Introduction: Paper Brush Pot

About: an art and engineering loving scientist (neuroscience) and veterinarian (Australian NSW fully registered vet) My original musics:

In a new working environment, there is often a need for containers to hold and store the stationery or small tools like forceps and scissors. As paper is the most common material that could be found in most of the working environments and there are many wasted papers produced everyday due to either mistakes or some other reasons, those wasted papers can now be served as a resource to make a brush pot for this particular demand. The method provided in this tutorial is easy, quick and economical.

  • The whole procedure usually takes no more than 8 minutes.

Step 1: Materials Required

Getting Started:

1) 2 sheets of A4 size paper

2) (Optional) ~100 mL Wax

The wax can be used as a bottom padding or water proof material, it is recommended to add some melted wax into the finished item. Wax can be obtained by melting a candle in a pan at temperatures above 57 degree Celsius.

( For this tutorial, no wax is used )

Step 2: Construction of the Paper Brush Pot


Part 1: Making the base
1) Fold the A4 sized paper into a square sheet (Figure 1)
2) Prepare the folding scaffold for the box base construction (Figure 2)
3) Fold the prepared sheets into a box base (Figure 3)

Part 2: Making the body
4) Fold the A4 sized paper into a tetragonal ring (Figure 4)

Part 3: Assemble the parts together
5) Put the body in the base and finalise the item (Figure 5)

Step 3: Making the Base: Fold the A4 Sized Paper Into a Square Sheet


Step 4: Making the Base: Prepare the Folding Scaffold for the Box Base Construction


Step 5: Making the Base: Fold the Prepared Sheets Into a Box Base


Step 6: Making the Body: Fold the A4 Sized Paper Into a Tetragonal Ring


Step 7: Assemble the Parts and Finalise the Brush Pot

Try to put the body and the base together.

The brush pot is virtually finished. At this stage, wax could be added into the brush pot for better performance.


Step 8: Customized Size Calculations

For a customized size version (assume A4 size is not your desire), please refer to the calculations below:

According to the diagram above, it is certain that the diagonal width of the paper is 4 times the side width of the paper box, i.e. 4X. Therefore, in order to make a paper box with a specific desired side width, one may need a paper with side width = Y. According to Pythagoras theorem:

2Y^2 = (4X)^2 = 16X^2
Thus, Y = SQRT(8)*X (i.e. ~2.8284X)

Step 9: Optional - Making a Reinforcing Ring

Improved Design:
*Require only 1 more paper.

Feature: Designed to reinforce the corners, so that the flappy ends will not be easy to get loose.

In order to minimize installation difficulty, the width of the reinforcing ring = The width of the body (Approximate width)

Same as figure 4 except having one more fold at the beginning.


Step 10: Optional - Assemble Everything Together

1) The position of the flappy end of the ring should NOT be in phase with the flappy end of the body.
2) Only alternating positions would provide a reinforcement effect at the corners.

The non-broken part of the material will provide support to the broken part of the material. (Yin and Yang complementation)


Step 11: Results

After loading the brush pot (without wax) with some stationery, e.g. pen and cutter, the brush pot works well and did not fall down. The performance improved when a wax layer is added to the brush pot.

Step 12: Summary

This tutorial provides you a new way to recycle the wasted office papers. As the paper brush pot is inexpensive, disposable, flexible and light weight, it offers a satisfactory temporal stationery or small laboratory/surgery instrument storage solution in a dirty environment, e.g. laboratory and factory. Making a paper brush pot with a specified base side width would require a paper with side width SQRT(8) times the desired side width.


The University of Hong Kong
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University


Bleu de verdure (2008), Box, Cannon Origami Series