So far I’ve only done crafty green reviews of books, everything from Weekend Sewing to the Crafty Chica. But, and perhaps this is only because our public library is AWESOME and lets me check out feature DVDs and all the new computer games and order pretty much every single obscure crafts book that I ask them for, I also enjoy trying out the large number of crafty software programs that exist. Some of these are good, and some are crappy.
The Form Wild software series is good.
The Form Wild series is a collection of CD software, and each CD contains a collection of three-dimensional animal cut-outs. The files pull up as Adobe Acrobat Reader files, and you can save them to your computer so that you don’t have to reinsert the CD each time you want to use the files.
The cut-outs look like very realistic animal illustrations, with cutting and folding guides and additional instructions for construction in a separate Adobe Reader file. To make the animals, you print them on cardstock (or some creative material, perhaps?), and then cut and fold and glue where instructed. The complexity varies quite a bit, with the tropical fish, for instance, being very easy, and the birds being more complicated, etc.
Although there aren’t any digital modifications that you can make to an Adobe Acrobat Reader file, thus making computer alterations of your animal images impossible, the program is still super-crafty for two reasons: 1) the variety of animals depicted is immense, from butterflies and insects to farm animals and endangered species and dinosaurs, and 2) although I’ve only printed these out on my 8.5”x11” printer, the software maker claims that you can print these images out at whatever size you’d like without sacrificing detail. To prove it, they have a photo on their web site of some huge Form Wild bird cut-outs hanging from the ceiling of a shopping mall somewhere.
The greenness of the program comes from the idea that you can print these animals on whatever eco-friendly material you desire, as long as it’s sturdy enough to support the folds. My girls and I make these with new cardstock and on the backs of used paper to later glue to cardboard, but I could see printing these onto computer tattoo paper and then adhering them to recycled plastics, or printing them on fabric then you then stiffen with spray starch. I will say, however, that a LOT of the little cardstock animals that I make with my girls have gotten inadvertently crushed by said little girls, or perhaps by a momma stumbling across the carpet in the middle of the night, thus requiring the creation of even more animals. So they’re not quite sturdy enough to stand up to a long life with a three- and five-year-old, but as part of a craft project or art installation, or a toy for an older child? I’d recommend it.