Introduction: DIY Air Vase

Picture of DIY Air Vase

When I saw an air vase for the first time I knew I had to make one simply because I wasn't going to pay $28 for three small sheets of paper with slits in them. Besides, as the consumer I was still going to have to do most of the work by stretching the vase.

If you google 'air vase' or follow this link you will find the originals that I am talking about! Very cool.

At first I thought this would be a really hard project but after creating the PDF of lines to cut on it's a total cinch!! So, what I'm saying is hurry up and make one of these because I already did all of the hard work!

Step 1: Save and Print PDF

Picture of Save and Print PDF

First start by printing the PDF on a piece of printer paper. If you choose a different kind of paper with a pattern just make sure it is about the same thickness as standard printer paper.

I tried an air vase using wrapping paper for a really interesting pattern (it's pictured in the intro) but the weight was too thin and the vase wasn't sturdy enough to stand up on its own. I fixed it a bit by spraying it with starch but the results weren't the same. Boo!

You could certainly try scrapbooking paper, again, just make sure it's not too thick or thin!

Step 2: Cut, Cut, Cut!

Picture of Cut, Cut, Cut!

You will need your printed circles, an x-acto knife and a self healing cutting mat.

Starting by cutting all of the printed lines. This will take some time, care and patience but the end result is worth it!

*****Please use extreme caution with an x-acto blade. They are very sharp and do not care what they cut. I would say this is not a good project for kids.*****

After all of the printed lines are cut you will need to make the opposite cuts (pics 2 & 3) in the negative space. I didn't include these in the PDF because I thought you might be seeing double for weeks if I did. I also thought it just might become too confusing!! :)

Anyway, I think the pictures spell out what to do well enough.

Complete all the negative space cuts. You will start to see how the vase is going to look if you gently push the center up a bit.

***ignore the dotted lines and do not cut them. I put them there to keep track of progress. It's much easier to work in quadrants so you know where you have cut!

Step 3: Cut and Paste Sturdy Base

Picture of Cut and Paste Sturdy Base

Using a compass, draw out a circle 2 inches in diameter on a piece of card stock. The smallest circle of the PDF is two inches so you will want the base circle to be the same size.

Using a glue stick, glue the cut out circle to the bottom of the vase in the exact center.

Step 4: S T R E T C H !

Picture of S T R E T C H !

The last step of this project is to stretch the paper. I found it easiest to hold the vase upside-down and gently pull the paper down (not sure why my first pic looks like the paper is pink but it is standard white printer paper).

You can actually pull harder and farther than you think but if you pull too hard you are going to tear the paper and that would be sad.

You will need to get the sides evenly stretched so the vase will stand up on its own. Keep stretching until you accomplish this.

Admire your vase!!


Victor Does (author)2014-10-15

It is amazing what can be achieved with a piece of paper and some fantasy! :)

goldlego (author)2014-05-23

Wow! This is incredible! I modified tcurran3’s PDF into a Silhouette Studio file for those who would like to make this using a Silhouette machine. Thanks wold630 for this fantastic instructable!

dushyantahuja (author)goldlego2014-06-13

Thanks for this.

Norahbelle made it! (author)2014-06-05

Thanks for the great template. I used wallpaper samples and the lasercutter at TechShop.. the large one (sized to 15 inches) could be a hat!

tdexterc (author)2014-04-02

To the author and anybody else requesting a copy of the template with the negative cuts as well, I put one together in photoshop this morning to work with my vinyl cutter. It's the same proportions from the original PDF, I just added the in-between lines. Cut everything you see in the image and you've got an air vase! Thanks for the idea wold630!

Jarun (author)tdexterc2014-04-02

My printer *really* didn't like that picture vs the pdf. But, thank you for posting it. How was the PDF made? I think I'd like to take a stab at it and try a few modifications such as a larger base and ad another transition layer.

Jarun (author)Jarun2014-04-02

I checked the metadata of the PDF. Adobe Illustrator. I figured it had to be something vector based. It has been a long time since I used Illustrator so this might take a bit :)

tdexterc (author)Jarun2014-04-03

Strange... Perhaps you could open the original JPG and save as a PDF? The JPG I posted should be about 2400x2400 resolution. If It wont let you download full resolution let me know and I'd be happy to send it to you. If nothing else it should at least work as a decent guide for the negative cuts!

Jarun (author)tdexterc2014-04-07

The original PDF was saved as vector data, not a picture. The printer sees it more like printing text, just shapes instead of letters. Trying to print your picture is akin to printing an image of text rather than the text directly. There is a bit of rescaling involved to get it onto the page just right and the image drivers resample it to whatever the printer actually uses. The quality of this depends on the print drivers. My printer being old and a lower end consumer model means it is not that great lol. You wouldn't really notice it, but we are shooting for very fine and exact black and white lines where as most images are gradients.The drivers are optimized for gradients when printing image data. Hence, my printer really doesn't like the image and it comes out a grey blurry mess.

If you could send me the original image you created in photoshop in photoshop's native format before it is converted into a traditional, flat image file, I'm sure I could then save it into a PDF in vector format.

But a quick note, I was able to test your fully lined version, even though the lines were blurry they were still there. And WOW. It only took me about one hour instead of four, the final product was far more uniform, it actually fanned out properly akin to a vase shape instead of a cone, and it held its shape on its own. When I am able to print it as solid, more distinct lines lines I am sure it will go even faster and be even more refined. Thank you so much tcurran3, the proof of concept is SOLD! And again, thank you wold630 for coming up with this. They are amazing!

A few tips for the fully lined version. Do one vertical "slice" at a time and ignore the in between lines. Then rotate the paper a smidge and treat the in between lines as the next vertical slice. Also, do the inner and outer sections separately.

tdexterc (author)Jarun2014-04-07

PM sent.

Jarun (author)2014-04-02

This is awesome. I attempted my first vase tonight. I was able to cut the sold lines perfectly. But the negative area ones not so great. I just don't have the skill to judge the negative area cuts. But I can follow what is there with ease.I too would like to request a template with lines instead of negative spaces. Then I could make my vases perfectly :)

shazni (author)2014-03-28

Congratulations! hope you win the deserve it ;-)

wold630 (author)shazni2014-03-29

Thanks so much! I really do want that machine!

wold630 (author)2014-03-29

congrats to you as well. your bird cage art is fantastic!

sceca (author)2014-03-10

Great project! but i confuse easily and can't figure out where to cut in the negative area. can you print out the pattern with 2 different colors one for the lines and one for the negative area to cut.. again a great project.

wold630 (author)sceca2014-03-12

I'm really sorry, but this is not something I can do. If you follow the instructions you will easily figure out how to make this vase. Also, if you confuse easily the added lines will only make it harder. I hope you try it!

Emma B (author)2014-03-06

I can see it as a lampshade... upside-down with a VERY low wattage (fire hazard!), coloured bulb. Or just a cluster of them as a mobile in different colours and sizes. If you take a print-screen of the full size pdf and paste it in Microsoft paint or similar program, you can alter the size to whatever you want.

Emma B (author)Emma B2014-03-06

Manipulated in Paint Shop Pro to get the idea.

wold630 (author)Emma B2014-03-07

I think this would be a great lamp shade. But, please use a CFL so the paper doesn't catch on fire. Even if you used an incandescent bulb and the paper didn't catch on fire it might stretch just because of the heat. I'm not sure, but the idea is GREAT and please post a picture if you do make one and figure it all out!

Emma B (author)wold6302014-03-07

wold630, what is CFL please? I was thinking of a small bulb fairly low down in the wide part and definitely NO spraying with polyurethane, it's very flammable!
Or maybe just an unconnected bulb for decoration only ;-)

wold630 (author)Emma B2014-03-07

CFL stands for compact fluorescent light. It is a type of light bulb that does not pose a fire hazard.

Dream Dragon (author)wold6302014-03-08

Just to clarify, CFL's do indeed pose a fire hazard, as do LED's and other Low energy lighting solutions. It's true that they pose much LESS of a hazard than old style incandescent bulbs, but it's not negligible, and it's certainly not NIL.

Aside from that it's an interesting project. A similar technique is the "secret" of the "How to walk through a postage stamp!" trick and is often used for "Expanded Metal".

mdeblasi1 (author)2014-03-06

I'm going to be doing this with a sheet of copper (that paper thin stuff they sell in a roll, asap!

KnifeKnut (author)mdeblasi12014-03-07

Hivemind! I was thinking something similar but with roofing copper so that it will be more durable and reshapable.

mdeblasi1 (author)KnifeKnut2014-03-07

I talked to the instructor in the enamel studio last night about powder coating it after it's cut and shaped.
I don't know if that will work, sometimes vitreous enamel gets stubborn when you try to attach it to very delicate work. And it will loose it's kinetic qualities.

On the other hand, you could cut it with craft scissors.
Unless you had a cnc machine, or something mechanized, roofing copper would have to be cut with a jewelers saw.
We'll be sawing for hours!!!
Still, it might be worth it.

KnifeKnut (author)mdeblasi12014-03-07

Actually the reason I said copper is that it can be easily annealed with a torch and then reshaped however you like! Also, with thicker copper you could actually put something in it!

As for cutting, I know where I can get it cut by the 21'st century equivalent, A waterjet! I will need a better template however, since I don't need the dashed lines, and there is no outer circle.

annieannie (author)2014-03-07

Oh oh oh..This is just beautiful!!! Hummm vellum might work too..just a though...might hold the polyurethane pretty well I think?

wold630 (author)annieannie2014-03-07

Thank you! Vellum is a good idea.

mdeblasi1 (author)2014-03-06

I'm going to be doing this with a sheet of copper (that paper thin stuff they sell in a roll, asap!

wold630 (author)mdeblasi12014-03-07

Please post a picture if you do. I'm so excited so many people want to try this!!

My suggestion would be to use a brand new x-acto blade and you could even put a piece of paper over the copper and cut through both layers so it doesn't tear. Have fun!

jmwells (author)2014-03-03

Spray polyurethane. It will make it stiff and water resistant.

wold630 (author)jmwells2014-03-03

Thanks for the suggestion. If you use printer paper it's plenty sturdy but I really wanted that wrapping paper to work so I will try polyurethane on that next time!!

jmwells (author)wold6302014-03-06

Update: I tried the spray on your vase with a tissue/wrapping paper. I found that if you spray a little in the middle/base stretch it, let it dry, the spray a little more, stretch a little more, and so on, you can get the whole vase. Also, you MUST use a new exacto knife blade to do it with this thin paper. Keep the blade as parallel to the paper as you can. It puts more cutting edge in play.

TwoWindsBear (author)wold6302014-03-06

Hi - Copy your wrapping paper onto a stronger printer paper then cut the copy.

jmwells (author)wold6302014-03-03

Once you use it, it shouldn't collapse.

mikabreto (author)2014-03-06

I would like to try this on my Craft Robo Pro using some thin gauge polyethylene.

timmyzog (author)2014-03-06

Very cool! Once it is stretched out, would it be possible to spray it with lacquer to give it more rigidity and strength?

realife11 (author)timmyzog2014-03-06

I saw a video on youtube that showed them inserting 3 vases into each other, and it gave it more resilience and stability. They also used two toned paper (blue on one side, yellow on the other), and that really gave it a cool effect. You can get origami paper like that, but you'd have to get the kind that is thick enough (as thick as printer paper). I thought it would be interesting to use paper with printed patterns on one side, which you can get at any craft store.

Here's the video I saw to illustrate the "two tone effect":

wold630 (author)timmyzog2014-03-06

I tried starch with a thinner paper that I wanted to try but it did not work. Someone else suggested using polyurethane. I'm sure there is a solution to this problem!

Krasen (author)2014-03-06

Can it hold anything inside ? Like fake flowers for example, since you can't add water :)

wold630 (author)Krasen2014-03-06

Since the paper if very light I don't think it would stand up with anything inside. The ones you can buy online show putting an actual vase inside if you want flowers in it.

MichaelN (author)2014-03-06

Very nice. I wish I had access to a laser cutter, as it would be so quick and easy to cut out!

wold630 (author)MichaelN2014-03-06

Me too!

teshcreations (author)2014-03-06

wow! it actually stands up by itself?
One day I would like to attempt it. You can buy coloured paper to print with. And maybe some Japanese patterned papers would be the correct weight.

wold630 (author)teshcreations2014-03-06

Yes, it stands on its own!

sunshiine (author)2014-03-05

Thanks so much for sharing this awesome project!


wold630 (author)sunshiine2014-03-06

You are welcome! It was most enjoyable!

Tarun Upadhyaya (author)2014-03-04

Wow...beautiful work done :). Thank you for sharing.

wold630 (author)Tarun Upadhyaya2014-03-06

Thank you!

RefStone (author)2014-03-03

I imagine holes poked through the fulcrums on the pdf, then 'sew' some contrasting thread through when your done- and hang it up.

(and then I wonder what would happen if you twisted the threads @.@ some kind of wizard's hat)

**fulcrums?, flats, X intersections?

About This Instructable




Bio: Hi, I'm Jen! In my free time I'm a crafter, food lover, cake decorator, and Etsy shop owner. I also can't stop ... More »
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