Introduction: The Amazing Paper Puzzle Box: Rubik's Cube or Calendar

About: I am a paper engineer, writer, maker and chemist wannabe. In addition to pop-up cards I design and build furniture, lights, costumes or whatever I happen to need at the time. Lipstick, a mixing studio, all-pur…

A year has 12 months, and a cube has 6 faces, so how can a whole year fit on a cube? Download this incredible paper puzzle to find the solution (or watch the video, but it's not quite as exciting as holding this desktop calendar in your own hands).

The trick behind this beauty is a completely new folding technique, inspired by my fascination with the traditional "Jacob's ladder" toy. My (patent pending) technique allows a single box to have two different patterns. And in the spirit of two patterns I've designed two different boxes using the same cut and fold lines. The calendar shows the first six months in one position, and the second half of the year on the other. The Rubik's cube has one scrambled position and one solved position (with an optional strip you can add for a 3rd, semi-scrambled position).

Step 1: Get the Template

You can download the template from my website, then make as many copies as you'd like for your personal (non-commercial) use. In other words, you can give these to all your friends (extra bonus points for stuffing the boxes with candy first), but don't sell them. No cash or kickbacks for your crafts. Especially not the Rubik's cube.

The calendar is free (exclusively) for members of the Instructables community. You must use THIS LINK to get the calendar for free, if you just click on the calendar from my website, the download costs $3.95.

Unfortunately you will need to pay for the Rubik's cube template. I know, everything should always be free, especially here on Instructables, but I like to be legal, so I paid for a license to use the cube (and here's the official notice: Rubik’s Cube® used by permission of Rubik’s Brand Ltd This is great, but it means if I posted the Rubik's cube for free I'd be paying you to download it. I hope you'll understand that I can't really afford to do that...

Step 2: Video Tutorial for the Calendar

The Rubik's cube and the calendar are the same box, with a different pattern, so you can follow this calendar video tutorial to make the Rubik's cube.

Step 3: Print the Template


The template has 6 pages. Print the document DOUBLE SIDED, on three sheets of light card stock. If your printer doesn’t duplex automatically, flip the pages manually; pages 1 and 2 should be on the first sheet, pages 3 and 4 on the second, and pages 5 and 6 should be on the last sheet of card stock.

The calendar comes in 2 versions, a European one formatted for A4 paper starting the week on Monday, and a US version on letter sized paper with the week starting on Sunday. You can print the calendar on colored paper too.

The Rubik's cube is only formatted on letter sized paper, but you can print it on A4 without having any important parts missing or cropped. I wasn't able to test this, so if there's a problem (especially with both sides lining up), let me know and I'll make an A4 version.

Step 4: Cut the Template


The template comes with a cut and fold guide, a scaled down version of the pieces with lines (solid for cuts, dashes for valley folds and dots for mountain folds). You can use a regular pair of scissors to cut along the solid lines. Cut on the side of the sheet with instructions. The reverse image is formatted with an extra bleed, in case your printer doesn’t feed the paper in precisely.

Step 5: Fold

Score the fold lines by firmly drawing along all the dotted and dashed lines (shown on the cut and fold guide). Scoring crushes the paper along the fold line. This is an important step which allows you to get a nice clean fold.

To score I use an old ball point pen emptied of its ink, but you can use any tool which has a pointed but blunt tip, like a stylus, a knitting needle or even the bones they sell in art stores just for the purpose of scoring. The idea is to crush the paper along the straight fold line (use a ruler!) without piercing it... In this case, since all the fold lines are over printed areas you can use a working ball point pen... the lines you draw will not ruin the pattern.

Fold strips marked A, B & C using a valley fold along the dashed lines, so you end up with the two pieces pictured here.

Step 6: Glue

Glue the two parts together by gluing A to A, B to B and C to C.

I prefer white glue because it's the most durable and strong for paper, but be careful to use just a tiny drop or it makes your paper buckle.

See that gap between the two parts? It's supposed to be that way, don't try to push the pieces any closer together.

Step 7: Fold & Glue Some More

Fold all the sides of the box (mountain fold -- so the pattern is facing out).

Glue sides D though G to their corresponding letter (D to D, E to E etc).

Step 8: Extras

The downloads come with a few extras: a matching gift label, and a sliding strip which can be used to keep the box sealed shut and show the week (for the calendar) or get a different pattern (for the Rubik's cube).

Cut out the extra pieces (you might need a scalpel knife to cut the interior window in the calendar's strip) and fold them according to the pictures here.

Step 9: How to Use It and Solve It

Watching the video is the best way to see how to use the cube. As far as the uses are concerned, the only limit is your imagination.

This could be a Christmas tree ornament, but it's also perfect (stuffed with goodies) to give out at birthday parties, to colleagues, or teachers. Anyone you care about but for whom you can't buy expensive gifts -- because this will be one bargain gift which doesn't come across as cheap!

If you like this Paper Puzzle box but don't feel like making it yourself, help me manufacture it for you on Kickstarter till September 17, 2015!

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