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!

Step 1: Gather your materials and download software applications.

To create the large scale reproduction of my Gandhi avatar from Second Life, we first needed to extract my avatar's 3-D model from SL and process this model through a number of readily available software applications. This was followed by the physical realization of the object in cardboard - I've broken this section into three sections, SOFTWARE, MATERIALS, TOOLS:

-You will need a PC Windows computer, a laser or inkjet printer.

Software required:
1) Second Life (to use this online environment one must sign up and create an avatar, this is free)

2) OGLE - "is an open source software package by the Eyebeam OpenLab that allows for the capture and re-use of 3D geometry data from 3D graphics applications running on Microsoft Windows" - it is freely available to use and share, complete with detailed instructions for use in any online game that uses openGL. This can get a bit tricky - do read the instructions carefully and follow these to the "T" and you should be able to extract your avatar from Second Life. Be aware that OGLE generally extracts the entire square region in which you are residing.

3) Blender - this is an amazing free 3-D modeling and animation program - has a bit of a learning curve - you can generally use any 3-D modeling application for this step. You need this step to allow you to optimize the number of polygons in your model which are generally far to many to allow for the creation of a usable papercraft model. We also used Blender to eliminate the environment and other objects from SL that were extracted using OGLE - when we first extracted Gandhi we couldn't find him at first as the region was so big, he turned out to be a little speck in the enormous region that was extracted. We then use Blender to eliminate all the extraneous information that came through the extraction process.

4) Pepakura Designer - this is a program that transforms any 3-D model into usable templates or unfolding a 3-D model for use in papercrafting. A really fun program, be sure and take a look at the gallery link on their site, people make some pretty amazing stuff with this program!

-CardboardCardboard - brown double faced - I used 25 sheets of 4x8' single ply cardboard purchased and delivered for $100 - you can get this stuff readily at packing supply houses online. This is the cardboard that is used for the construction of the polygon skin of the sculpture. You could of course do this project with cardboard boxes although you would need to be sure and find some large ones ;-)

-Honeycomb board - I used 6 sheets of this 42x30x1/2" board purchased at Utrecht Art Supplies for $9.40 cents a sheet - you can likely find this cheaper or even for free in local dumpsters! This cardboard is very sturdy and was used extensively to create the inner support system for the standing figure. You can also likely find this stuff for free, often it is used for single use pallets for shipping and such.

-Cardboard Carpet tubes - various diameters, these I found in the trash both in an around Eyebeam, you would likely be able to get these for free at any big carpet retailer in your area. These are thicker than the standard shipping tubes and such, these are essential for building the interior support structure.

-TransparenciesTransparencies for either your Laser or Inkjet printer, get a box of 100. Be sure you get what works for your printer - inkjet transparencies in a laser printer will melt on the rollers!

-There are a few miscellaneous items that will be noted in further steps...

-Hot Glue GunHot Glue Gun - I bought an industrial grade version of this typical craft tool - you can find these online - this was by far the right tool for this job! This is the one I bought, well worth the $100!

-Box Cutter/Matt Knife QUICK CHANGEBox Cutter/Matt Knife QUICK CHANGE preferred (I used a Husky folding version from Home Depot that was very convenient as it can strap to your belt or fold to go in your pocket)

-Replacement blades, buy at least a box or dispenser of 50-100 blades, you will want to change blades often during the cutting and scoring process.

-Alumi Cutter 30"Alumi Cutter 30" straight edge and ruler (you can use other sizes but I think this is the best, has a raised edge to protect your fingers during cutting and scoring, take it from one who has sliced off the tip of my left index finger several times over the years, this tool is fabulous and essential for this process!).

-Cutting MatCutting Mat - I used an Alvin 17x23" version. This is a self-healing surface that allows for thousands of cuts - really useful for this project as it helps keep your blades sharp and you don't get stuck in cut lines during the scoring and cutting of the cardboard.

-Sharpie MarkersSharpie Markers - red, blue and black or whatever colors you prefer (you need three colors to delineate cuts and the two different types of scoring, "mountains" or "valleys" as defined by the Pepakura diagrams.

-Overhead projectorOverhead projector - I used a standard 3M model, this was used to magnify and project the Pepakura diagrams on to the 4x8' sheets of cardboard.

-Band sawBand saw - this is not essential, one could cut the pieces entirely using a mat knife but I would highly recommend using this floor standing saw as it greatly sped up the process of cutting out the Pepakura pieces.

-Various tapes - wide masking tape was used to hold the cardboard to the wall for projection and drawing of the diagrams. Drafting tape or blue painting tape was used to hold the transparencies in position on the overhead projector.

-Velcro - I used one roll of 3' velcro with the sticky back on both sides to help with the final assembly of the figure.
<p>This is truly inspiring! What an amazing project!</p>
<p>AMAZING WORK !!!! bravo!</p>
ok,<br>would you be so kind as to help me?<br>i would like to make a gandhi head, just the head.<br>could you post or send me a Jpg/pdf of the pepakura file for the head?<br>if you could do that by before friday that would be great!<br>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!!!<br>thanks!
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!!!!
Ha! My spanish teacher has that same statue.
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!
are there any mac alternatives to these programs that you know of?
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
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?
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
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?
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. <br/><br/>I've made a Buddha, a very small one, take a look at this. <br/><br/><a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.unr.edu/art/DELAPPE/Mouse/7_Stremmel_Show/7_Stremmel_Show_JPEGS.html">http://www.unr.edu/art/DELAPPE/Mouse/7_Stremmel_Show/7_Stremmel_Show_JPEGS.html</a><br/><br/>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. <br/><br/>No giant Buddha in my future, not sure what I will do next.<br/>
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...
this is greatness!
This better be in an art museum!
how did you manage to fold that cardboard
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,
Hey Pollana,<br/>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.<br/><br/>Anyway, awesome gorilla! What are you going to do with him? <br/><br/>You can see the China Gandhi and the Belgium version on my blog:<br/><br/><a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.saltmarchsecondlife.wordpress.com/">http://www.saltmarchsecondlife.wordpress.com/</a><br/><br/>cheers,<br/>joseph<br/>
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.
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?
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.
it is superb................fantastic
“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
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
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.
I got a question!<br/><br/>What other methods could I use other than Second Life to create an avatar?<br/><br/>I'd like to make something not human, say animals.... or robots<sub>...or a godzilla....</sub> <br/>
Hi Keith-Kid, You can use OGLE to grab an avatar from any game that uses open GL. You can also go to the pepakura website where they have some links to some free 3D modeling software, some very simple to use, where you can make whatever you like. There are also many enthusiasts who post 3D models of various things online that you can find - look at the gallery section on the pepakur sites and you will find some downloadable files.
<strong>Thank you very much!</strong> Once again, great Instructable!<br/>
dude, this is awesome!! i really wanna make one thats like 60 feet tall, on all fours of george bush!! and keith-kid, OMFG a cardboard godzilla would be feckin' awesome!!
17 feet? <sup>omg.....</sup><br/>
Yeah, is there anywhere we can get the 3d picture thing from? like can you post the ghandi as a file or something?Cool Project though.
A very striking sculpture indeed and a thorough instructable. But isnt there something a little bit crass about referencing Michelangelo, reducing someone of Gandhi's stature (no pun intended) to a heavily caricatured polygonal model and re-enacting a defining moment in the colonial history of India as performance art in Second Life?
Hello, I wouldn't say my work is "crass", audacious perhaps. I've engaged Gandhi in my work from a position of deep appreciation and awe at his creativity, his beliefs and the power of his actions. The David referenced through the Gandhi sculpture is the biblical figure who slayed Goliath - an apt similarity to Gandhi's fight against British imperialism and a hopeful symbol of the fight of good against evil against incredible odds. Conducting a Salt March reenactment in Second Life and on a treadmill raises any number of issues - I approached this thinking it both a bit absurd and powerful in questioning both the nature of protest and the shifting of experience from the real to the virtual. Who better than a virtual Gandhi to challenge expectations within Second Life which could basically be considered a very friendly escape from our First Life. Walking on a treadmill for 240 miles to make my avatar move as well changes the equation of online "experience". It is curious to me that one might find questionable one artist choosing to consider Gandhi as a subject. I would consider this work to be an ongoing series of interpretations, portraits of Gandhi if you will, albiet through a contemporary lense. Not much different on some level from the movie adaptation of his story or the many bronze statues (costing many thousands of dollars) that are in many cities throughout the world. In this instance you have one artist spending $200 using a very simple material to make a monumental tribute towards representing a historical figure in a new way. Anyway, appreciate your thoughts and I would hope the work would raise such questions. Cheers and peace, joseph
Very well said. To paraphrase Ghandi: "If we must view monumental artworks, let them be our own. The performance art portion is very apt as rich metaphor. In one of my very few experiences in Second Life (my first life is already too full) I met a giant skull riding a bicycle who expressed some similar artistic beliefs to yours. I think Ghandi would have at least been amused upon seeing a huge figure of himself made of corrugated cardboard. I like the dramatically decreased granularity of figure in the Bhudda Ball sculpture. Where can we read more about the 'artists muse' works?

About This Instructable


220 favorites


More by delappe: 3D Printed Drone Strike Data Installation Laser Etch Rubber Stamps for a Drone Stamp Revolution! Silver Leaf a 3D Print
Add instructable to: