I went to Home Depot in search for a potted herb. They sadly did not have any so I continued my journey to Trader Joe’s where they had a small assortment. I chose a basil plant because it looked healthy and sturdy.
For constructing the box corners, I wanted to start with a basic method. Using duck tape, I connected three cardboard panels
For my second corner experiment, I was inspired by the foam square tiles often found in day cares. Instead of using three panels, I folded a longer piece of cardboard so I only needed two pieces to fit together. Like a puzzle, the notches fit together creating a pretty sturdy grip between the pieces of cardboard.
For my third experiment, I continued using only two pieces. On the bottom panel, I cut two tabs on both sides. Then, on the opposite piece of cardboard, I cut four slits into the cardboard. The tabs were able to slide into the slits. While this method was pretty simple, I think I need to cut better holes into the cardboard so that the tabs fit better and are less likely to fall out.
For my final experiment, I attempted to sew the cardboard pieces together. This worked pretty well to keep the pieces together. The one thing I think I need to adjust is tightening the string so that the panels wont be able to move around as much.
To build a model of my potted herb, I started by sketching out what shapes to make and how I could assemble the pieces.
For the base, I cut out three panels with slits with an olaf knife and interlocked them together. Then, I cut out two circles for the top and bottom of the panels. I taped the circles to the panels to keep them in place.
Next, I cut out basil-shaped silouettes to mimic my herb. I cut small circles into the roof of the cylinder and placed the stems of the plant shapes through the openings. I folded the base of the stem under the circle platform and placed tape over the stem to secure it to the base. I then added more tape around the opening for more support.
While my model and the actual plant have similar weights, my model was a little lighter. To finish my model, I went out and found a small rock which I taped to the base. This helped make the weight more realistic.
One thing I may consider adjusting with my model is making the base circle smaller so it is more realistic to a flower pot.
I decided my plant needed to be more realistic. I started by shrinking the bottom circle and adding paneling to the sides of the base. This shape reflects the shape of the basil pot better.
Then I stripped down cardboard into just two layers. I made skinny strips which I wrapped in tape. I cut out leaf shapes from the third layer of the cardboard that I had left over. The leaves were then connected to the tops of the stems. I went back and taped more leaves to the stems to add more volume to the plant and better reflect the shape of the basil.
Similar to the first attempt, I made slits in the cardboard which I slid the stems into. I also put the rock in the pot to make the cardboard plant heavier.
I made a list of charcteristics of the plant that are important when considering building a carrier. The basil has delicate stems and leaves, a sturdy base (the pot), lots of air space between leave sand stems, and some of the stems lean out and over from the pot. I found these to be the most important characteristics that I need to think of for my design so that the plant stays safe.
To begin building a carrier, I sketched out a couple of ideas I thought could work to hold the basil and prevent it from getting damaged. My first idea was based off of a water bottle holder where the sides come over the plant and connect with a handle. The second idea was to have two pieces. The top piece would be placed over the plant and when placed somewhere, the top could then be used as a stand.
I wanted to experiment with how I could connect the cardboard with a handle. I cut out a long piece of cardboard and folded it twice. I then cut a long strip into one side and two holes in the other side. The strip could then be used to weave through the two holes and keep the handle secure. What I like about this idea is that the whole thing is one solid piece of cardboard. While my plan was to add sides to the bottom, I was pleasantly surprised that the cardboard presses against the plant and keeps it in place (but that could be a bad thing, too).
To make the base piece of the second model, I cut out a long piece of cardboard (12" x 4"), making sure that the flutes were going up and down with the four inch height. I then made six two inch wide panels by making slits in the cardboard, but I did not cut all the way through. I made a horizontal slit near the bottom of each panel. Then, I cut angles into the bottom to make a trapezoid shape. I folded the panels into a hexagon shape and taped the two sides together. The bottom flaps could then be pushed inward, making a bowl.
For the top piece, I cut out a circle the same size as the base of the plant. I then cut long strips to connect to the circle so that the plant would still have space to move and breath in between the top circle and the base. For the strips, I removed two layers from the tips so that I could slide the one cardboard layer through the slit in the circle. To keep them in place, I placed a piece of tape over the flap. Following a similar process for the pot, I cut out a strip of cardboard and made a skinny hexagon with six panels. I then taped the three long strips to the hexagon. The one problem I ran into is that it is difficult to put the closed hexagon over the plant so I left the hexagon open so that you can put it on the plant, similar to a jacket. Now, I just need to find a way to make the hexagon connect after putting the piece over the plant so that it wont fall off.
I rebuilt the base of the second model.This time, I cut out tabs on the rim of the pot and made them just one layer of the cardboard so they can easily slide through slits in the cardboard.
For the top piece, I made the base flat so there is more of a platform and cut slits into both the base and the top hexagon. I made the three strips have thin tabs on both ends so I could slide them through the slits on both the top and bottom pieces and tape them in to place.
I realized that it would be hard to put the hexagon base silhouette shape over the plant so I cut puzzle-like indents in the bottom so the two sides can separate and easily envelop the plant. Then, when you go to connect the top piece to the bottom pot, the pieces interlock and are held in place with help from the tabs on the pot.
I also wanted the carrier to be easily carried so I attatched a handle. I believe it makes it seem a little bulky so I will probably adjust the width or size of the strip. On the other hand, it does make it more convient to carry and transport.
I revisited this idea, too. I did not change too much, but I added sides to add support and keep the plant from accidently sliding out. I used tabs and slits to keep the pieces in place. I also added slits where the lip of the pot would meet the cardboard. I thought it would help keep the plant in place, but it caused one side of the carrier to lean which makes it seem unstable.
When reviewing my carrier, I found that it was functional, but it was not super intuitive, and hard to get the plant in and out of the carrier. Plus, there was not much of a surprise element.
For the next step in my process, I wanted to use no adhesive, have it more descriptive of what it is holding, have the carrier be more intuitive, and make it have more of a surprise element to it.
I sketched out some ideas, and my favorite was a four sided carrier with cut outs of leaves in the cardboard. This way the plant can still breath and you can tell what the carrier is holding, but there is still pleasure in opening the package. Plus, this idea allows me to use only one piece of cardboard and doesn't need adhesive if I use tabs.
For my first attempt, I measured out a 3"x3" square and drew out two stacked trapezoids on each side. I cut tabs into the sides of the base trapezoids and linked the four sides together. For two sides, I cut leaf shapes into them and for the other two sides, I just cut a trapezoid outline into them. I decided I need to redo this process. I need to make the sides longer and make the inclines of the trapezoid sides steeper. I wanted all the sides to have leaf shapes, instead of just two. I also needed more space at the top for handles.
For part two, I measured out a 29" x 29" square on a sheet of cardboard. Then, I put a 3"x 3" square in the middle. I measured three trapezoid off of each side. In the beginning, I made sure to keep a border to my outline so I could make tabs. The horizontal lines that separate each trapezoid/rectangle indicate where to fold the cardboard. I used the bone folder to help crease the cardboard. I cut out tabs for the first and second layer of trapezoids closest to the center. I reused the same method I used in the past where I cut a slit into the opposite piece of cardboard and looped a one-layer tab through.
I then cut leaf shapes into the sides. I made the leaves bigger than my first attempt so then it was smoother with the blade. I cut off the top trapezoid on two sides opposite of each other because there was no space for them. For the sides that I kept, I measured out holes on the top rectangles that would fit my hand. I cut out three sides of the hole and folded the inside tab down. On one handle tab, I cut a small tab that I folded upward and cut a slit in the opposite handle tab. This way they could be fitted together and stay in place when a hand isn’t holding the carrier.
I’m really happy with how this model turned out. The leaf shapes make it more apparent that the carrier is intended for plants. It is less confusing to use and more intuitive. It has to be opened like a gift, and it is more exciting than my previous model. It does not require any adhesive and is only one piece of cardboard. One thing that I would like to improve is making the rectangle space, where the handles are, longer so that when you put the two handles together, it does not feel like your pulling on the structure, which could ultimately pull a tab out of place.
During the peer reviews, people liked the leaf cutouts and the aesthetic of the carrier. They believed it reflected what it was supposed to hold. They suggested fixing the handles so they are more straightforward to the user and fit better together. They also suggested being able to open up the carrier so the plant can be easily accessed, instead of trying to reach your hand in the top of the carrier and violating the basil.
For my new model, I stuck with a similar method as before. I adjusted the handles and the tabs on the middle panels. I first extended all the sides by an inch. This allows more space for the handles to be able to meet. For the handles, I kept the tab on one of the handles, but not the other. This lets the one tab fold over into the other hole so it is more functional, more intuitive, and the handles collapse together, instead of there being a gap.
Then, I changed the tabs in the middle panel because, before, it was sealed on all the sides so you could only access the plant from the top of the carrier. This previous version was difficult because people did not want to damage the plant and force their hand between the basil and the cardboard. With the new three finger tabs, you are able to open the sides, allowing you to easily access the plant and put it in or take it out without risking injuring the plant.
A small change I made was rounding the tabs in the base of the carrier. This made it a little easier to put the tabs through the cardboard, making the edges a little more clean and the cardboard remained sturdy.
There is no adhesive, and the carrier is one sheet of cardboard.
It was sugested to me that the pot of the plant be more accessible, meaning I should make the base of the carrier open, too. I also was advised to adjust my three prong tabs. I decided to make two opposing sides have four half circles with a hole in the middle. Then the other sides could have tabs that could snuggly fit into the holes. This would then allow the plant to be easily accessed all the way down to the pot. It also got rid of the thin tabs so the user will not have to worry about shimmying the thin layer through the slit.
I experimented with the tab and hole idea. It worked pretty well, except I had to make sure the tab was big enough for the hole so that friction would help hold it in place.
I also experimented with how the handle could stay in place better. I decided to make a tab from a flap on one side. I then made a thick slit on the opposite side below the handle that the tab could fit into. This worked better than my previous flap.
I followed a similar process to what I did in my previous model except I adjusted the tabs and half circles and handles.
I’m pretty happy with the end result. The tabs with the holes worked pretty well. There are two that are a little loose so it is important to make the tabs thicker. The handle works better than the previous models, too.
The plant can be accessed from all sides, it is aesthetically pleasing, the carrier reflects what it’s holding, it is made of one piece of cardboard, and there is no adhesive. When the carrier opens all the way, it also somewhat reflects a plant blooming as it surrounds the basil on all sides.
I enjoyed to see the evolution of models and how my ideas changed over the course of the project.