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webslinky: papercraft
This week, stop writing.

It's great living in the Space Year 2007. We're truly in the age of the paperless office, where all written correspondence is conducted via email, and fax machines have been replaced by ornamental fountains.

This means thereís loads of unused paper lying around. So what to do with it? We could gather it all up and burn it together with some old tires Ė or just dump it in a river.

But why not use the paper for something more creative, colourful, and fun? Papercraft doesn't just have to be for kiddies or origami experts. And thanks to the internet you can find all kinds of great things to print out and stick together.

It'd probably be a good idea to start off with something relatively simple, like one of the miniature replica gaming machines from Way Of The Rodent's Paper Arcade. Then you can move on to something trickier, like a toy from the fantastic Readymech series. Just choose the model you like best, print out the PDF and away you go.

However, don't think that's all there is to it. Oh no. Just take a look at the 3D Paper Art Flickr Group to see what's possible with enough time and paper Ė from little monsters to incredible human sculptures. Papercraft Paradise is another good place to track the surprising scope of subject matter people are rendering in paper, although one theme appears to be particularly popular: robots.

And, arguably, the very best mechanical johnsons can be found at Paper Robots, where you can print out and fold into being a working Optimus Prime which even transforms into a truck. Itís a modern marvel.

Thatís impressive, but some people have to take things that little bit further. Iím talking about people like Tomohiro Yasui, who since 1982 has been creating his Kami-Robo Japanese wrestling robots Ė initially solely for his own entertainment. His paper creations were exhibited at the ICA last year and the bizarre universe he has created, along with the story behind it, is well worth investigating.

So, unless youíve got time to dream up an entire marketable brand of toys, try not to get carried away. And remember: scissors can be sharp, so please ask an adult to help you with any fiddly bits.

David Thair 29 March 07
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see also
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