One of my favorite paper craft techniques is interactive design. I’m just fascinated by all the moving parts that can be created from paper: faps, pockets and inserts. They are not only make every page or mini album much more fun to create or look through but it gives you a lot more “real estate” for more photos and journaling. The feeling of unexpectedness you get when you don’t know what you’ll discover next is simply amazing and I think everybody should try interactive design at least once!
The interactive mechanisms, which are the moving parts of the design, can sometimes seem complicated and difficult to create but if you follow these 3 simple principles you’ll find out they are much easier to create than you think.
Measure, Measure and Measure
Interactive design is first of all a very accurate technique. It’s even called paper engineering in some cases, which is another way of saying it’s based on measuring and calculating. When you creating a paper mechanism it’s like creating a little machine that needs to move without any problems. So the first principle is measure, measure and then measure again. There is nothing more frustrating that building something and then finding out it doesn’t work because you measured wrong. Unlike art, here you can’t eyeball anything! Everything has to be accurate. You need a good ruler, pencil and patience and always double check your measurements.
Do a Trial Run
Never build your mechanisms on the pretty double sided cardstock you got especially for the project you’re creating especially if this is your first time or you’re creating a new mechanism. You first have to make sure it turns out exactly like you want it to. I like to try all my mechanisms on a white cardstock. I measure and cut and build the mechanism and see if it works. I make sure to write down all the measurements so I won’t forget. This way if it works it’ll be easy to recreate it with a beautiful cardstock and if it doesn’t I can go back to the drawing board and make changes.
Know the Basics
All interactive are basically built on two basic models:flaps and pockets. All the complicated designs you see are variations of those two and more advanced implementation to the same building rules.
A flap is a piece of paper that is not attached to the page or project and can be opened and closed. The flap can be open sideways or up and down. It can be straight or folded on it’s own or attached to other mechanisms. The basic flap is a square folded in half. You apply glue on the bottom of paper and attach to the project. the top folded part is not glued and is free to move.
A pocket is a shape closed from three sides. The one opened side enables inserting photos, inserts and more. The pocket opening can face any direction and can be in any size. The easiest way to create a pocket is to add glue to three sides of a square. I recommend using a double sided tape. If you want to create a larger volume pocket use foam tape instead.
Once you’ve mastered these principles you can start playing. Create double pockets, windows and doors, Inserts combining flaps and pockets. The more you practice the better you’ll be at coming up with ideas to create moving mechanisms for your interactive designs.
Have fun creating!
Have you ever created a flap or a pocket?