Introduction: Photo Cube - Frameless, Cheap and Easy!

I made this as a birthday card for my sister, but it's also a great cheap way to display photos without having to buy a frame. It would also make a lovely personalised bauble or gift box.

Step 1: What You Need

The first thing you need is six photographs to make your cube. They will end up cropped square in the middle, so to make sure I got the crop I wanted I used the attached mask in photoshop to make all my images fit the same square.

You will also need a knife, cutting board, double-sided tape (glue if you prefer), metal safety ruler (don't risk fingers!) and something to score with. I used a parchment tool, but an empty ballpoint pen or something similar would probably do. This is to make sure you get a good, clean fold in your prints.

Step 2: Marking Out for the Scoring

Measure the height of the sqaure photo and work out how much to subtract from either end of the width. On 6x4 prints, this will be an inch, or 25.4mm, so mark this at either end, top and bottom.

Step 3: Score the Prints

Here you can see the parchment tool in operation, making a nice indentation rather than the cut scoring card with a knife would make.

Step 4: Cut Off the Corners of the Flaps

Now cut off the corners of the flaps, so as to make it easier to stick together later on. What you can't see in this picture of course, is the hand firmly holding the ruler so that the knife doesn't fly off accross the print and into your leg.

Step 5: Fold the Flaps

Now you can see where things were going with the scoring and cutting. Note the difference between a perfect corner on the left and the slight excess on the right corner. It's better to err on this side though, otherwise you might cut through the square which will show.

Step 6: Stick on the Double-sided Tape

Now stick the tape on the flaps, getting as close to the edge of the square and into the corners as you can. The bits of tape will ideally be trapeziod-shaped, which just means alternating diagonal cuts. You can make up too-short tape with little parrallelograms.

Step 7: Lay Out the Cube Net

Here's the science bit: lay out the sides of the cube, paying attention to which pictures will end up next to each other and where all the flaps will attach. If you havn't made any paper cubes from a net before it might help to image search for "cube net", print one out and try making it so you understand how the sides join up.

Step 8: Stick the Flaps Down for the Net

Now peel off that tape backing and get sticking! To do a neat job, it's best to look at the front edge where the pictures join rather than doing it from the back.

Step 9: Fold It All Up!

This could be the hardest part, I don't know as I have so far left it flat so I can put it in an envelope. That's where cube-making practice comes in handy. You might need to use a pin in the corners to push down the last flap

The final product is very light, so it's a good idea to put in a ball or blu-tack, a penny or somesuch weight so that it doesn't blow accross the room with the slightest breeze. You could also tape a little loop of string inside poking out of one corner to make it into a hanging cube; from the ceiling or even a christmas tree!

Comments

author
mrsmerwin (author)2017-02-05

I love the simplicity. Looks great!

author
guyzo35 (author)2010-06-16

Such a simple, fantastic idea.

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Byr0n_x (author)2009-01-27

Very nice, I make one for my wife...

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FUZ3TTE (author)Byr0n_x2009-11-28

Memories are almost a woman's best friend
I bet she appreciated it a lot

author
flyhull (author)2008-12-24

If you are starting with digital photos you can go to http://easyphotocube.com and make a one-piece pattern to print with your photos already on it. Then all you have to do it cut it out, fold it and assemble it. You can add captions to each side too. It makes the assembly process easier.

author
chicaandjo (author)2008-06-21

If you want to take this idea one step further, see our step-by-step instructions on how to make a folding magic photo cube.

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baconrobots (author)2008-05-24

I've found that a simple butter knife (using the dull back edge) is great for scoring too.

author
rusticgal (author)2008-03-24

Forgot to add, VERY NICE would make good presents

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rusticgal (author)2008-03-24

could you laminate the photos first to keep them clean? or wouldn't it work!

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ultrauber (author)2008-03-12

nice job! +1

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Doctor What (author)2007-12-16

Where did you get that cutting mat, and how much??

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ti112 (author)Doctor What2008-02-23

You can get cheap ones from a £1/ 99p shop or $1/99c store (damn yanks). they are not as high quality but i got one and it's quite good

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Doctor What (author)ti1122008-02-23

I got a pretty awesome one for Christmas from my favorite aunt. It's by fiskars, and came with a rotary cutter.

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hierarchy (author)2008-02-08

this is really great! a job well done :) i will definitely try it out thanks!

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Alicehandmade (author)2007-12-27

clever idea!I will make one.Thanks.

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hethlee (author)2006-11-28

i've done this idea WITH a rubix cube... Cut out picturs into 9 little squares and put them on each face of the rubix cube... it turns out neat and it's a puzzle!

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Jaiden (author)hethlee2007-12-17

neat idea... i think i'll try that

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SyNiKaLL (author)2007-12-13

how do you prepare the photo's to be in a 6x4 print and get it small like that? i've never developed picutres before =/

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mich1lai (author)2007-10-25

I've made one of these boxes in art class -- except with minor differences in the actual construction of the box. instead of cutting out each side individually and taping it back together, we used an exactoknife to cut out one template; then we hot-glued the side flaps together. the instructions for this project are particularly nice and the pictures were very clear. highly recommended.

author
umberto43215 (author)2007-06-09

I used a building block for mine which was roughly 4" cube, printed out the photos at a local target store and made a mini version of the original.

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TheCheese9921 (author)2006-08-07

or you could hide stuff in it to prevent theves from stealing stuff (they dont usually go for pictures... i think)

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Punkguyta (author)TheCheese99212007-02-18

Trust me, some people have weird fetishes.

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Punkguyta (author)2007-02-18

A simple yet clean looking cube, I like it.

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Ottawone (author)2007-02-09

Wrapping the photos around a wooden cube would also allow you to make little cube puzzles if you cut the original photos into four or six pieces each. I had this sort of puzzle when I was a kid but haven't seen any when looking for my toys for my daughter. Too old fashhioned to be retro, maybe?

author
mrmath (author)2007-02-08

If the tape being the same size as the paper flap, I would lay the tape down before cutting the corners off of the flap. That way, when you cut the corners off, the tape is cut exactly to length. Otherwise, very nice!

author
meatchris (author)2007-02-08

Double sided sticky tape will eventually turn yellow and come unstuck. Use glue. Yep, it's a little harder to work with, but lasts much longer.

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hellion7 (author)2006-10-23

i made one right away and love it at just heavyweight paper strength. thanks!

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radioeyes (author)2006-08-10

Something so cheap as a wood cube or rubik's cube would give it strength. I'd be too worried about the above getting smashed or something.

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implaxis (author)2006-08-07

Very nice detailed explanation.

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austin (author)2006-08-06

its make it seem higher quality if you made it around a wooden cube or something to give it some weight .

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