Friday, September 28, 2018

DIY steps using Cardboard for Navaratri Golu

Navaratri - the Indian festival about which I have already shared in detail two years ago. It is basically a festival which involves the display of a variety of dolls depicting the Hindu culture. You can read more about this festival in the above-linked post. Usually the dolls are displayed in steps. The steps are usually wood in olden days but these days the steps come in steel as well as wood and also in many homes they make the steps with the things(tables, suitcases, boxes, etc) they already have at home. The dolls used for display are clay dolls which are usually heavy but nowadays we get paper-mache dolls, wooden dolls which are less in weight.

Navaratri has always been one of my favorite festivals since childhood days as I love arranging the dolls and building my own display of parks and stuff in the golu. As I don't want to totally avoid celebrating this festival due to the space constraint in the apartment we live I wanted to keep the tradition alive by celebrating it in my way of displaying golu in small size. So, I started collecting the dolls for my mini golu from various shops and wherever I go.  (My aunt is one of the biggest help in collecting most of these dolls as she sourced these for me and still looks for mini dolls wherever she goes.)I made my own cardboard steps for displaying this and I posted it in my previous post. Many people asked me how I did that and to post detailed DIY. The steps I made previously requires tape to secure and the repeated use of tape may damage the cardboard as years pass by. So, I wanted to make steps that don't involve tape and ended up with this idea that I am sharing here. It is not a perfect solution but I managed to make it with some adjustments here and there. If you have any suggestions to make it easier, please share them in the comments below. Now to the steps.

Materials used:
Utility knife

Things to cut for the steps:

Step 1: Cut a rectangle by deciding the width and height based on the formula below.

The width of the rectangle = Number of steps X (width of the steps + 0.25")  

The width of my rectangle  =  7 x (3" + 0.25")
                                            =  7 x 3.25"
                                            =  22.75"

The 0.25" is for the slit to lock the steps in and the width of the steps is based on the base width of the dolls you are going to display. I decided 3" as the width of the steps as the dolls I own are tiny.

The height of the rectangle =  (Number of steps X Height of one step) + Height of one step 

The Height of my rectangle =  (7 x 4") + 4"
                                             =  28" + 4"
                                             =  32"

Step 2: Draw the steps as shown below with the measurements from the previous step with a pencil and cut along the lines with the utility knife.

First, mark the height of a single step and then start drawing each step with the width and height measured. In my case, it is 4"(height of a single step) and then 3.25" for the width and 4" for the height of each step. Repeat this based on the number of steps. I repeated it 7 times as I calculated the measurements for 7 steps. 

Now, you will have two steps board for each side. Trim 0.25" on the side for both the steps as you don't need(slit) that for the first step. Repeat this step twice if you have thin cardboard and glue the pieces together to make it stronger. 

Step 3: Draw and cut the slits to lock the steps. 

From the top left, measure 1.5" and cut a slot for 1". Then from the second step, measure 0.5" in length from the starting of the step and cut 0.25" width slot for inserting the steps as shown.

At the bottom, measure 1.5" in and cut 1" slot with 0.15"(approx) width. The side steps are ready now.

Step 4: Let's make a lock for the side steps to prevent it from moving. For this, measure and cut 17.5" width and 4" height of a cardboard. Score(Use a knife and slightly cut the cardboard in a way that only the top portion is cut) two lines widthwise (as shown below) which are 1" from the edge. Then make 4 slits which are 1" from the corner(lengthwise) and 0.75" in height. Now the lock board is done.

Step 5: Make the top step. For this measure, 17.5" width of a cardboard and 10" height of the cardboard. Score three lines in the widths as shown below. You can vary the width and height of the step depending upon your need.

Step 6: Make the bottom step. For this measure, 17.5" width and 10" in height and score lines as shown in the picture below. 

Step 7: Make the other steps. For this measure 17.5" in width and 8" in height. Score the lines as shown below. Repeat this depending on the steps you need. Now the cutting part of the steps is done. 

Assembling the steps:

Take the lock board you made in step 4 and connect the two sides steps in the respective slots. This makes the side steps stand on its own and prevent it from moving. The cardboard I used here lost the glue in the inner parts so I couldn't bend the board properly along the scored lines but it should be straight for you and not wonky looking like mine. 

Attach the bottom step. Insert the step in the 1" slit first and then fold along to insert into the 0.5"slit on the step.

Insert the next step so that the bottom step stays snug. You can also use a binder clip to secure the step so that it doesn't come off. For this purpose, I think I should have made the slit as 1" in each step instead of 0.5" depth so that it doesn't come off easily. (Note this point when you are making) Now the bottom step is done. In the same way, insert all other steps. 

Now insert the next step into the slit and use a binder clip to secure the steps together and fold along the lines and repeat. 

For the top step, insert the step into the slit and then fold along to insert the step into the 1" slit at the back to complete the setup. 

This is how the steps look from the back.
I have done my best to describe the process I followed to make this steps. I did this with lots of trials and errors. As I already mentioned, if you feel something can be modified do mention them in the comments below. I have mentioned my afterthoughts in some places so I suggest you read the post completely if you are going to try this project.

If you use a thicker cardboard(One with double corrugated layers) for this project you will get a better stability. I doubled the cardboard for the side steps as I didn't find a double corrugated cardboard. 

If you think this takes a lot of time, you can simply cut the side steps without slits and two-fold cardboard step with just width and height for other steps. You can use some kind of tape to secure them as I did for my previous year golu. (Shown below). As I have already mentioned, this cardboard steps is suitable only for paper-mache dolls or wooden dolls which are not heavier like clay dolls. 

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