Flexagon Fun | Chris Carter | Skillshare

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

9 Lessons (45m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Materials

    • 3. DIY 60 Degree Template

    • 4. DIY Compass

    • 5. Fold Your Paper Strip

    • 6. Fold Your Flexagon

    • 7. Flip Your Flexagon

    • 8. Create Your Design

    • 9. Creating Magic

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About This Class


Learn how to create and illustrate a basic flexagon as a travel journal, a fun activity with a child, student, friend or aging parent.  Create a bit of magic using one strip of paper!

Meet Your Teacher

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Chris Carter

artist, illustrator and explorer


Welcome to Skillshare. I'm Chris Carter.

I love exploring the world with pen and brush whether it be by land, sea or air! Here on Skillshare, in tiny bites, I present tips and techniques I've learned over a lifetime of sketching, drawing and painting. My classes are designed with two purposes in mind: to present tips and techniques that help you learn new skills and master current skills; and as quick reference for those of you who have attended one of my live workshops.

I create large, abstract watercolors and oil paintings in my studio.  When traveling, which I do for more than half the year, I work realistically, mostly in sketchbooks.  I sketch from reality daily to keep my eye, hand and brain coordination well-honed.See full profile

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1. Introduction: I hope you find this a really fun and inspiring course. It's wonderful to do just on your own. I I do it at home. I do it when I travel. It's a great kind of travel journal and something easy to do where you can just add to it as you little from place to place. It's also a fantastic activity to do with Children to do with adults. But in this time when some of you are finding yourselves homeschooling your Children because of the Corona virus pandemic, you might find that during this summer your kids could be entertained really well by creating Flex a groans to remember this year to remember your times together. Ah, so let's get started. I'd like to start off by sharing a few examples of lexicons I've made over the past several years. Yeah, this is the Tri Flex, a gun that I started in L. A and love Tokyo when I was having dinner. This is my sake. And this is shrimp that I had with my dinner. On up here is the heater that they had outside the top of the heater. So I haven't painted this in yet. this'll one flips to be this. Now this is blank side. Haven't done this yet, but today I did sailboats in the Berkeley Marina Berkeley Yacht Club in California. And this flips to this and what we have if there's books. So this was inspired by their sports, and I will paint this in eventually a lot of fun. 2. Materials: to make the flex a gun For this class, you'll need the following supplies. You will need a strip of paper. You will need a template for marking 60 degree angle, 1 60 degree angle. To begin with, you can use a plastic template. This is a 30 60 triangle. Both of these this is a small one. This is a large one. It doesn't matter, or you can use a template that you make yourself, which is a little equilateral triangle. An equilateral triangle has 3 60 degree angles, so you will need that. You'll need a pencil, a pair of scissors and a compass for creating the design. If you decide to use a heavier weight paper, such as a 90 or a £140 watercolor paper or a cover stock, you'll find that a metal straight edge doesn't have to be a ruler. But a metal straight edge would be very helpful, and so will a bone folder. If you don't have a bone folder, you can use the end of a Sharpie marker to make things easy for you. I suggest that you start off with either an 8.5 by 11 sheet of paper or an 11 17 sheet of paper thes air, both standard papers that you can get for your printer or copier machines. This is a flexi gone the size of a flex, a gun that is the result of using a 17 inch piece of paper. This is the size of the flex a gone that is the result. When you use an 8.5 by 11 sheet of paper, you will have a little extra on either end. I have rounded the numbers up to make sure that it's long enough at the greatest height that you can get from that piece of paper. The dimensions were in 11 17. Piece of paper will be 2.5 inches by 17 and again, that gives you a little extra. The end the dimensions for Nate and 1/2 by 11 sheet of paper. Your standard letter paper is 1.5 inches high by 11 inches long, and you will have a little bit off 3. DIY 60 Degree Template: in this lesson, I'll show you how to make your own 60 degree angle template just out of a piece of paper bag. If that's all you have around Paperback, all right? It's pretty easy to get hold of a paperback. So I'm gonna go along this crease just because it's already there. But you've been just crease. You can make a crease like this in something that doesn't ever but will use this. Now, here's a little bit of trial and error. This is the full. You're going to divide this into 3rd 123 by folding this and trying to make this part equal to that part. And don't crease it really tightly. First, flip it over and now see, it's not quite the same. So I'm gonna go back, make it a little bit smaller than I just did. I tried off and I wanted to be pretty. OK, so that's Oh, I got pretty lucky. Sometimes it takes three or four folds before I can get the exact amount, but that's pretty good. Do you see that? That this this is the same Now these three are equal. Make sure that you know which crease you're working with to do that, you can really increases now. This is not the ideal situation. Ideally, you would. You would have either a 30 60 triangle to work from. Okay? No, The way that you cut this, if you don't have a pair of scissors, really Crease it well in both directions and then you carefully damp in this line. Now you can tell, I'll show you just you can tear it without dampening it, but it's much easier if you damp it. I usually just click the edge, but you may not want to do. Okay, so that was without licking the edge. This I'm gonna lick the edge here just a little bit enough to make it so that it just tears so easily. And there we have it. 123 60 60 60. This is a 60 degree angle and I can put it along a strip. Let's say this is my my paper strip that I'm making my flex a gun out of. I can line this right up along the edge, and I can either fold this over and do the same thing that that I did. If I'm making this out of a paper bag. Tear this. And, of course, my paper strip will be longer than this. Then I can be in folding my try flexing. That's how you make your 60 degree template without using any drafting tools, Adolf. 4. DIY Compass: What if you don't have a compass piece of paper? It's not very thick paper. This is a paper value in here. I want to hold it over trip. Now, if you're really out in the woods, we may have to find a super sharp stick, and you may have some trouble with that, but anywhere else you might be somebody's gonna have a safety pin or a push pin or a nail. I'll use the safety pin. Not everybody has a nail, so you put the whole in one end. Safety pen is not as thick as a push to make sure that you wiggle it around a bit. And then so you want your circle be that big so you can use this to make dollar art to. And then let's let's put Ah, hole. Here you can put as many holes as you want. Depends on the design you're making. Since you can't adjust it the way you do a compass, you just have to put more holes, depending on where you want going to make a circle. Let's say the certain the center of the circle is going to be here, so I put my pin end to hold my compass. Then I take my pencil, perhaps a little too big for the piece of paper. Look at that. It's an amazing circle. And here is my center. So if I wanted to make a design, I'll divide the circle in half by passing it through the center of the circle. This time I'll put and I could lift it up. Line the needles with the point I just made. This is going to go through the center of my circles. E can do the same thing on the other side. The point of this was that you don't have to have a metal compass. You don't have toe have, ah, plastic template. You can make your own. Here's your 60 degree angle, and here is your compass, and that can be made out of any piece of paper anywhere without a ruler without a compass. 5. Fold Your Paper Strip: This is arches, Watercolor paper. It feels like it's 1 £40 and what I do is I've made a template. This is out of card stock. This is an equal lateral triangle. Now on equal lateral triangle is a triangle with three equal sides. This side is the same length as this side is the same length is this side. It also has three equal angles. This is 60 degrees. This is 60 degrees. This is 60 degrees. Now there are templates for triangles. Sometimes I think I forget. And I think Oh, this is an equilateral triangle. It is not because these two sides are equal, but these two sides are shorter than this side. This is a 90 degree angle and these two are 45 degree angles. This triangle is totally useless to me for making lexicons. This has a 90 degree that's a right angle and it has a 30 degree angle and a 60 degree angle. Now what we want is we want to try flex a Gone, which is made up of equal lateral triangles adjacent one another thes all have to equal the same angle. And these distances these lengths have to be the same. So I've made templates. This is a small template so that I can take it with me when I traveled. I don't pack this in my suitcase. Besides, it's just easy now. It does not have to be the height of the strip. It can easily be more than the height of the Strip as long as you remember that you need a 60 degree angle. So the reason I like it this way is that I can start right at this end. And this has to be precise or you'll have a a lexicon that doesn't work very well from the point the very, very point you draw a line, which is this is 60 degrees there now with a pair of scissors carefully and accurately cut along your pencil. Then what I do because they don't want to draw pencil lines. Then I will put my metal ruler make sure I'm lined up. Hold your ruler down very tightly and bold your paper up against the ruler. Okay, Now, this is where real precision comes in full. That so that's really straight. And it's gonna want to bend a little bit if you use this heavier paper. This is really easy to do with regular copy paper. First, I used my thumb so that I'm not cracking the paper and then I will use either a bone folder that you use for bookmaking or for years I used a Sharpie, the end of a big Sharpie, and I like to fold it both ways. At this point, you can wait till the end to fold it both ways. But whatever I can do to keep it in line, there's a good idea. Now I have a new edge, and with this edge I can fold it up the same way. Right now I have two triangles. We're gonna end up with 10 triangles. So now we have another edge on this edge. We do the same thing. I'm showing you this on thicker paper because it's fun to paint on thicker paper and I want you to see that it is. It just takes more patients in time on the thicker paper because you have to be gentle with it, not to crack it and needs a little bit more coaxing. See how that's perfectly in line and that's perfectly in line. That's what you want. And you want to take the time that it takes to be accurate like that. If you're in a rush, you're going to crease the paper in slightly the wrong place, and then you'll end up a little wonky. 123 I'm gonna do this all the way down. I'll put on a little bit of music because you don't need to hear me talk all the way through, and I'll just speed this up in the video. - 123456789 10 11. Well, Oh, my All right. So this is a lot longer than I needed it to be. That's 123456789 10. All right, so I guess I just had this strip cut. You know what? I think I was making an accordion book out of these strips and not try flexible. Okay, Not a big deal. Glad I counted them. Okay, so now we're ready to fold it 6. Fold Your Flexagon: to fold it. I'll go through this a couple of times. You hold it this way so that the angle is there. You fold this down to the back, okay? To the back. Then you fold that up that up. But you slip it over like that. I'll do that again. Hold it so that the first triangle is pointed up. The second triangle is pointed down. They're trying, was pointed up at the third triangle. You bend your strip back behind the three triangles and now you count 123 and you bend it up. So now you have a hexagon with the extra triangle. Now what you want to dio is you want to take is diamond shaped two triangles. Make a diamond, take the diamond shape and put it in front of your first triangle. This is your first triangle to take your diamond, your last two triangles which make a diamond and put it in front of your first triangle. Now here is your flat turn. Your flex have gone over and you will tape this side of your flap to this side of your triangle. That's very important that you take the right the correct sides together. Show you again. 123 Fold down behind. 123 Fold up behind You want you can say full this. Over. Flip this down. Bold. This back. Flip that over. Okay, I'll do that again. 123 Down. 123 Up Fold. First triangle over. Fold the back. Diamond down fold first triangle back and fold the diamond Back up Now You're flap is on this side. Turn it over And we're going to take this flap to this triangle, making sure not to get tape anywhere else. When I looked back at the film before I taped together, I saw that you couldn't really see the triangles because it's white paper. So I've gone back, and I drew some dotted black lines on one side where the folds are and some smaller brown. I don't know. You can tell the difference between the brown in the black on the other side, so we'll do it again. Okay. 123 Fold behind. 123 Now I'm counting the same upper 11 Okay. 123 Old behind. 123 Bold behind. Now you can fold the first run back up over the one next to it. This is a diamond in the back. Your last two triangles together make a diamond. You conflict that down, flip your first triangle back over, and this goes back up, then this is gonna fold backwards. You flip it over, and we take this to this triangle. Now, when I make them realistically, I just go down, up, and then I go like that, Yeah, whatever works the best for you. So now we're going to take together. And even though you'll see these marks, I think it's just better that you saw exactly where the triangles are and you don't need to make these marks. I would not make those marks on your on your flex ago because then you're going to see them unless you want them as part of your pattern, then is perfectly fine. Okay, here we go. We're gonna take this down now. There are different kinds of double sided tape you can get in the dispenser, which may be easiest for you, or it can be paper paper backed on the paper backed. It also comes in several different varieties from different companies. You just have to test. I like to go as close to the edge as possible. So sometimes you know you can get really crazy about it. And you may find it's easier to use glue. When I do this in schools with the school kids, we do not use double sided tape were used the glue sticks. Then this. You see, reason I like to do this is that this is now the right angle. And if you want to put a little piece in the middle, it's a little excessive, but fine Back to where we started. 123 down 123 Up like that flips over. Sit down and you could do that whole taping thing down. I feel it. You want to line it up carefully when you bring your flap over? Okay, so I want to line it up pretty carefully. And of course, the triangles drawn help there, too. For me, Precedent. For right now your flex a Gone is ready to flip 7. Flip Your Flexagon: first I'll flip it for you and then I'll explain how to flip. Okay. You look this way. Kind of like a pen wielders open, closed, open, Closed, open Closed around around. Something on this side. Open closed, Open, close, Open Closed, open, Closed. So you've pinched together the two sides with the open section at the top, So it's a pinch Push. Push the op aside in and then peel. Peel it open from the top like an open flower. There's an open side Pinch, push, peel Pinch, push, peel Pinch, push, feel Pinch, push Cinch for steel Pinch, push, peel. Flip it over to see what it looks like. Now pinch, push, peel. All right, I'll show you one that's decorated in action. We have a yellow side Pinch, push, Feel a red side Now look at the yellow side. The red side Pinch, push, peel. We have a blue side. Now look at the red side, lucai. Pinch, push, peel. There's the blue read yellow, blue, red, yellow, blue, yellow, red, blue, yellow, Red, blue. This is one. Now it's just black and white, and this is really then this is newsprint paper. And this was so easy to fold this one I did live while sitting in a Japanese grocery store and San Francisco Pence push. He'll pinch push. He'll hence push appeal. Pinch, push, peel! And this this is made out of a paper bag. And this was done in the airport user air events outside the airport by the gates. I was at gate number 13. Or maybe is 1131 on three. No, I think was 13. See with the next one is. Oh, and this was the seat belt. Okay, seat belt fastening does that. You can make them out of anything. And there's some even tinier ones that I have someplace but seal. The different size is what I do is I make up blank flex a guns, and I pack a whole lot of blank ones. And then when I'm traveling, if I'm anywhere for any length of time, I'll save my paper bags for my shopping bags or something at all, and I'll make Mawr. It's really limitless, limitless possibilities. In the next lesson, I will show you how to start putting a basic design on it, and depending on your drawing skills, you can go to town with even I mean, here's one where it's not even symmetrical all the way around. 8. Create Your Design: I'm going to show you how to make a very basic design for the flex A gun. You can go as crazy as you want, making designs with intricate patterns. If you wish, I'm showing you a basic one so that you can easily make one of these with the child. I use the compass, put it in the middle and we'll start off by just making a circle. Now I'm going to flip this so that you see what happens with that circle. Okay, so now it's out here and you can make another circle. Let's make a smaller circle here. Now let's see what it looks like. Okay, so now we have circles of the small circle is here, and the larger circle is there. So let's do. One more will make will make this into, Ah, a lifesaver. Sorts. Let's see what that looks like. Good. So that will be one design. We're going to make three colors. We're going to make a yellow side, a red side and the blues. Let's go to another stuff and we'll do this a little bit differently. Let's mark a line a distance there, a distance there in a distance there and let's take a straight edge this time, instead of making a circle in the middle, will make a triangle. Let's see what that looks like. OK, so that's quite a bit different. Go back to our compass. Let's make a circle that connects the points. That was a little bit off. That's okay. Okay, So that could be another side. Pretty easy. Or let's make a little circle in the middle. Okay, so let's flip this. Now we have another side. What should we do with this side? That's go almost out to the end, but not quite. Look that and then let's make it smaller and let's see what another triangle is like Right. So there's my design. I'm gonna go ahead and paint it and I'll be back and show you how it looks Now. There are a lot of different ways you can go about painting it that will be up to you. You can just use your imagination. Be playful. Here's the finished flex gun. The yellow has two different shades of yellow. The blue has two different shades of blue and the red Where's the red? Well, the red is right there, and now there's the yellow blue Read Yeah, low, Yeah, low read, read. So there's the Flex ago 9. Creating Magic: the first classroom that I ever taught the flex organs and was in a very special wonderful school in Newark, New Jersey Thes were students who had not been able to succeed in the public school system . I was told later, making the giant flex A grown together was the first time that the entire class had cooperated, participated and been kind to one another throughout the entire experience. You can see by the smiles on their faces that they were so proud of what they did, and I was equally as proud of. Um, I went back and worked with these Children, some of them each year, because they were in my friend Shelly's classroom for several years as they progressed up in the grade level, and every year it was. It was such a treat. I did different projects with them, but this one was by far the most successful and satisfying project for all of us. They push the limits of sizes. When it came to making the flex ago, one of the students made the tiniest flex a gone that has ever been made in any of my classes and far tinier than one that I've made myself and the largest. This class also produced the largest lexicon. One of the students had asked me how large can flex a gun bait, And I said, Well, I don't really know. I don't think that there's limit And I said, If if we have one of those big rolls of paper that I often see in schools when I go in to teach there, we could try out a flex a gun with that And the teacher, my friend Shelly, said, Well, in the closet, I have one of those rolls of paper, So that's what we used. We got the roll of paper out. We used our math to figure out exactly how long we needed to be. We took it out into the hallway and rolled it out, and they used the the tiles, which we knew were 12 inches by 12 inches, and they counted the number of tiles multiplied out to figure out how far we had to unroll the paper and the flex. A gun was huge. You couldn't see in the pictures. It was really big, and I believe it was more than six feet in diameter. I don't recall now and it was actually flip herbal. It took us three or four, maybe even five people to flip it. But we did flip and it it It was remarkable. In the spring of 2019 I participated in the first annual Learning Festival in Swansea, South Wales. That meant that I was given the opportunity to go into several of the public schools and a couple of the wealth schools as well as a nursing home in Swansea. The classes I taught in the public schools in the Welsh schools were fourth grade classes, which is my favorite age for teaching in schools because kids begin to put everything they've learned together and all their experiences and start to have opinions of their own . But that is a perfect age to make sure that their creativity is alive and well. Way to go, fabulous. Thank you. I worked with only half a dozen residents in a small nursing home in Swansea. These individuals had for gotten most of what they learned in life and had for gotten how to do most things in life. They also had lost a little bit of interest in life. So when I showed them that Ah, flex A Gone had three sides, not just to. They thought I was a magician when I told them that I could teach them had it be a magician too. They were thrilled. All except one resident who never participated in any activities and refused to join us. At first he ended up being the most remarkable artist of Trife Lexicons. And at the end, he too, was smiling. Okay? Yes, all right. And then let's turn the circle You still be able to do Open it up here. Go. Will it transfer the circle? Oh, they're your and you've got your magics. Yes, one of the biggest surprises in the too. Well, schools where I talk was that the Children and faculty off sang all the time. Whatever they were doing, unless they were being taught a lesson at the time. They saying They saying while they worked, they say, While they studied, they saying, Well, they walked from class to class, the teachers saying in the teachers lounge everybody sang all the time. - Honey , G sorry. Every