Making cubes out of business cards is easy, and will impress your friends!

What you will need

Everything you need is already at hand:

  • Six business cards, and
  • About five minutes.

In the figures here, the cards are pictured as having a white side and a gray side, and the cube ends up white on the outside. You'll have to decide how you'll use your own cards to determine the look of your cube. I'll describe white as the "outside", and gray as the "inside".

Creating the pieces

The first step is to fold the cards into pieces suitable for assembling into a cube:

Six steps of folding card pieces

  1. Take two cards, and place them across each other, with the inside faces together. Try to make the 90-degree angle between them as accurate as possible, because each card serves as a guide for the folds in the other. Getting the two cards to cross precisely in the center is not important, since the tab lengths can vary without affecting the final cube.
  2. Fold the ends of the bottom card up over the top card. Make the folds nice and crisp: the crisper the fold, the snugger the final cube will be.
  3. Flip the pair over so that the bottom folded card becomes the top card.
  4. Fold the other card's ends up.
  5. Pull the two cards apart: you've made two cube pieces. If you've made the folds tight, the pieces will be more "closed up" than shown here, that's good.
  6. Do steps 1 through 5 two more times. Now you have six cube pieces. You are ready to begin assembly.

Assembling the pieces

Now that you have six cube pieces, you can assemble them into a cube. This requires a little bit of dexterity, but is not as hard as it might seem.

Six steps of assembling card pieces

At each step, make sure that the new card you're adding to the cube is hugging the existing cards with its folded tabs. Again, the pictures show the tabs flared out a bit so you can see the structure, but if you have made sharp folds, the tabs will lie flat against the other cards, making a nice clean cube.

At the last step, you will need to carefully pry open the remaining tabs to get the last card in properly (under the other cards' tabs, but with its tabs over its neighbors).

Another set of instructions

If you want more detailed illustrations, here's a tabblo I made of the process:

Tabblo: How to make a business card cube

What next?

Now that you've made your cube, there are other things you can do:

  • You can make more cubes.
  • You can make six more cube pieces, and carefully attach them over the six sides of your cube to get a nice tab-less look. The tabs of the new piece are folded completely under the tabs beneath it.
  • You can interlock the tabs from two cubes to attach them, and build from there.
  • You can get 66,048 cards together, and make a depth 3 Menger's sponge.
  • You can make a movie starring your cubes.
  • You can try fancier shapes!
  • You can try another five-minute project: How to make coffee stirrer stars.
  • You can read the New York Times article featuring this page.
  • You can read my blog, where other similar topics are discussed.

Comments

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Lillian 11:55 PM on 26 Aug 2003

Would you like to exchange diagrams?

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Ned Batchelder 6:09 AM on 27 Aug 2003

I only have this diagram. If you have others, send them along!

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A googler 9:08 PM on 23 Sep 2003

Neat!

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Jack Gurner 9:13 AM on 31 Oct 2003

Neat way to use unwanted business cards. However, we would hate to see that done with good ones!

The International Business Card Collector
IBCCsite.com

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Peter 4:59 PM on 2 Dec 2003

WOW! I'm hooked, off to the shops tomorrow to get some card. Took some time to figure out a level 1 but it's all clear now.
Level 3 here I come!

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Sam 9:51 AM on 4 Dec 2003

your "fancier shapes" links don't work.

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Muhammadsaif 11:53 AM on 11 Dec 2003

This drawing is so easy

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Ned Batchelder 7:41 AM on 19 Dec 2003

I fixed one of the "fancier shapes" links. The other seems to be gone for good.

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Yuki Kelly 1:12 PM on 29 Dec 2003

I like this unit very much.

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Ron 5:03 AM on 3 Jan 2004

I've made this cube and it looks good. Thanks for the diagram.

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Diana Ratliff 1:49 PM on 5 Jan 2004

Fun idea! I'll be sure to tell subscribers to my free newsletter, the BizCard Bulletin. Thanks!

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The Professor of Print 1:16 PM on 6 Jan 2004

We gave someone 20,000 "extra" business cards last month. They were in the process of building one huge business card cube by creating each one individually and then linking all of them together. Seems like a neat project...

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roberto baggio 1:17 PM on 14 Jan 2004

que bellisimo!!!
i want you to be my father!

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Chris 2:00 AM on 2 Feb 2004

I put your link up on my site for aspiring business card sculptors to learn from the Master of the Cube - RESISTANCE IS FUTILE!

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josie barnes 6:46 PM on 22 Feb 2004

hi im making a card for school and i would like to make one

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werty 8:43 PM on 29 Feb 2004

You have to be the worst employee ever to come up with these little wastes of time...too bad I am gonna totally do this tomorrow at work.

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chicago hardcore music 8:44 PM on 29 Feb 2004

I will tell everyone I know about this. Rock On!

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Chris 4:15 PM on 2 Mar 2004

Werty smells like cheese.

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Jessica 1:28 PM on 4 Mar 2004

This is the worstest idea someone has came up with.. although it works well in my offices...

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Helbert 6:29 PM on 20 Mar 2004

Hello the business card cubes are nice. Do anybody have other diagrams using business card. Can you send me a few ones. Thank You---helbert412@bellsouth.net

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me 3:33 PM on 23 Mar 2004

woohoo, need more silly stuff, people give wierd looks..im proud

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Airsoft Gun News at Air Soft Alley 10:45 PM on 5 Apr 2004

Cool trick, I am thinking about making some new business cards with a target on the back, this way I could make some of these cubes, with targets, and let the people shoot them with airsoft guns. It would be a really cheap way to have a promotional item at a trade show/convention. Thanks for the idea!

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Lastrata 10:14 AM on 19 Apr 2004

Very Nice. Enjoyed Blogger Con and
Harvard. Weiner Rules.

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Jody 6:29 PM on 19 Apr 2004

wow. amazing. You are famous, Ned,
- Jerilyn's mom

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Rick B 3:08 PM on 22 Apr 2004

This is going to really get big on you Ned. Prepare for bandwidth crunch.

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Joseph Wu 4:19 PM on 23 Apr 2004

Nicely done. You might want to give credit to the creator of the cube: Jeannine Mosely. You already link to her Menger Sponge page.

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Gangadharan 11:44 PM on 1 May 2004

Interesting stuff! When you have no other business do you can indulge in this pastime. Moral is: Do not throw away unwanted business cards, they will come in handy to fill your leisure time. Woh!

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Sonic 3:03 AM on 4 May 2004

Can I design some business cards and print them

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Kathy 4:38 PM on 4 May 2004

I was traveling last week, and made cubes for businesses I stayed at or visited (with permission). The Dick Tracy Museum cards looked really nice with the 12 card version of tab-less cube. The 12 card tab-less way is much stronger, and looks great. It is the second suggestion under what's next.

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GreatFX 10:31 AM on 5 May 2004

Ned,

This is the coolest thing since sliced bread. You can use these things for x-mas decorations, desk decorations, or a good waste of 30 minutes to 1 hour at the office while everyone makes business card cubes!

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geenyass 9:54 PM on 8 May 2004

kool send me more businuss card oragami

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mix it gurl 9:41 PM on 12 Jun 2004

i tried it and it worx

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Whats my name again... 6:23 PM on 15 Jun 2004

Hi ya! Whats cookin'? These cubeish things look SO cool, but I dont have ANY buisnuss cards, what should I do?

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Michael Hyde 8:38 PM on 13 Jul 2004

Fab. I first learned this as a kid, using old playing cards. But there was a reason to make the box: if you then cut out a hole the size of a nickel in one of the sides, you can use the cube/box to make perfect smoke rings! (Course, finding a smoker in this day and age...)

However, have the smoker take a puff and then gently blow smoke into the box thru the hole you've cut out. Then, gently tap the side of the box with a finger, and a perfect smoke ring will issue from the hole. Sometimes you can get several from one fill of the box.

Have you also considered the Origami jumping frog? Another use for a rectangular card. (3x5 index cards work great, but business cards can work too.) Cheers!

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JT 7:50 PM on 25 Jul 2004

Anyone know how I can find a custom shaped business cards printing company. I have this business partner that wants to have car shaped business cards for this auto business.

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Brooke 3:28 PM on 13 Aug 2004

Next to our creative way to use business cards, the cube is a perfect way to entertain my 14 year old for those cards I used to throw away because of being outdated or errors. BusinessCard NoteCards however make more business cents. Thanks for sharing.

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Tyler 3:57 PM on 1 Oct 2004

These Are Kool send me more buisness card creations.

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Karisa Zapotocky 5:02 PM on 2 Nov 2004

It is a cool I never saw how to make cube...

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Alireza Hemmati 3:45 PM on 21 Nov 2004

I just can say it's great

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angelseeker 2:29 PM on 5 Jan 2005

this sucks totally!!! i would rather make 2000 pencils then this! i am corey taylors cuzin

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Rick Blythe 1:44 PM on 1 Feb 2005

Awesome!

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Pete 11:28 AM on 10 May 2005

Hiya! this is fun to try. I think I can do more than this though...

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Pete 11:34 AM on 10 May 2005

Wow! I just linked up two cubes! These things can get you hooked..

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josh 10:23 PM on 22 Jul 2005

i have a 5 x 5 cube

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Geena 10:55 AM on 7 Aug 2005

Hellothat pretty cool. i just made one!!!

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John 1:18 PM on 26 Aug 2005

Neat but i would never give up a card for this. I collect any and all cards. Even blogs. If you have some you want give away to a good home please contact me PH.# 352-377-0456

IBCC member # 260

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hoadoan 5:12 AM on 6 Sep 2005

I want to make them

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Kimberly 10:04 PM on 20 Oct 2005

the cube is gay!!!! times 10

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Johnno 7:38 AM on 23 Oct 2005

Hello out there.

Does anybody know how to assemble a cube from 6 squares of folded paper?
Each piece has "hands" and "pockets" and the hands fit into the pockets of the adjacent piece.

Please post the answer, or email to nomorejunkfood@kooee.com.au

Thanks.

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John 11:09 PM on 29 Oct 2005

I collect business cards. Please send me all you can. John puckett 2841 N. E. 13th Dr. Gainesville fl. 32609

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blair 5:12 AM on 1 Nov 2005

plz give me moor these things are so cool. Ive been doing it for 1-2 yrs. send me cool diagrams plz blair_cal@hotmail.com

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kaylee colangelo 11:59 AM on 10 Nov 2005

the day i get mt business ai want a business card\

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??? 7:08 AM on 16 Nov 2005

HELLO PEOPLE THIS SITE IS CRAP, A WASTE OF BLOODY TIME GO GET A LIFE U SAD ACTS!

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??? 7:10 AM on 16 Nov 2005

Not really but seroisly people you can make your own business card by yourself if you put your mind to it

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Dana 1:06 PM on 18 Jan 2006

This was cool. I think it is very interesting the things you can make just out of anything especially business cards.

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jeff 12:18 PM on 30 Jan 2006

Could you please give explicit instructions how to link them together? Everything I try seems to weaken the structure or not be very stable.

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M Mabs 12:28 AM on 10 Feb 2006

Hi - please recommed the best place to get business cards (and other stationary) printed and mailed to me ?

sorry my email is mm_mabs@yahoo.com

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Tracie 10:43 AM on 5 Apr 2006

I can't believe I viewed the WHOLE thing!

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eamon 8:54 AM on 24 Apr 2006

Finally I have a use for my business cards

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Maria 4:28 PM on 4 May 2006

this is good

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gonaners16 1:18 AM on 18 Jun 2006

coolio! now i have something to do over the summer! I'm working on a piramid, and calculated 504 cards for the top 4 stories! haha, but i'm swimmin in the cards!!! yay!...maybe the record books! 'WORLD'S LARGEST BUSSINESS CARD PIRAMID-??? # OF CARDS USED" LOL
oh yeah: to those who commented on how sucky this site is and how we are time wasters by coming to this site- FYI! YOU'RE HEAR TOO, RIGHT? AND TO KNOW IF THIS SITE SUCKED OR NOT, YOU'D HAVE TO READ IT ALL TOO, SO YOU'RE 'WASTING TIME' TOO. get a life. geez.

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k.c 7:11 AM on 19 Jun 2006

u guys r nerds....LOL...just kiddin'!U just hav a lot of time on ur hands.

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John 11:14 AM on 30 Jun 2006

I was sitting here making bigger structures when one of the pieces reminded me of an old 3 x 3 x 3 puzzle called the Soma Cube. So I built the puzzle using your cubes. It turned out very well and it's a lot of fun.

http://www.geocities.com/dnehen/soma/soma.htm

Thanks for the idea!

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Janine Kenner 1:44 PM on 10 Sep 2006

Wow, these things r soooooo eazy, but kool. I think a lot of stuff iz jacked-up but this is wazzup!! I'm 13 and I taught my 6 year-old cuzion how to make these and she got at least 30 of em'. these r all she makes now. LOL :P if u got any more ideas pleaze send them 2 me: chewdachew@yahoo.com iight, THNX 4 DA IDEA!!!!!!!!!! lotz of luv - Janine Kenner

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Jeff 2:16 AM on 11 Oct 2006

These would be very cool if the cards were all different colors. Maybe rectangle cut outs of construction paper.

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Ryan 10:52 PM on 12 Oct 2006

nice site, good instructions thanks,. had heaps of fun chucking these around the office.

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Chris 6:54 AM on 6 Nov 2006

Hi, great idea and fun website. If anyone would like to get some free business cards to practice with please visit our business card collectors page.

I hope this is useful to you all.

Chris

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hi 8:26 PM on 13 Nov 2006

hi

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it's way tooooo hard geez 8:26 PM on 13 Nov 2006

way 2 hard LOL i'm not kidding

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no compitition 8:57 AM on 23 Nov 2006

u call that origami? come on man ,i need something challenging !it was fun but tooo eazy
`~tom~`

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ashley 6:12 PM on 24 Nov 2006

i think this is a gooood idea ~ashley

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ashley 6:12 PM on 24 Nov 2006

omg i did it woooow

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:) wowzers :) 11:44 PM on 18 Dec 2006

god I read this whole freakin page... about business card cubes... Great usage of my time and this Idea roks. Its awesome :)

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Teri Hunter 1:34 PM on 2 Jan 2007

I actually tried this exercise with my fifth grade students at it worked incredibly well! Then, I found a way to get free business cards from PrintsMadeEasy.com, so I now have a hearty supply for my students to make business card cubes. What a great idea! Oh, and those free business cards (I'm not sure if the offer still stands, but check anyway) can be found at:
http://www.printsmadeeasy.com

Happy New Year!

Teri

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jo 1:25 PM on 16 Feb 2007

thats about the craziest thing i've saw but i like the idea cool!
keep getting it

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Business card origami 1:58 PM on 20 Feb 2007

Ned, because of your inspiration I put together a full list of business card origami!

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John Puckett 7:09 PM on 19 Mar 2007

What a waste of a good card!!!
If you or any one else have cards they want to get rid of send them to me. Ill give them a good home. I collect them ALL!!!! Email me puckett10@hotmail.com for my snail mail address. THANK YOU..

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cassie 10:29 PM on 6 Jun 2007

hey ive had a look but i dont get it can you help me please? il try it and give it a go and then if i can't do it what should i do?

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Frenky 2:31 PM on 20 Jun 2007

good!These would be very cool if the cards were all different colors. Maybe rectangle cut outs of construction paper.

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Luciana Rodrigues 3:52 PM on 2 Jul 2007

Maravilhoso esse site, pena que tudo é em inglês, minha língua favorita.
Como sou brasileira, praticamente não entendo quase nada em inglês, mas consigo captar pelas imagens. Parabens mesmo. Um beijo no coração de todos. Atenciosamente,Luciana Rodrigues de Uberaba, Minas Gerais, Brasil

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Isabella negus 3:59 AM on 7 Aug 2007

its good to keep your little card with peoples name on then

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lissy negus 5:16 PM on 10 Aug 2007

i made it it and its very cool

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fun 2:45 PM on 25 Aug 2007

If you make the cube and add the six more, then insert a flat card into one of the sides, fold one like this:
--------------------
| | | |
| | | |
|____|______|_______|
with the fold going up, down to make a shape like this when viewed from the side:

/\
/ \
/ \
____/ \

place that over the first flat card into the same edge.

then fold 4 other cards' edges at an angle and insert them into the cube so th ey are like legs. the resulting creature looks somewhat like this from the side:

/\
_______/__\___
| |
/| |\
/ |_______| \
/__/ \_\

im 11, but my dad owns a shop. i put it in his shop. he said it was cool, but a waste of buisiness cards.:)

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fun 2:46 PM on 25 Aug 2007

that got messed up
:(
oh well. of you follow the written directions, you can still get it.
for the second card thats folded, fold it into a mountain with a flap out to the side to place into the cube.

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it's me 10:35 PM on 16 Nov 2007

what is the point?

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Ikll 7:34 AM on 7 Jun 2008

I don't get it?

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JoAnn 3:42 PM on 9 Jun 2008

We are re-branding next week (changing the company name) and we will be awash in obsolete business cards. I can hardly wait to build more cubes
!

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Ezra 9:58 AM on 18 Jun 2008

I found this several years back in a book, The American Boy's Handybook. The purpose was a little different though. Before you begin folding, trace a dime or some small disk (1 cm diamater, roughly) in the center of one of the cards and cut out the circle. Assemble as usual. Now, once the cube is complete you can blow smoke into the box. Tapping the card opposite the hole will make smoke rings!

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Sam 1:44 PM on 26 Nov 2008

Great idea I have used this technique to create a large letter “Z” which stands for Zeta the company I work for. Tell me what you think, you can view pictures on my blog post: http://www.zeta.net/blog/2008/11/2400-business-cards-no-glue-and-a-lunchtime-or-two/

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Nancy Ward 7:58 PM on 24 Aug 2009

Hi!

Today I posted an entry on my blog with a link to this tutorial.

Would you let me know if that's OK?

Thanks,

Nancy Ward
http://paperfriendly.blogspot.com

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Josh Janicek 11:56 AM on 25 Mar 2010

I used your business card cube template and created an entire robot: http://www.janicek.com/archives/2010/03/23/business-card-robot/

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Jeffo 10:20 PM on 27 Mar 2010

Very cool idea. Easy to follow instructions, that diagram is perfect! Cheers! Jeffo.

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Randomlittlelady 1:12 AM on 28 Nov 2010

Gorgeous idea. These look very effective stacked in a pyramid shape on a coffee table. A friend of mine printed heaps of business cards only to discover that they had a massive typo. She was going to throw them all away but i hat to see ANYTHING go to waste. So i made a cute decoration for my coffee table. It is very striking.

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pg 8:08 PM on 28 Jul 2011

i made this.. it's awesome.
I actually turned my cube into a 5 sided box with the extra cards on the outside (the "more finished look" which is also more stable)... it's awesome.

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monica 5:06 PM on 29 Jan 2012

hi, how do i go from the cube to the nifty biz card holder made out of biz cards as seen on this post: http://theclosetentrepreneur.com/12-unique-business-card-advertising-displays

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tess 12:50 PM on 14 Dec 2012

Needed to dice in a class, so I used this to make some out of notecards, and it worked fantastically! We wound up having to use tape, because it was big and the cards were bulging out just slightly, but still, I'm pretty sure I got some bonus points for that~

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Seamus 2:57 PM on 16 Oct 2014

@monica, put the flaps in instead of out. You might need to use tape inside the cube.

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