Introduction: Poly Heart Ornament

This ornament was shaped iteratively by looking at images of an anatomical human heart and "sculpting" a template by cutting shapes and taping them together until they formed something congruent. The goal was to find a form that reasonably resembled an abstracted low-poly heart which included various angled polygons of distinct sizes and shapes.
Once this was achieved, the raw template was unfolded and drafted in AutoCAD, printed and a second prototype constructed. After several iterations and many construction trials with different materials and methods, this refined template and set of instructions is what I’m sharing with you.

This project reflects my interest in the paper folding traditions of origami and pepakura, as well as in the strong visual impact of a modern, abstracted geometric aesthetic.

Hope you enjoy!

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

12x12 glitter cardstock (I found that the silver color helps hide the glue seams and the added thickness of the glitter helps the ornament feel more substantial)

cord/string/wire (if you intend to hang it like an ornament)

glue gun + gluesticks

short ruler and old ballpoint pen (for scoring)

spray adhesive

index cards

PDF template printed on 11x17

long stir stick


Step 2: Attach the Template to the Card Stock

This is an image of the template glued to the back side of the glitter card stock.

You can see here that I cut it out very precisely, but that is not necessary at this stage.

Cut it out roughly, just remove enough excess paper to make it easy to locate on the card stock.

If your card stock is smaller than 12" x 12", you can cut the template into smaller pieces and arrange it however it fits.

Use the spray adhesive in a well-ventilated area with a piece of scrap material down to protect the surroundings from getting sticky.

Spray only a light layer, so that you can remove the template in a later step!

Step 3: Cut Along the Outline of the Template

Cut away the hatched area of the template.

Follow the lines carefully, they all have to match up later.

This is an image of what the card stock looks like before it is scored and folded.

Step 4: Score the Interior Lines

Use your ruler and old pen to score all the interior lines.

Crease the paper along the score lines.

This is so that you get nice crisp folds to achieve that geometric look.

Step 5: Peel Off the Template

Peel off as much of the template as you can from the card stock.

Otherwise, the thin printer paper will de-laminate from the card stock when you are hot-gluing the seams together.

Be careful not to rip the card stock, but the aesthetic of what will become the interior of the heart is not so important here.

Step 6: Hot Glue All the Seams Together

This is the most difficult part, using tabs helps.

I made a bunch of tabs by cutting up an index card into small squares and folding them in half.

Apply hot glue to a tab, stick it to one side of a seam, then bring the other side to touch and hold it in place until the glue cools and sets. This takes a bit of finesse.

Once the tab is securely holding the seam together, "weld" the entire length of it with hot glue and remove any excess glue that squeezes out.

Be careful not to burn your fingers.

Step 7: The Last Seam Is Tricky

Close the last seam by wedging a couple of fingers inside to press the tabs into the right place.

This flexes the paper a bit, so be careful not to tear your heart open.

Use a long stir stick to get hot glue into hard-to-reach corners.

Step 8: Close the Top Three Tubes Last

Here you can see all the top parts meet at a point.

You will have to use your scissors to adjust the shape of these final pieces so that they fit together nicely.

Once you have all the seams closed, this is a good time to attach a cord if you intend to hang it like an ornament.

Tie a length of cord with a fat knot, push that knot though the center point, inject some hot glue, gently pull the knot back and wait for it to set.

Step 9: Finished Heart!

Congratulations, you are done!

Please let me know how it turned out.