3D Holiday Cards

The Pulp and Paper Centre got a little creative with our Holiday cards this year. We sent our friends and colleagues snowflake designs on regular 2D paper and provided simple instructions to turn them into 3D decorations.

“How” you ask?

It’s simple – using a unique and novel method developed at the Pulp and Paper Centre by researcher Ata Sina and his supervisors, Professors James Olson and Mark Martinez. We call it Origami Engineering.

View the brief video to get a better understanding of what we mean.

This patented, innovative methodology lies in the use of and strategic placement of thermoplastic polymers onto a design so that when heated to a specific temperature, the polymers shrink and lift the paper at various angles and cause the paper to turn into a pre-determined 3D shape…in this case, a snowflake!

Notice the strategic placement of thermoplastic polymers on the design

The self-folding material is composed of pre-cut and creased paper, along with heat shrinking thermoplastic polymers. A computational drawing tool is first used to design folds for a particular 3D shape Sina designed. A Computer Numerical Controlled (CNC) cutter is then employed, at various pressures, to cut both the paper and polymers. The entire process is automatic and continuous with the help of an in-house developed robot to assist with the welding of polymers to the paper once the design has been cut and creased.

Here are some examples that showcase the innovative method used to create some highly complex 3D-designs.

A final video that showcases this platform technology creating a more complex 3-D shape.

Read our feature article in the upcoming issue of Ingenuity out this January to find out about other possible applications of this sustainable method and the environmental benefits that come along with it.

This project could not be possible without the generous financial support of NSERC Green Fibre Network.

Anna Jamroz
Communications Coordinator, Pulp and Paper Centre
University of British Columbia
Tel: 604.827.2117
Email: anna.jamroz@ubc.ca

13 responses to “3D Holiday Cards”

  1. Cheryl K

    That is so cool. Thanks for sharing the story.

  2. G. Zilm

    Fascinating. Simple (and timely) explanation and demonstration of complex and ingenious research. Thank you. G. Zilm (nursing faculty)

  3. S. Campbell

    Fabulous – thanks for sharing! S. Campbell (nursing)

  4. Beth Howe

    So interested to see these results – really gets the mind going with ideas for and questions about your process and material. Excellent!

  5. Junaid Qazi


  6. J. Salmela

    Great Work!
    Congratulations this kind of innovations we need in pulp and paper industry field.

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all.

  7. cristian marchioli

    Amazing! Great job!

  8. Pouyan J

    That’s so cool 🙂

  9. monique lacroix

    Many thanks to share with us these video. Congratulation

  10. Nici Darychuk

    Very cool! Thanks for sharing!

  11. P Krochak

    Really nice work!

  12. Mohammad Shanbghazani

    Good job Ata

  13. Christine Saville

    Congratulations! What a wonderful product!

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