Sunday, May 13, 2012

How to make a museum cube

Happy Mother’s day! I’m blessed with both a great mother and a great mother-in-law. For my mother this year I made what we call a museum cube from postcards we got when she took me on a trip to Italy. 
Since there has been some interest, here is how you make a museum cube:

finished museum cube
(Note: because of the time waiting for glue to set, I do this project over four or five days.)

* 8 cubes. They must be exactly square and exactly the same size. (I use 1 inch wooden cubes I get from Michael's. ) I’ll call these base cubes
* pictures to display on the sides of your museum cube, that will also hold your cube together. 6 squares pictures with sides that are a little more than twice the side of your base cubes, (For me a little more than 2 inch by 2 inch.) and 3 rectangular pictures that are the size of two the the square pictures next to each other. (for me, a little bigger than 2 inch by 4 inch)
* enough clear contact paper to cover your pictures, (If you are using pictures already on heavy paper, like postcards, this is optional and just adds to the durability of the cube, but if your pictures are on normal typing weight paper the contact paper is necessary to hold the museum cube together.
* glue suitable for gluing your pictures to your base cubes. (Since I’m using wood cubes Elmer’s glue works fine for me.)
* Scissors
* Exacto knife or similar tool
* A flat working surface and a heavy book or similar to weight your project down while it dries.
* optional, I used index cards and tape to make make little frame to help me select and trace the outline of the pictures I was going to use.

cutting out a picture
1) Select and cut out your pictures, I leave a little extra around all the edges to give myself room for mistakes later.
# While I didn’t do it this way, when I made my museum cube, I now think this would be the best time to apply the clear contact paper to the pictures.
not too much glue
2) Take four of the base cubes and glue them to one of the square pictures. The base cubes need to be lined up to each other in a square but not quite touching. There needs to be enough room for a double thickness of picture and contact paper to be slipped into the gaps between them. I use scraps of paper of the same thickness as pacers while doing the glueing. It is important the the glue not ooze out and get into the gap between base cubes, or worse, glue adjacent base cubes together. I put the glue towards the center of the faces of the base cubes and am careful not to use too much. With Elmers and wood I need to hold the blocks into formation on the picture for several minutes, and can then leave a heavy book to weight them into place while the glue dries overnight.
3) Do the same thing with the other four base cubes and one of the other square pictures.

+You can glue and cut the various side in a number of different and equally good orders. For the sake of simplicity I’m just going to describe the order I used when I did it last. I’ve made diagram to show where you need to cut in the scheme and so I can give the sides numbers to refer to. In this scheme the pictures you have just glued are 3 and 5.
4) Place the two pieces you have glued so far together so that the the form a cube with the already glued pictures facing out on opposite sides. Use a spacer to leave room between them for a double thickness of picture between them. Glue another square picture on one of the other sides of your cube. (if the picture from sides 3 and 5 are in the way because they are hanging over the base cubes around the outside, trim this part off. This will be side 1.
#If you have not started applying contact paper, and are planning on using it. Then you should start doing it now and to apply it as you go.
5) After picture 1 has finished drying, fold it in half so as to bring side 3 and five next to each other. The fold line will be in the opposite direction from the cut line shown on the diagram. Now on the opposite side from pictures 3 and 5 glue one of the rectangular pictures. This will be side 7. Allow to dry.
blocks cut apart
6) Trim the pictures that are hanging over the edge of the block of base cubes you have. Use an exacto knife to cut the pictures you have glued so far along the cut lines shown on the diagram. Doing the long way cut on side 7 first will help start the cut one side 1.
+ Note the from this point some the the picture that might overhang base cube are interior to the pictures that have been cut apart. DO NOT trim these edges. If they get in the way just alow them and the new picture you are gluing to push on each other.
held together firmly, getting ready for nest picture
7) The block of base cubes will have come apart but get them back in the configuration they were in at the beginning of step 6. Now, folding it on the long axis, rotate it apart so the sides 3 and 5 are on the interior of the block with their fold side up. Glue another rectangular picture on the top of the block. This will be side 9. After the glue is dry trim side 9 and cut it apart. You might want to fold it to side 7 to get the middle cut started from its back side.
8) Fold it back into a cube with side 1, 3, and 5 facing out. glue two more square pictures on the sides adjacent to side 1 that do not have pictures yet. (Remember to leave spacers between base cubes that do not yet have paper between them.) These are sides 2 and 4. Allow to dry, trim and cut along the cut lines on the diagram.
all done!
9) With side 1 up, pull side 1 apart on its cut line, rotating the base cubes down so that side 2 and 4 are now on the interior of the block with their fold sides up. Glue the last rectangular picture on the top of the block. This will be side 8. Allow to dry, trim and cut on cut lines.
10) Fold back into a cube. There should be one face left without a picture, on the opposite side of the cube from side 1. Glue the final picture here. This is side 6. Allow to dry, trim, and cut on the cut lines.

Your museum cube is now done!

1 comment:

  1. Now that you have figured this out, I would like to try to make one. I'll show it to you when I have it complete.