Business card advent calendar – A project for 2017

I have had an idea for a homemade advent calendar, made out of folded business cards. In this post, I will present the outlines of my plan; a future post will show something closer to the finished item, once work on it is mostly complete (in time for Christmas 2017, I hope).

First, let me start with basic principles. It is possible to fold six business cards together into a relatively stable cube.

Six more business cards can be attached to the outside to make it a little more attractive.

The cubes can also be attached together, by interlocking the flaps.

This video provides a decent demostration of the techniques for making the cubes and attaching them together.

Previously, I’ve used these cubes to make myself a Menger sponge.

An explanation of this, along with some quite interesting maths (if you’re into that sort of thing), can be found in this video by Matt Parker.

So, onto the advent calendar.
It is fairly simple to cut a hole in one side of the cube, like this:

I did this with a craft knife. I’m sure it could be done with scissors, but you would need to be cautious not to bend the business card too much.
Structurally, the hole doesn’t seem to have any ill effect, as long as the cards are reasonably thick. The eagle-eyed among you will have noticed that I’ve also shortened the flaps on the front slightly, to avoid them covering the hole. Again, this doesn’t appear to be causing any problems.

The plan is to interlock twenty four of these cubes into a 6×4 rectangle. I will use more business cards to clad the back and sides, just to make it look better. For the front, I will cover the holes, using the same technique as the back and sides, but I will do it with paper, with each cover having a number printed on it. (I plan to use paper because I’m assuming it will be easier to remove each morning, without damaging the rest of the calendar.)

At this point, I am slightly torn between putting a couple of chocolates in each cube (easy, but I’m not sure if the weight will affect structural intergrity) or constructing a little Christmas scene in each cube (much more time consuming, but would be awesome when finished).

Assuming no accidents, this will require 188 business cards for the cubes and the cladding, plus paper for the front. I bought blank business cards in packs of 100, so I do have a few spare for emergencies. You could equally cut sheets of card to the correct size – this would be cheaper, but needs to be done with reasonable precision if the cubes are going to fit together nicely.

I will update once the first few cubes are in place… watch this space.

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