Thanks to the Wonderpull machine over at WYO Art Factory on 15th ST, as mentioned previously, some of us local artists have talked about making a run of pieces for the machine. To that end, I’m making a series of tutorials to get us all (including myself) up to speed and practice on the Art-O-Mat requirements for art to go in the machines. The planned tutorial list so far, is this:
1. Making an Art-O-Mat box from a cereal box. (this post)
2. Making an Art-O-Mat wood block.
3. Making an Art-O-Mat wood block, thickening to size.
4. Making identification placards for your art, with design discussion
5. Discussions on ideas for your art and restrictions to content.
Now, the WYO Art Wonderpull lady said she would follow Art-O-Mat guidelines exactly, but you’ll see from the differences that she wasn’t quite accurate. I will be following Art-O-Mat guidelines in the tutorials, but will point out those differences when I can so you may decide for yourself. All of my information comes from the Art-O-Mat guidelines page and their website. If you have $10 to invest in this project, they offer a trial kit so you can have your hands on the official materials with almost no effort. However, for us
broke folks economical artists, the materials needed can easily be made at home, with minimal supply budget. On to the tutorial.
Making an Art-O-Mat box from a cereal box
For anyone who doesn’t want to put their 2D art on a finished-size wood block, or for any 3D art, a box is the way to go.
You will need:
- a printout of the template (first pic link)
- a cereal box
- Xacto knife and cutting mat -or- precision scissors
- bone folder or similar folding tool
- shiny tape (like 3m Transparent) or very sticky labels
- .003 ml acetate
We must start with Art-O-Mat’s official box template:
Click to open and then save the PDF. Again, this is Art-O-Mat’s template, I did not make it. If you think is is resplendent, go to their website and lavish praise upon them.
Print out your template; make sure your printer hasn’t done any scaling and that the printout is the right size. The final box size must be 2 1/8in x 3 1/4in x 7/8in (54mm x 82mm x 21mm), this means that those two big rectangles on the template should measure 2 1/8in x 3 1/4in (54mm x 82mm). If they’re off, sort it out with your printer or PDF software until it is right.
Cut your template out precisely. You could instead rubber cement the whole template to the cereal box directly, although that could be messy later when you get to folding. It might be worth printing the template out on cardstock so it can last a couple times if you want to make more than one box, which you probably will. Trace all the cutlines onto a flat stretch of your cereal box using a sharp pencil, or a .005 Sakura pen. You want exact, slim lines.
Use an Xacto knife and cutting mat to cut through all cutting lines cleanly. I can’t recommend regular scissors for this, but if you have small precision scissors you might be able to get it accurate. In the photo, my cereal box cut is on the left and my original template is on the right. You can see that I didn’t feel like cutting the curves as shown on the template, so I simply drew a straight line short-cutting the curve and cut it off as an angle. This doesn’t affect the box function at all and saved a few seconds of my time and effort.
If you have one of these: Martha Stewart Scoring Board; use it because it is perfect for this job. If you don’t have one and don’t want one, use a ruler and bone folder to crease straight over the dotted fold lines. Crease in, creating valleys, on the side you want inside. In my case, I didn’t want my Honey Nut Cheerios box showing, so I creased my folds in towards the printing. I believe official Art-O-Mat boxes are encouraged to obscure any such non-relevant labels or markings, although I don’t know if the WYO Art Wonderpull lady has any similar concerns.
Go over all your creases with the bone folder or similar tool to make sure your folds are crisp and well defined. Get out your glue; I am using Aleene’s Turbo Tacky, my go-to general purpose glue for papers and mild fibers. It dries faster than the regular style Aleene’s, which is great. Art-O-Mat says DON’T use double sided tape here and I agree. Double sided tape is a wonderful thing, but inappropriate for this project. Most white glues are ideal, and I bet you can use some of those gummy, resin, snot-looking ones, too.
Fold over the right hand rectangle – the big rectangle that doesn’t have short flaps attached to it. Put a decent amount of glue on the flap part, as in the picture.
Now, keeping the right and middle flat, fold the left hand, long flap over the glued flap and press them together. Check that you don’t have any glue overflow, especially on the inside or your box won’t open up later. At this point you can clamp the glued area with some clothes pins, or put a book or brick on top of it and let it stay flat, pressed until the glue is totally dry.
If your glue is dry, fold up the tabs of your box. Trim anything that wasn’t spot on – I had to cut a smidge (1 mm) off both my short ends to get them perfect. This box is now ready to have your art piece put inside it. You may decorate, paint, stamp, write on, or simply leave plain, the box as you wish. Be sure not to add any bulk at this point – no collage or texture on the outside of the box.
All about acetate:
Official Art-O-Mat guidelines are for .003 ml acetate to be wrapped around ALL art pieces, block or box. Now, the WYO Art Wonderpull lady doesn’t seem to follow these guidelines, but I suggest you do anyway and here’s why. The cigarette vending machines were made to dispense boxes wrapped in cellulose acetate. If your piece doesn’t have the acetate, you increase the chances of your work jamming or double vending in the machine. Sure, it might not happen, but why risk it? The WYO Art Wonderpull did a double vend on me when I used it and NONE of the pieces in the machine have acetate. Lucky for her I am honest person and returned the doubled block, but again, a simple strip of acetate would likely solve the problem. And the strip will protect your hard work from scrapes. Besides, if you decided to become a real, true, echt, Art-O-Mat artist, you will have to follow the rules anyway.
So, now that I’ve talked you into it, you need something like this, .003 ml acetate sheets. I bought mine in an art store, but they all look similar. Plus, if it will fit, it can be printed on! Exciting!! We’ll look into that later. For the moment, cut a strip to nine inches long and two inches wide.
Here’s the width.
Get some clear, sticky tape. 3M transparent is perfect. If you have thin and sticky labels (sticky as in high-adhesion, not those removable kinds) you can use those, too. Even more opportunities for customization and fun! Don’t use frosted tape, or anything that is thicker than tape or might have low adhesion. You don’t want these coming off inside the machine and gumming everything up.
Wrap the acetate strip lengthwise around the long line of the box. Put the tape over the edge of the acetate strip, making sure it is snug, tight, and flat.
That’s it! You have completed your own guideline-meeting Art-O-Mat box! Congratulations!
Come back for the tutorial (probably) next week when we’ll look at the blocks for art.