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Jul 3, 2012

Junk Mail Stellated Icosahedron


I wanted to make something patriotic, which made me think of the red and blue mirror I made from tubes rolled from magazine pages,

starburst mirror

which made my think to look for some interesting things made from drinking straws.

Also, you all probably know I'm a sucker for anything based on a Platonic solid, right? So first I saw these constructions, and then I found my project in an old LIFE magazine: the stellated icosahedron.

It's really hard to see, from the picture, what the star looks like. If it were solid it would resemble this one.

Stellated Icosahedron.

To make this project you will need
--90 paper tubes or drinking straw pieces: 30 3" tubes and 60 4" tubes
--2 skeins of embroidery floss (or other thick thread or thin twine that knots well)
--a long thin piece of wire to make into a "needle"

The LIFE magazine project starts on page 85. I also used these directions but I tried to work out a threading pattern that was a little more efficient--not just stringing and tying each individual straw.

If you scroll down on the NMSU site to the icosahedron, there's a flat construction pattern for the inner shape. You would have to back-track through some pieces with the thread, but it looks fairly straightforward.

How to make the paper tubes

Decide on a color scheme and tear pages from your recycling bin: magazines, or coupon inserts, or ads. Most of the blue I used came from a P&G coupon insert, and the red came from a Macy's ad insert.

For the inner portion you need 30 tubes, which is 7.5 pages. For the star points you need 60 tubes--15 pages.

Cut pages into quarters (which I will refer to as "squares", but they won't necessarily be square). You don't have to be too precise about this as you are going to trim the tubes to size.

If you want to choose your colors very precisely, cut your pieces with your chosen color on two adjacent edges of the page, as that is what will show. If your page has a frame-like outer border you get a candy stripe! (Time Magazine covers make candy cane striped tubes.)

starburst mirror

Flip a square wrong side up.

starburst mirror

Turn the square on the diamond with the point where the two "best" colored sides meet (marked with an X) furthest from you.

Rub a glue stick on the point furthest from you (X marks the spot), and along the two sides that meet at that point. Also run a stripe of glue somewhere between the right and left points (horizontally). You don't have to be too exact about this.

starburst mirror

Roll the paper around a knitting needle (I used a size 5) or dowel or whatever you have. Start with the point closest to you and roll tightly toward the far (glued) point.

starburst mirror

As you roll the "best" edges will wind down the tube toward the center.

starburst mirror

Cut off the ragged (pointed) ends of the tubes, then trim tubes to size. I made the inner (red) tubes 3" long and the star points (blue) 4".

Here are some photos of the stringing process.

Once all the tubes are strung and tied, trim excess thread ends and tuck them into the straw ends, securing with a drop of glue. I neatened all the places where the straw ends came together and puts drops of glue there, too.




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