Picture of Gandhi: 17' Tall Cardboard Avatar
This instructable will take you through the process I used to create a 17' tall reproduction of my avatar from Second Life, MGandhi Chakrabarti. In March of 2008 me and my Gandhi avatar walked throughout Second Life for 26 days to reenact his famous 1930's Salt March - the forward steps of my avatar in SL were controlled by me walking in real life on a customized treadmill (visit my website for documentation of the reenactment project http://www.delappe.net or http://saltmarchsecondlife.wordpress.com/)

You can also watch a short video documentary of the performance on youtube:

After walking with Gandhi in Second Life for 240 miles I decided it would be interesting to extract my avatar from this online world and recreate him in monumental scale. This instructable takes you through the process of creating the 17' tall cardboard Gandhi using a variety of readily accessible (mostly free!) software tools, cardboard and a hot glue gun. The production of this sculpture took a total of 4 weeks, 6 days a week, 9-11 hour days with the assistance of an intern for two-three days of each week.

I created all the Gandhi work as part of my residency at Eyebeam Art and Technology in New York City in the spring of 2008.

My Gandhi sculpture was designed to be the same height as Michelangelo's David (the biblical boy who slayed Goliath).

I've created this adapation of the Pepakura process to allow for the figure to be disassembled into discrete sections for storage and shipping. Feel free to email me with any questions or comments: delappe@unr.edu

A special thanks to all the great staff, residents and fellows at Eyebeam! And a huge, big, appreciative thank you to my fabulous Eyebeam interns, Lenny Correa and Emma McDonald. This project could not have succeeded without their able assistance!

1-40 of 95Next »
pjkumpon10 months ago

This is truly inspiring! What an amazing project!

agis6811 months ago

AMAZING WORK !!!! bravo!

cheesewzrd4 years ago
would you be so kind as to help me?
i would like to make a gandhi head, just the head.
could you post or send me a Jpg/pdf of the pepakura file for the head?
if you could do that by before friday that would be great!
Ps. i was going to bring it to class on monday (my teacher loves gandhi) if you could post it by then that would be stupendous!!!
Keith-Kid7 years ago
This is simply amazing! And so (relatively) cheap! This is actually something that can easily be done, yet makes for an amazing effect! This is my favorite instructable ever!!!! This should definitely get into the book!!!! I know the perfect character to make! - Don Quixote!!!!
Don Quijote.jpg
Ha! My spanish teacher has that same statue.
delappe (author)  Keith-Kid7 years ago
Very nice! I hope you do it... joseph
I really will try, I just need to find a place that will take it, since will obviously not keept it around the house. But, yeah, I can seriously see myself making this!!
Great work, i got my hands on pepakura a while ago, time to fire it up again!
themonorail6 years ago
are there any mac alternatives to these programs that you know of?
delappe (author)  themonorail6 years ago
No that I know of. But if you are on a newer mac, get bootcamp and windows installed and you can use Pepakura no problem! joseph
Sxkyilu6 years ago
Is it possible to do this without an overhead projector? I don't own one and I can't afford one, so is there an alternative?
delappe (author)  Sxkyilu6 years ago
Yes, I am just finishing a large version of my America's Army avatar in cardboard and printed all the files on 44x60" sheets of single weight paper using a large format ink jet printer. You can print on a variety of sized paper through a laser printer or any inkjet printer. For larger sculptures of course you will need a larger printer. The prints are then placed on the cardboard and used as a guide to cut and score - I use the blue painters tape to keep the patterns in place while cutting and scoring. Hope this helps! What are you making? joseph
noahh6 years ago
I don't know if you can enter old 'ibles, burt if you can you should enter the cardboard contest!
Thanks this is absolutely brilliant. I don't have to try and be nice policy and can't believe anyone is asking how to get featured on this particular project. Now for another terrible question. Will you do a fat Buddha meditating next? Geez you should have a show. Do you sell your work anywhere?
delappe (author)  inscrewtabunny7 years ago
The Gandhi sculpture is currently in a show at Eyebeam in NYC for the next week. I don't sell much work as I am not represented by a gallery. I am fortunate to have a university research and teaching position that allows me to explore creativity without the worry about selling my art.

I've made a Buddha, a very small one, take a look at this.


The Gandhi work was inspired, in part, by seeing a huge Buddha at a gallery in London last year by a Chinese artist (his name escapes me). He made it out of the ashes of incense and it blew smoke! Very cool stuff.

No giant Buddha in my future, not sure what I will do next.
Fantastic! You really captured the form with the balls, and the Mouse Mandala can't be blown away quite as easily as sand, thought provoking. I would love to see the ash Man smoking! The treadmill that allows you to walk in G.'s bare feet...! Funny. But this ball Buddha is lovely. Years ago I schemed to do a series of head stones for myself, but they were difficult to live with. Sleep with, headboard, chair back.
mouse balls... tee hee
Bigger and more rough than I ever imagined.
... no comment...
beso3 delappe7 years ago
artcobain6 years ago
this is greatness!
MJTH6 years ago
This better be in an art museum!
how did you manage to fold that cardboard
pollano6 years ago
I used this tutorial to construct a gorilla I found on the unofficial world of warcraft papercraft site. Is not that big as Gandhi, but still is kind of big. Instead of using transparencies and the overhead projector, I projected the pepakura file from my pc, I just connected a digital projector to it, and so I didn’t need to print out all the parts from the pepakura file. I cut out all the tabs because my model wasn’t going to be that big and the tabs were kind of thick and it was kind of difficult to work with the scale I was working oin, so I made my own tabs. In some parts of the gorilla I put masking tape to cover the holes that were created because of the folds. here are some pics,
Cardboard GorillaDSC02460.jpgDSC02450.jpg
delappe (author)  pollano6 years ago
Hey Pollana,
That is really cool! Nice gorilla! I've used a projector for some other projects as well - for the first Gandhi build I did not have long term access to a data projector so i used the overhead. I built a second one in China where I used two overhead projectors that sped up the process quite a bit. I just finished a third one in Belgium where they started the project before I arrived - they printed out the parts and used these paper patterns placed upon the cardboard as cut-out guides.

Anyway, awesome gorilla! What are you going to do with him?

You can see the China Gandhi and the Belgium version on my blog:


pollano delappe6 years ago
Hi, good to hear from you I was going to use the gorilla like a decorative object in the campaign of a friend of mine to become the queen of our High School, but because of the influenzavirus epidemic here in Mexico, the school and the campaign as well were cancel to prevent the spread of the virus. It’s a shame that the campaign was cancel, because I was thinking to make something in a bigger scale, the gorilla is 4’ tall, and I wanted to make an elephant of about 10’. And I know that I can still build it, but the event was my motivation. Anyways, I want to continue building these huge cardboard models; I don’t know if you could tell me some tips to make the construction of the models easier, what’s the best way to glue all the tabs, or what other materials could I use instead of cardboard, I don’t know, like Bristol board" or "Mount board” for example, I don’t know if it’s the correct name in English for this material, I like cardboard but thinner. Anyways, good tutorial and excellent work.
brunoxyz6 years ago
Great job, it's huge. I think the 3d model could have been better, but the chaotic mesh makes it more original I think.
I really like this one!! Brilliant!! :)
have you heard of a mac compatible program comparable to pepakura?
delappe (author)  Aleksandr Skotbot6 years ago
Hi, I am not aware of any mac software for creating papercraft - I use a macbook pro with bootcamp installed so i can run windows.
This makes me quite sad. I am very impressed by your project, by the way!
Beyond amazing.
m_yazhini6 years ago
it is superb................fantastic
chalky6 years ago
“Men often become what they believe themselves to be. If I believe I cannot do something, it makes me incapable of doing it. But when I believe I can, then I acquire the ability to do it even if I didn't have it in the beginning.” Mahatma Gandhi
krowii6 years ago
THIS IS INCREDIBLE! I want to use this technique to make a life-size cardboard Gundam!!!
wow...this is awesome - thanks for sharing!
Truly amazing....
dude i really want to try to make this lol i think i saw your av during your reproduction of the salt march i can't remember but your av looks familiar
Blunderman7 years ago
Brilliant Instructable...I already have a SecondLife Avitar and often wondered if i could reproduce him in the real world some way.This is just what I was looking for.
1-40 of 95Next »