Cubeecraft has an awesome selection of papercraft toys using a clever no-glue box design. The pop-culture fan art covers characters from TV, cartoons, video games, movies, comic books, and more. We show you how to combine Cubeecraft toys, magnets, and a 24 x 36 in. poster magnet board to create a cool, 3-D, reconfigurable display of our favorite video game, Super Mario Bros. For other 3-D papercraft magnet board ideas, check out the Cubeecraft site. There are over 200 character designs to choose from.
Learn more details on the project page.
Step 1: Get Parts, Tools, and Materials
To build a Super Mario papercraft magnet board you will need the following:
- 1, poster magnet board (24 x 36 in.)
- 1, blue poster paper (24 x 36 in., Brite Blue Kraft Paper on a Roll)
- 41, white card stock sheets (8.5 x 11 in., 110 lb weight)
- 2, sheets of printer paper (8.5 x 11 in.)
- 42, neodymium magnets (2-3 lbs of pull force)
Tools and Materials
- Glue stick
- White or craft glue (optional)
- Super glue (optional)
- Small paint brush (optional)
- Large scissors
- Small scissors
- Hobby knife
- Cutting mat (or similar)
- Candy bar (optional...to motivate a lab minion.)
Be aware that safety is your responsibility. Please read our Safety Warning and Disclaimer before you start.
Step 2: Build the Background
We are going with the traditional blue sky, 2 clouds, and a shrub. Feel free to add, modify, and remove background elements as desired.
(1) Prepare the background elements
Trim the blue poster paper down to 24 x 36 in. so it fits into the poster frame. Set the paper into the frame to verify the fit. (PIC 2-1) Place the paper on a table with the nicest side facing up. Download clouds-n-shrub.zip (attached below), unzip, print, and cut out the clouds and shrub. Little scissors are easier to navigate the tiny curves. (PIC 2-2)
(2) Glue down the shrub and clouds
This is where we placed our shrub and clouds. (PIC 2-3) You can place them anywhere you want; however, the shrub should be 2 inches from the bottom of the paper so the ground block will overlap it a little. Let's start with the shrub since it requires a bit more work.
We should build a guide to make sure we place the shrub correctly. Cut off 2 inches from the bottom of the other sheet of printer paper to give you a 2 x 8.5 in. strip. Position the strip below where the shrub will go. We placed it 6 in. from the edge. (PIC 2-4) Lay the rest of the printer paper on your cutting board, flip the shrub over on the paper and apply glue to the back with your glue stick. Use short strokes from the center out to the edges, and make sure to cover the entire back with a thin layer of glue. (PIC 2-5) Place the shrub on top of the paper strip on your background. Press and smooth out the shrub so it has no wrinkles. (PIC 2-6) Remove the paper guide and place a heavy book that covers a complex subject on top of the shrub for an hour or so. (PIC 2-7)
Glue down the clouds in a similar fashion.
Step 3: Build and Hang a Poster Magnet Board
Build and hang a Poster Magnet Board using the background created in step 2.
Step 4: Download, Cut, and Score
The Cubeecraft tabbed design allows you to assemble the artwork without glue. This makes it fast and mess free. The final design holds up nicely to normal handling. However, in our case the Cubeecraft are held in place with magnets, handled frequently, and have to withstand sliding and removal from the magnet board. We found that if you are careful they hold together just fine. If not, the tabs would tend to pull out. To allow for more aggressive handling, we chose to bypass the tabs and use glue. You may choose otherwise.
(1) Download and print
Here’s the list of the Cubeecraft designs you will need and the number to print for each.
* 1, Mario
* 1, 1-up Mushroom
* 1, Super mushroom
* 2, Goombas
* 17, Ground Blocks
* 1, Metal Block
* 8, Brick Block
* 6, Question Block
* 2, Piranha Plant (Only print the base on the second one to use as a short pipe.)
* 1, Piranha Plant Pipe Extension (piranha-plan-ext.zip attached below). We built this so we could have a taller pipe.
* Cubeecraft Home Page (If you prefer to browse.)
Use a large pair of scissors to quickly remove the excess. (PIC 4-1) Use a small pair of scissors to carefully cut out the artwork. (PIC 4-2) If you decided to use glue, cut off the small tabs. (PIC 4-3) If you decided not to use glue, snip the ends of the small tabs and use a ruler and hobby knife to cut the slots for the tabs. (PIC 4-4, PIC 4-5)
To produce clean bends, use a ruler and the back edge of the hobby knife to score all the edges that will be folded. This includes the edges of each panel and all tabs. Keep the hobby knife at a flat angle and use firm pressure during the score. (PIC 4-6, PIC 4-7)
You’ll want to “release” each of the parts so they easily fit together during assembly. Grab a part and bend it in the direction of the score a little. (PIC 4-8) Then bend it opposite of the score a little. (PIC 4-9) Do this for all the parts. (PIC 4-10, PIC 4-11, PIC 4-12)
Step 5: Assemble
We will cover the glue method. If you are not using glue, you simply have to add a magnet (see below) and insert the tabs into their slots. (PIC 5-1)
(1) Add Magnet
To attach magnets to the artwork, you can use super glue. (PIC 5-2) Alternatively, we sell magnets with a convenient adhesive foam on the back that works nicely with magnet boards. (PIC 5-3) Place your magnet in the center of the last panel in the longest section of the artwork. (PIC 5-4) For multi-part designs you only need to put a magnet in one cube. For example, only put magnets in the mushroom’s head, and the piranha plant’s base. (PIC 5-5) For Mario, put 3 magnets in his head. This allows people to change his perspective on the magnet board. (PIC 5-6)
(2) Apply Glue
We like to use glue sticks. You can use white or craft glue if you prefer. If you are using a glue stick, support the back of a large tab with your finger and cover the front of the tab with a thin layer of glue. (PIC 5-7) If you are using white glue, brush a thin layer of glue on the front of the large tab. (PIC 5-8)
(3) Align, press, and hold
Bring the panel close to the large tab, make sure it’s aligned with the other panels and press it into place. Adjust as needed, then hold for a few seconds. (PIC 5-9, PIC 5-10) Press on the backside to make sure the bond is good. (PIC 5-11)
Glue, align, press, and hold the rest of the panels until the design is complete. Repeat the assembly steps 1-3 for the rest of the Cubeecraft characters. (This is the time you may want to use that candy bar to motivate a lab minion to help out.) Some tips:
Tip 1: Gluing last panel.
To glue the last panel you need to glue and press three tabs at once. Apply your glue to each tab, Make sure the tabs are angled upward so they will apply counter-pressure when the panel is pressed against them. (PIC 5-12) Lower the panel onto the tabs while checking alignment. Hold the panel in place for at least 10 seconds, then carefully flip the box over and set it on the table. Apply pressure for another 10 seconds. (PIC 5-13)
Tip 2: Multi-part characters.
Mario, mushrooms, and the piranha plant have multiple parts that need to be joined. The parts are joined on the panels with the 2 slots. (PIC 5-14) You'll need to cut the slots with a hobby knife and ruler if you haven't done so already. Before assembling the part with the slots, insert, glue, and hold the joining part until it is secure. (PIC 5-15, PIC 5-16)
Tip 3: Store and dry.
Give a completed character a minute or so for the glue to set, then carefully place magnet side down on the table to dry overnight. This prevents the cubes from sticking together due to the strong magnets.
Step 6: Build, Rearrange, Enjoy
Play time! Stick the Cubeecraft on the magnet board where ever desired to create your scene. (PIC 6-1, PIC 6-2) Mix it up, mash it up, create a new scene as often as you like. Enjoy. (PIC 6-3, PIC 6-4, PIC 6-5)
Tip: Hang it up in a busy part of your home or office and watch how often it changes (sometimes in the most peculiar ways). Fun stuff! :)