My Cardboard Whopperplate

I made a Whopperplate.

Out of cardboard, tape, glue, and two pencils.

Yep:

Cardboard whopperplate, top

Cardboard whopperplate, top

A whopperplate is a tool used to teach pointed-pen techniques on the blackboard. Instead of the two pencils shown, you would attach chalk. Instead of using a projector or having the students gather around your table to watch, you would draw on the blackboard. The more pressure you apply to the whopperplate’s tips, the farther apart the tips move, simulating the effect of a pointed pen nib on a much larger scale.

I read a post in https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/Ornamental_Penmanship/info (Sept. 25, 2015, 2:37pm) that a calligrapher was looking for one. I looked at a picture of a real whopperplate and thought it would make a nice project. I made in about a half hour.

The results with my tool: shaky at best.

Shaky whopperplate result

Shaky whopperplate result

That’s because the cardboard wasn’t stiff enough to hold the points firmly in place, so it wobbled. But the design theory is sound. No doubt about it; it needs to be sheet metal, and I know several places that carry it. Maybe I’ll try that next when I have time.

This version is composed of four pieces of cardboard. Two 11″ long pieces, then a smaller piece that is folded into a triangle and tucked in to hold the long pieces at right angles to each other, and a piece (can’t be seen in these photos) that allow the flat part spanning the two long pieces to stay in one place. Then tape around the piece to hold it securely.

The underside of the tool:

Cardboard whopperplate, bottom

Cardboard whopperplate, bottom

The tool in use, points together:

Whopperplate, points touching.

Whopperplate, points touching.

The tool in use, pressure applied, forcing the points apart:

Whopperplate, points apart

Whopperplate, points apart

I’ll have to bring it to a teacher’s class to try it out with chalk! It might work with a steady hand, but sheet metal will be better.

UPDATE: It doesn’t work with chalk, You have to hold the stick of chalk and press with a firm hand to make a mark. The cardboard is too light of a touch, flexing too easily to make a mark. That’s why the Whopperplates out there are made of metal. I probably couldn’t use markers in my version either; if you hold it up with heavy markers sticking out, gravity would cause them to sag apart. I don’t think it would work with brush pens either, because the points would squish before the tines separated. This project is a dead end. I have no tools for metal-working.

About Steve Husting

Steve Husting is a mild webmaster by day and fearless writer by night. He is deaf, loves making calligraphy, hiking, terrific movies, and making the Bible's message clear to his readers. His devotionals are regularly published in Daily Devotionals for the Deaf, and his latest apps are sold in the iTunes App Store. His self-published Christian and calligraphy books are on lulu.com/spotlight/stevehusting
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One Response to My Cardboard Whopperplate

  1. Anonymous says:

    Just found your blog and love your calligraphy and your Cardboard Whopperplate idea! Always love making and playing with new “toys”! Just started C. ten years ago, but need to practice more!

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