Puzzle Christmas Cards

A Cardiff University Architecture student, Hugo McCloud has made puzzle style Christmas cards to give to his family and friends this Christmas.

Rather than select a generic item from the shops Hugo made out of wood a series of cube shaped Christmas cards which slowly reveal a Christmas message to their recipient as they are unfolded and folded.

Here is how they work:

Hugo told me all about why he created these bespoke, one of a kind 3D Christmas Cards.

Hugo said: “Since an early age I’ve made some of my Christmas presents where I can. Partly for financial reasons but most importantly for the rustic and honest values akin to the spirit of Christmas. I believe that instead of just going to urban outfitters and buying a ‘kooky’ piece of tat for an extortionate price, a present (or in this case a card) has far more meaning and authenticity if one has given time and effort into creating it. Last year I created a carefully designed folding card from one piece of paper that sprung forth a Christmas tree and a message upon opening. This year I wanted to excel myself and create something truly magical.

Hugo has really thought about his friends and family while making these cards and every detail is meticulously planned to ensure maximum Christmas effect.

He said: “The concept arose from the phenomenology of Christmas. Everything had to ooze chistmassyness, from the presentation, to the design, to the human interaction.

Hugo's Bespoke Puzzle Christmas Cards

Hugo’s Bespoke Puzzle Christmas Cards

“You receive a small present. Each one is 40 x 40mm cube and is a cute and intriguing novelty which, wrapped in red paper and a small bow, looks like a mini-gift, which intends to fill the user with excitement and anticipation.

As you open it, your nostrils are filled with the scent of Christmas.

“Each cube, after manufacture is infused with oil from Cardiff Christmas market. The combination of the burned spruce wood of the cube and the cinnamon and orange infused clove oil instantly bring someone into a festive state.

“Upon opening you discover what appears to be quite a modest wooden cube with a few words engraved on it, but as you turn it in your hand, it folds open and you start playing with it your hand. The seemingly never ending message reveals itself with each fold and movement and is a continuous cycle as it can be repeated over and over again. This design, taken from a gideon cube, is intended to resemble a toy and release a little part of everyone’s inner child, filled with amazement and fun. The simple detailing and design, hides its complex construction and a lot of people just don’t understand how it works.

“These are bespoke items and are never intended to be mass manufactured and certainly never sold as a business venture. They are one off, hand crafted cards/gifts either to be kept as a sentimental keepsake of to be disposed of after their Christmas use, much like the tat mentioned earlier. To me that isn’t important. What is is the magic of the human interaction and the Christmas emotions and memories that it evokes.

The process which Hugo’s uses to create these cubes is very complex and time consuming. He explained to me the complexity of creating the cards.

He said: “Each one is made with incredible attention to detail. First numbering each of the 6 sides of each of the individual 8 cubes that make up each larger cube. So each larger cube has 48 laser engraved sides of smaller cubes which each need to be in a precisely exact configuration to ensure it works seamlessly.

A video showing the laser engraving process:

I got two wrong before they started to go right

“Every time a side is laser engraved, the individual cubes need to be rotated along the correct axis. To begin with this was a complete head fuck and I got two wrong before they started to go right. One small mistake, one rotation of one small cube along its x axis not its z axis, or one mis-numbering or misplacing would fuck up the whole thing. And the incredibly annoying thing is that I probably wouldn’t realise until when I came to put it together. As an architect, we often rely on ‘3D thinking’ to solve problems and this is one such case where I visualise and fold the finished product in my mind’s eye thus knowing exactly where each side needs to go in relation to each other. So once I started getting them right they didn’t go wrong.

“Putting them together was another design challenge. What material is strong enough yet transparent enough to hold it together yet allow the design to be seen from within? I experimented with various tapes and glues and at one point thought of using laser etched leather but the one I was most happy with was the clear plastic one uses at school (or perhaps one’s parents or teachers do) to cover and protect one’s text books. It was strong enough and didn’t detract from the simplicity of the design.”

Each card says:

1) Dear xxxx & xxxxx

2) Wishing you a happy Christmas

3) and a happy new year

4) Lots of love, Hugo x x

(Also 2 other sides depicted a star, one a snow flake and 8 other individual little designs of a snowman, heart, reindeer, candy cane etc)

One Response to “Puzzle Christmas Cards”
  1. katiemarieharris410 says:

    love these!! such a good idea!!

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