Picture of Cardboard Dinosaur Puzzle
pteranodon (2).jpg

I was recently act my local hobby shop and I picked up a bunch of 3D wood puzzles for my son to put together. They are really cool, but they are a little small.So I decided to take the design, blow them up 500% and make them out of cardboard. Now instead of just being a simple decoration on the shelf, it is big enough to decorate a whole corn of the ceiling and it is still light enough to hang.

In this project, I am going to share with you how to make large dinosaur skeleton puzzles out of cardboard boxes. 
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Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
The primary material that you need for this project is corrugated cardboard. For making a large puzzle, I highly recommend using double layered cardboard. If you don't have easy access to two-ply cardboard, don't worry. You can easily make your own by gluing two pieces of regular cardboard together. Spray glue works well for this. 

Step 2: Find or Make a Template

Picture of Find or Make a Template
The first thing that you need to do is find a template that you like. You can find quite a few with a simple Google search. My favorites are these two by instuctacles users kaptaink_cg and stevemoseley:

Stevemosley actually made his from scratch by scanning a picture of a T-Rex skeleton and modeling it with CAD software.

Another way to get a template is to purchase a small 3D wood puzzle from your local craft store, then scan it and enlarge it to the size that you want. I have included several patterns in Step 8 that I scanned from puzzles that I recently purchased.

In the end, I decided to use a pteranodon template that I got from Kaptaink_cg's instructable.
cassie.friesen.5 made it!1 month ago

Made this for my daughter's fourth birthday party, which was Paleontologist themed. She really wanted to build a life size fossil. I didn't have any of the proper tools and labored on this with an Exacto knife for far more hours than I care to admit. The wingspan is easily over 6 ft long. She loved it!


Awesome! Thanks for sharing.

paulsroom2 months ago

I used 400gsm cardstock and made two of each image, cutting them out with a Silhouette Cameo, then sticking them together to make a 800gsm cardstock. This is about the limit of thin one can go with cardstock, but it does work. I made one adjustment - I moved the slot for the back legs to the top instead of where it is. Then I moved the middle slot in the back legs correspondingly. This means that this piece then holds by gravity like the ribs. I used A3 cardstock basing the whole structure on the largest the wing claw would fit - it's still quite large.

hvergilas jr.10 months ago
That is really cool!
Is it possible to get the file in vector format?

I converted the files to vector format and have them in dxf, svg, or Silhouette Cameo files.

Sorry, I just scanned the puzzles. But you can easily enlarge the pictures or trace them in an editing program.
Scamerman Run made it!6 months ago

It is cool :D

battman203612 months ago
Congrats on the award. Well deserved.
quirxi1 year ago
Cooool ! Thank You !!! :)
Woodit1 year ago
Thanks for sharing, I will try it!
javl1 year ago
Nice model. Here is a related project I did with Jiskar:
Very cool!!
thanks alot!
(not a very good english)
poofrabbit1 year ago
Awesome this is great!