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How to Make a Paper Magic Turning Cube

Updated April 17, 2017

A paper magic turning cube is also called an origami flexicube. The toy consists of eight cubes taped to each other in strategic places so that they appear hinged and can show different images. Philip Noble invented the flexicube in 1971 during a hospital stay. The main application of the magic turning cube is a puzzle. You can change images or messages as you flip the cubes this way or that way.

Print free 3-D cube templates that can be found online and make eight cubes by cutting around the template, gluing the flaps and shaping each cube.

Place your cubes side by side by twos on top of each other. You should have a rectangle with four rows and two columns. For convenience, number the cubes from one to eight, from top to bottom, starting from the left.

Tape cubes four and eight to each other from the top. The result should look as if there is a hinge between the two cubes like a hinge of a door. You should be able to open the cubes from underneath.

Tape cubes one and five the same way. Now, you should have the cubes on the first row taped and the cubes on the last row taped, too.

Tape the middle cubes. Tape cubes two and three as above. Tape cubes six and seven together. Put the cubes down on their side so that the hinge is on the outer side and not on the top.

Tape cubes five and six together. The hinge is underneath. Tape cube one with cube two. The hinge is underneath.

Tape cube three with cube four and cube seven with cube eight. Tape from underneath.

Tip

Secure each individual cube with tape. You can also link the cubes with a long paper strip. See Philip Noble's website for reference. You can also try to make the cube with Mylar to add a mirror feel to your magic turning cube and to keep it grease free.

Warning

Before you start taping the cubes together, keep them in the order they will appear when the puzzle is completed. As you tape the cubes, keep them in order. It is easy to crush the cubes, so use a sturdy paper that will allow you to fold the patterns easily. You can waterproof your magic cube by using waterproof or weatherproof paper. If your hands are dirty or you want to use your paper cube outdoors, this paper will keep your magic turning cube safe for a long time. Make sure you tape the cubes on both side of the hinge, otherwise they will not stay together.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Tape
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About the Author

Soumy Ana started writing professionally in 1995. She has written for “Al Jumuah” and various Web sites. Ana is the winner of the 1999 IWA Short Stories Contest. Ana holds a Master of Arts in TESOL from Southern Illinois University, a Maîtrise des Lettres et Arts from Pau, France, and an International Montessori Teaching Diploma from the North American Montessori Center, Canada.