3D Cube | Paper Net 3D Shapes

Cool Math For Kids

Learning how to make a 3D cube paper net for kids is fantastic math fun with Elliot and myABCdad Learning for kids.

Converting a 2D paper net into a 3D cube successfully, takes steady hands, patience and a good eye, not to mention expert scissor and gluing skills. Definitely a lot to ask of Elliot, age 6. The thing is, he has been given a chance, which required his dad to remember he can. As a Kindergarten teacher, this was a big part of my philosophy. They can, given the chance to try and if not the first time, celebrate the effort and give them a chance to try again. That and opportunities to try on their own through choice times during a day or as activities to try at home, together with family.

The Cutting

Apart from having a go often, there are also some top tips to offer as a way to help nurture success. First, encourage a warm up by cutting out the shape with a wide boundary, ignoring any lines to begin with. Go ahead and model this with your own first. Cut out a big oval around the shape. Next cut from the perimeter of the oval, aiming to cut along a solid, black line. When you cut to an intersection or corner, stop and pull the scissors out and start again from the outside of the oval. We find it much easier to turn the oval and cut with scissors pointing straight ahead, rather then turning scissors or the shape from within. Cutting away the perimeter pieces first and then working towards the finer bits also helps. When cutting, try with small snips, not opening the blades to wide. We find the wider the jaws of the scissor blades, the harder it is to close and cut along lines.

The Folding

Once the outline of the shape is cut out start folding the twelve dashed lines to make the edges. We find it easiest, turning the paper net line side down with the blank side facing up to start. Lift up each side or surface and turn it over until you can see the dashed line. Gently use your fingers to push down  until you can make an edge or fold running along the dashed line. Once you are satisfied, run a finger-nail along the edge to make a definitive crease. Repeat for all surfaces and all tabs. When you think you have the twelve edges folded try manipulating the shape together. It should be relatively easy to do if all edges have been folded. If there is a rounded edge it means a fold was not made. All edges folded with nice creases and running closely if not directly on each dashed line, will definitely make gluing the shape much easier.

The Gluing

When you are satisfied with all the folded edges you can start gluing tabs to surfaces. We recommend using glue sticks, but white glue is also fine. Just make sure not to put too much glue on the tabs. And although tabs can be glued to the outside of each surface or side, we find it much easier to apply glue to the face of each tab and glue tabs to the inside of each surface. The trickiest bit is the lid. To complete the shape you need to run the glue along three tabs and manipulate the tabs so they close on the inside of the surfaces. The tabs should push out against the walls and stick.

What to do with it.

There are many things that you can do with a cube, or indeed several cubes, including making super cool structures. Colouring and painting them before folding and gluing and attaching fishing line to a finished cube can make pretty ceiling art in a bedroom, playroom and classroom. Elliot and I have decided to cover ours with papier-mâché, paint them white and then add dots to make giant dice, so we can give geometry some game. Make sure to check out the action: How To Make Giant Dice With Elliot.

Have a go and try your own. Elliot and I would love to find out how it goes for you. E-mail us at: myabcdad@gmail.com and/or gives us feedback in the comment section below.