Tuesday, May 3, 2011

DIY Constructive Triangles

My homemade constructive triangles have been popping up in photos of our school days lately. I made these in April of 2010 while our former home was for sale and our school room dismantled. They only made it on to our shelves recently.

These turned out really nicely so I thought it was only fair that I should share how I made them. I used the templates that are available for free here at JMJ Publishing. The templates are available for all five sets and for the boxes.

I made these out of chipboard. I cut them on a self-healing mat using the templates, a straight-edge, and a utility knife. I spray painted them and then drew the black lines with the straight-edge and a permanent marker. When I hold them in my hand they are indistinguishable to me from wood. My husband did not believe me when I told them they were made out of a type of cardboard.

As always when spray-painting, it is best to do several light coats rather than one or two heavy coats. If you soak the chipboard, it will warp. Even with the light coats, many of mine were temporarily warped as they dried. I was thrilled when they were flat again when completely dry.

The hardest part was surprisingly drawing on the black lines. There is something in the chemical makeup of a black permanent marker that melts the spray paint. I just worked as quickly as I could and gave the marker and the triangles a rest every once in a while. It might be better to use a straight-edge or painter's tape with black paint and a brush.

You can actually make the boxes out of chipboard too! At the time I made mine, there were no available templates for the boxes. The templates that are available now look nearly identical to what I concocted. I found chip clips to be helpful as the glue dried. If you are a real do-it-yourselfer you could use clamps.

My lid "innovation" is something you won't find on the templates. Rather than a lid with sides, I designed a lid that just sets on top. I made it in two pieces so that a smaller piece could sit under a larger one and keep the lid from sliding off sideways. This is much easier than gluing and clamping.

I only made my own box for the triangular and hexagonal boxes. I found that boxes from boxed chocolates served well for the rectangular box.

These are prime DIY-fodder for Montessori at home. While easy to make, they are nearly $80 if you buy them through a discount supplier. I did not make the "three packets of triangle cards" (Gettman, 89) containing the many blue triangles. There were 60 triangles to be made for that box and it is usually available separately for as little as $8.00.

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  1. Cool stuff. I was hoping you'd post about these. I especially like your boxes.

  2. Yeah! I am so glad that you posted about this! It was one of the works that I just couldnt seem to spend the money on! Now I can just make it! Thanks!

  3. Thank you for sharing your ideas of making your boxes ;-) They look so nice ;-). I'm afraid I will have to make also the blue triangle set. Here in Poland these cost more than 30$ ;-(
    Have a beautiful week

  4. These are great! Where do you buy chipboard?

  5. I also came to ask where do you buy the chipboard? Did it come in very large sheets?

  6. Chipboard is available at crafts stores (such as Michaels) and scrapbook stores. Because the package I bought was intended for scrapbooking it came in 12x12.

  7. I loved hearing how you made these from chipboard ... very creative and they turned out great! I featured your photo and post in my DIY Constructive Triangles post at http://livingmontessorinow.com/2012/10/29/montessori-monday-diy-constructive-triangles/

  8. I am receiving broken link at JM publising, can you check?

    1. It is now https://www.tackleboxmontessori.com/. I don' t know where the file is on the new site for the constructive triangles. You could perhaps contact the site owner there. Good luck!