In the last few years a lot of light has been shed on all sorts of sub cultures and hobbies. With the advent of social media it would seem that just about every strange group is getting its time in the sun. One that has come to my attention a while back that still interests me is paper craft.
The concept is pretty simple, which is probably why it has as much traction as it does. You cut out the pattern of any object and then glue it into shape. This isn’t entirely new. When I was a kid you could buy books with pop out cardboard shapes that you could make models of cars or buildings out of. But, of course, the Internet turns everything up to eleven.
Paper craft as a scene started with patterns of cube like dolls that you could print out and make. These were usually of movie and TV show characters like Batman. The open source nature of the Internet allowed people to share new and increasingly more complex patterns with each other.
Now you can find models of any object or character online. I have seen someone make full scale Iron Man armor, or a statue of any space ship from sci-fi. All of this comes from the same tools and materials: a printer, a knife, paper, and some glue.
The thing I like most about paper craft is that it lowers the barrier of entry of making things. Paper craft is a sub genera of the Maker movement, which is a group of people who build all sorts of things using rapid prototyping techniques. This usually involves 3D printers, CNC machines, microcontrollers, and hard edge materials like metal. These things can be very complicated and not the friendliest to new comers. Especially if you are teaching yourself.
Paper craft eliminates that in two ways: the materials are super cheap. It’s paper. If you screw up, you just print the pattern again. And the patterns themselves are either self-explanatory or have the directions printed on them, which make starting very easy. Plus, most of us have done something like this when we were kids, so its something that most of us should be comfortable with.
I don’t think paper craft has hit critical mass and punched through into the main stream yet, but I think it will. There is so much untapped creativity out in the world now and this is an easy way to access it. I have some projects with this that I might try, I’ll let you know if anything cool comes of it. Or if I fuck up in a major way, which, let’s face it, would be a better post.
And hey, it’ll give me something to do with my printer.