BOX.


I tweeted my results at the folks wot handed out the original blue thingies, and they replied:

Beth Voigt

Beth is a graphic designer in Chicago, a superhero in her own mind, and absolutely nothing on TV. She wrangles fonts professionally, pummels code amateurishly, and has been known to shove fire in her face for fun. Fond of volunteering, late-night bursts of productivity, and making snacks, she dislikes grocery shopping and sticky public transit and is only on her second smartphone. Her opinion is that you should try everything twice; if you don't like it, you were probably doing it wrong the first time around. If external links are your thing, here are links to Twitter and Instagram, and you can support her ongoing weirdness by buying her a coffee or six.

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  1. I did not see the hat post and I love that you printed the paper! Awesome! This is perfect for doing many hats. I have a whole slew of origami butterflies, littering the floor right beside my bed and a few bird ones. Different sizes. I don’t quite know what I am going to do with them yet, but I love them. I like to think that origami could be folded more into life. Yes, more origami posts would be great.

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