Beaded machines, Beadwork, Tutorials

Folding cube tutorial

Here it is – a detailed tutorial for the folding cube!

beadmechanics_cube_verrier

This is the first tutorial I’ve ever written so hopefully it makes sense! Any questions just ask.

Materials

I used the following beads for the original cube:

  • Size 11 seed beads – about 22g – Miyuki, gunmetal, colour 451
  • 4mm crystals – 24 – Swarovski bicones, blue zircon

You’ll also need:

  • Size B nylon (nymo or s-lon etc.) thread – black
  • Size 12 beading needle
  • Curved beading needle (size 10, but I think that’s the only size you can get)

Cubic Right Angle Weave (CRAW)

The individual cubes are made using cubic right angle weave (CRAW). I’ve written the tutorial assuming familiarity with this stitch, such as how to go round corners and how to build off existing work. If you’re not familiar with it don’t worry – there are many tutorials online! The pattern shouldn’t be too difficult once you master the basics of the stitch.

Modified Right Angle Weave (MRAW)

The hinges on each cube are done with modified right angle weave (MRAW). If you’ve not come across this stitch before you should check out the instructions on the CGB site. They can be found on page 39 of the freely available ‘Basics’ section of CGB volume 1.

Making a model

I found it very helpful to have a model of an unfolding cube to refer to – it makes it much easier to work out which hinge goes where when you have an example right in front of you!

There are several options for making a model. The first is to find 8 small cubes and join them together (see below for the joining pattern). The second is to print out a paper net and make a complete cube all in one go (although this was not the easiest to do!).

Hinge pattern

I’ve used some 20mm wooden cubes and some stickers and tape to put together a model. (Wooden cubes seem pretty easy to get hold off from craft shops or online – or you could also make individual cubes out of paper.)

beadmechanics_cube_model1

The stickers mark the faces where the crystals are going to go – 3 on each cube. Each cube is identical until the hinges are added – this makes everything much easier! They look like this – 3 adjacent faces have stickers/crystals, and the other 3 are blank:

beadmechanics_cube_model2

Here’s how the 8 cubes go together. I’m going to number them 1 to 8 to make the later instructions clearer.

First join cubes 1 and 2 by making a single hinge by sticking tape along the edge as shown (I stuck a piece of tape on both sides of the hinge to make it stronger):

beadmechanics_cube_model3

Then add cube 3 like this, paying close attention to where the stickers are:

beadmechanics_cube_model4

Then add cube 4 on the other side, and fold cubes 3 and 4 in as shown on the right:

beadmechanics_cube_model5

Then add cube 5:

beadmechanics_cube_model6

And cube 6 (still making sure all the stickers are in the right place – although don’t worry if you make a mistake, you can always peel them off and stick them back on!):

beadmechanics_cube_model7

Then add cube 7 like this:

beadmechanics_cube_model8

And finally add cube 8 as shown:

beadmechanics_cube_model9

There’s one more hinge to go – the one between cube 7 and cube 8, which is along the bottom horizontal edge as shown:

beadmechanics_cube_model10

That’s it! You should now have a working model, which folds into two different cubes – one with stickers on all the faces, and one with blank faces:

beadmechanics_cube_model11

If you’ve made a model as above and rotated it around a few times you may notice you can unfold it into a rectangle so it looks like the photos above but the hinges are all in the wrong places. Don’t panic! This is because there are two different places in the complete folding-unfolding cycle where the cube flattens out to a rectangle, and they have the individual cubes in a different order. Just continue folding and unfolding and you’ll get back to where you started.

Now you have a model, on to the beadwork!

The pattern

The pattern is split into 2 parts:

  1. Making the 8 individual CRAW cubes
  2. Adding the hinges to each cube and joining them together

CRAW cubes

Here are the instructions for making each individual cube. You’ll need to make 8 of these.

The individual cubes are made out of cubic right angle weave (CRAW) units.

Start with a comfortable length of thread and a normal size 12 needle – I use about one and a half armspans length of thread at a time, since CRAW uses up the thread fairly fast. When you need to end a thread, just weave the end into the beadwork following the existing CRAW paths until it’s secure, and cut it off. Join the new thread into the beadwork in a similar way.

I’ve used different coloured beads to the original here to make the photos clearer. The original was made entirely using gunmetal coloured beads throughout.

Step 1

Make a 2 by 2 block of CRAW units, leaving enough of a tail to comfortably stitch back in.

(Right click a photo and select ‘view image’ to see a larger version!)

beadmechanics_cube_step1

Step 2

Add another 2 by 2 block on top of this to make a cube.

This will be the centre of the completed cube.

beadmechanics_cube_step2a

This is also a good point to stitch the thread tail in. (It’s also a good idea not to cut it off completely for the time being, just leave it fairly short so it’s out of the way, otherwise you can end up stitching through it and pulling the end back out.)

beadmechanics_cube_step2b

Step 3

We’re now going to add the first ‘frame’ face – one that will eventually have a crystal in the centre. This is done by adding a frame of CRAW to the top of the 2 by 2 cube, anchoring it to the edge beads of this face.

I’ve made a new cube with different coloured beads to highlight the edges of the top face. Here’s how the first unit is attached:

beadmechanics_cube_step3a

First, make the bottom of the new CRAW unit as so:

beadmechanics_cube_step3bi

Then add the sides and top to complete the unit:

beadmechanics_cube_step3bii

We’re now going to work along the edge by adding a second CRAW unit next to the first in a similar way:

beadmechanics_cube_step3c

Now we’re at the corner. This corner CRAW unit is different, it has no edge bead to start from so is just joined to the previous (blue) unit on one side and is suspended in mid-air!

beadmechanics_cube_step3d

The next edge and corner is completed as before – just keep working around the next two sides:

beadmechanics_cube_step3e

Continue around onto the last edge, adding one corner unit and one edge unit.

The second edge unit on this last edge is going to be slightly different, since it has to include a bead from the very first unit we made:

beadmechanics_cube_step3f

Here I’ve added the bottom of the unit, the next RAW face is at the back and includes a bead from the previous unit, a new bead, a bead from the very first frame unit, and an orange edge bead from the central cube. The rest of the unit is then completed as before.

Finally, make the last corner (easier as you now have 2 units to join it to!):

beadmechanics_cube_step3g

Step 4

We’re now going to work on two of the three blank faces. Now is a good time to switch to a curved beading needle, as it will make stitching through the existing beads much easier. Start by turning the beadwork upside-down, so the completed frame is facing downwards:

beadmechanics_cube_step4a

Now start by adding a row of 4 CRAW units along one side, building off the existing beadwork as necessary:

beadmechanics_cube_step4b

Continue on around the corner, adding 3 more units:

beadmechanics_cube_step4c

Now we’re going to work another row back the way we came. First add 4 units above the previous row:

beadmechanics_cube_step4d

Then continue on round the corner, adding 3 more units to finish that row:

beadmechanics_cube_step4e

Now we have two more faces almost complete!

Step 5

Rotate the beadwork around and add 2 units along the remaining edge, separating these two faces into two frames:

beadmechanics_cube_step5

That’s two more faces almost complete!

Step 6

We just need to add the final blank face on the top to complete the cube. I found it easiest to start in the middle and work out. Start by adding 4 CRAW units in the middle on top, like this:

beadmechanics_cube_step6a

Once all 4 are done it will look like this:

beadmechanics_cube_step6b

Just the outer edge left to do! Work around the edges, adding a single row of units all around the outside:

beadmechanics_cube_step6c

Keep going until the top face is complete:

beadmechanics_cube_step6d

And that’s it for the CRAW! The cube should now have 3 blank faces that meet at a vertex, and 3 frame faces that meet at the opposite vertex:

beadmechanics_cube_step6e

The last thing to do is to add the crystals!

Step 7

We’re going to add a 4mm crystal to the centre of each frame face. With the cube orientated as shown in the left-hand photo below, we’re going to follow the thread path shown in the right-hand photo from ‘a’ to ‘b’ to add a crystal to the top face:

beadmechanics_cube_step7

This is shown in more detail in the photos below. First work through the beadwork to exit the bead shown, then add the crystal and continue:

beadmechanics_cube_step7a

Work around through the beadwork following the threadpath shown above and stitch back through the crystal, like this:

beadmechanics_cube_step7b

Now add a crystal to the other two remaining faces. Note that point ‘b’ in the threadpath of the top face is point ‘a’ for the next frame (as shown in the right-hand photo above). Once you’ve completed this second face, the thread will be in the correct place to start the frame on the left-hand side. You should end up with all three crystals pointing towards the top vertex, like this:

beadmechanics_cube_step7c

Don’t end the thread yet, you’ll need it to complete the hinges.

Up to this point all the cubes are identical, so just repeat the steps above to make all 8 in the same way. Then it’s on to joining them together!

Adding the hinges and joining them together

We’re now going to add some modified right angle weave (MRAW) hinges to each cube and join them together. I’ve followed the same sequence of joining them as I used for the model, so you can refer back to the photos at the start of this post while joining the beaded cubes together.

Cube 1

The hinge pattern for cube 1 looks like this:

beadmechanics_cube_1

The number next to each hinge is the cube it joins to. The first hinge we’re going to add is the one labelled ‘4’ in the photo above. Turn the cube so it’s orientated as shown in the photo below and work through the beadwork to exit from the bead shown:

beadmechanics_cube_cube1_a

Now we’re going to add the hinge beads along the edge using the MRAW thread path (see the beginning of the post for more about this stitch). I’ve used orange for the hinge beads so they show up clearly.

First add one bead and continue on through the top of the next MRAW unit (left photo). Then loop around the top of this unit, through the beads indicated in the right photo:

beadmechanics_cube_cube1_b

This extra loop makes sure the hinge beads are held in place nice and securely. Continue along the edge adding in two more hinge beads, following the thread path as shown:

beadmechanics_cube_cube1_c

You want to keep a fairly medium tension here – too loose and the hinge will be unstable, but too tight and you won’t be able to join it to the next cube.

Turn the beadwork so you’re looking at the hinge from the other side. Work along through the beads following the MRAW thread path as shown on this side:

beadmechanics_cube_cube1_d

The hinge beads should now be held in place with stitches on both sides.

Add in the second hinge (the one labelled ‘2’ in the photo) in the same way, so you have a cube that looks like this:

beadmechanics_cube_cube1_e

Weave the end of the thread into the beadwork so it’s secure, and trim it off.

Cubes 2 – 7

For cubes 2 to 7 you’ll add one new hinge, and join to another on a previous cube. For each cube I’ve marked on the photo which other ones they join to, and indicated which is the shared hinge with a circle around the number.

Cube 2

Here’s the hinge pattern for cube 2:

beadmechanics_cube_2

This cube joins to cubes 1 and 3, as labelled. I’ve put a circle around the shared hinge – you don’t need to add this one, just join to it.

So for cube 2 we’re first going to add the hinge labelled ‘3’ using MRAW, just as for cube 1. We’ll end up with a cube that looks like this:

beadmechanics_cube_cube2_a

I’ve made it a slightly different colour so you can tell which cube is which! Now we’re going to join it to the shared hinge on cube 1. Bring the two cubes together as shown on the left:

beadmechanics_cube_cube2_b

The edges we’re going to join are marked with a dot. On the right I’ve moved the cubes so these edges meet.

Join cube 2 to cube 1 following the exact same MRAW thread path as before – only this time you don’t need to add an extra bead, just use the one from the hinge on cube 1:

beadmechanics_cube_cube2_c

The MRAW thread path is exactly as before:

beadmechanics_cube_cube2_d

Once you’ve done one side, rotate the hinge so you can reinforce the other side:

beadmechanics_cube_cube2_e

That’s it, you’ve joined the first two cubes together!

beadmechanics_cube_cube2_f

Cube 3

The hinge pattern for cube 3 is shown below – this one joins to cube 2 using the existing hinge (marked with a circle).

beadmechanics_cube_3

Cube 4

Cube 4 joins to cube 1 on the hinge labelled below:

beadmechanics_cube_4

Cube 5

This cube joins to cube 3 as shown:

beadmechanics_cube_5

Cube 6

Cube 6 joins to cube 4:

beadmechanics_cube_6

Cube 7

This cube joins to cube 5:

beadmechanics_cube_7

Cube 8

The final cube is a bit different – you don’t need to add a new hinge, just join it to the existing hinges on both cube 6 and cube 7 as shown:

beadmechanics_cube_8

The finished cube

That’s it! You should now have a complete folding cube!

beadmechanics_cube_verrier

If you want to share some photos of your completed cube I’d really like to see them! You can always head over to my facebook page and post them there!

3 thoughts on “Folding cube tutorial

  1. Thank you so much 😚 I will order my beads and give it a try over the holidays !The tutorial looks super , that was really a first ?Thank you !

    Von meinem Samsung Galaxy Smartphone gesendet.

    Liked by 1 person

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