Skip to main content

The making of a giant imaginary shark

By Courtney Ingle | 30 August 2021

Children's sketches of a mouth with teeth on yellow paper, with blue paper on top with an image of a smiley face and writing 'shark like teeth': for the Great and Grand Rumpus project

Sketch of shark tooth idea

This idea came from Tim and Elizabeth, both 5 years old, during a previous iteration of the State Library program, The Great and Grand Rumpus. The children were talking about Elizabeth’s wiggly tooth, as it was like a trapdoor. Working together as a group of students, we connected this idea to a shark’s mouth, and so the idea was born.

Moving onto the design and fabrication stages, State Library staff and community members worked to design the shark and create a large-scale structure that is sturdy and of high quality. The team established a fabrication process to create square beams out of large cardboard sheets as the key internal structural component. Cardboard is easily available, low cost, light, easy to assemble and can be turned into strong right-angle or adjustable corner joints. By working on cardboard joints, a foundation for a ‘skeleton’ was formed, which was then built upon in gradual pieces, angle joints for sturdiness (+ a lot of glue!), and ‘skinned’ with detail, such as the scales.

Structure of a shark built of cardboard being built

Our resident intern Peter Lim re-worked the design to be fabricated through use of a CNC machine, which is accessible at The Edge’s Fabrication Lab. For the scale elements, we tested uses of corrugated cardboard, alongside flat cardboard and the speed of a CNC versus a laser cutter. This iterative process allowed experimentation and supported the development of both the structure and aesthetic of the shark.

Over recent Saturday’s Peter and our making crew has been working on the shark – adding beams, scales and contributing to bringing this fun, imaginary, child-like idea to life.

If you’re interested in getting involved in this creative project, join us for The Making of the Great and Grand Rumpus, Saturday’s from 2pm.


Your email address will not be published.

We welcome relevant, respectful comments.

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.
We also welcome direct feedback via Contact Us.
You may also want to ask our librarians.