Create a foldable 3D replica of yourself

Like all great ideas, the concept behind Foldables seems ridiculously simple. It's a web-driven service where you can create your own character, choosing from a range of eyes, lips, hair, clothes, and so on, to create a likeness of yourself, a friend or anyone else.

Once purchased (for $11.99) the character is created using a "secret blend of matt laminate cardboard and high-grade inks" and sent out as a flat pack.

Design your Foldables character online using a range of carefully selected features...

Only launched a month or so ago, it's been a huge success and represents the culmination of many weeks’ work by the team at Mint Digital. It began in March 2012 as a kind of 'What if...?' idea, and a prototype was soon up and running. However, creating the thousands of features needed to produce individual characters would need funding, so the team turned to Kickstarter for help - and ended up with 1000 per cent of the money that they had asked for.

...Then wait for your cardboard pal to arrive in the post ready to assemble...

"Aside from the site, where the complexity lies in the picker tool and our hundreds of assets, we found a steep learning curve when developing the template that die-cuts and scores the card," says Richard Ling, co-founder of Mint. "We had to go through many versions before we got to a point that we were completely happy with."

...Then fold it up to create your tiny papercraft friend!

The work was worth it though, as Ling says feedback has been great. "It's fun. I don’t know, maybe it's the sense of recognition - seeing a tiny version of someone, mixed with a sense of nostalgia, like when you're a kid with new awesome toy."

This interview was originally published in Computer Arts issue 208.

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