How To Make A Protractor Using Cardboard?

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Many have asked us if they can make a protractor by cutting out cardboard? Although it is debatable that creating a measuring device from cardboard with its original accuracy, there are ways you can create a protractor using paper or cardboard.

How To Make A Protractor Using Cardboard? There are multiple ways; one of the easiest is to print out a protractor, cut it out and then cut out the cardboard in the shape of the protractor. You can also draw a protractor from scratch using a compass on the cardboard and cut it out later.

Cardboard protractors are great to keep as craft and use when color pens are used. Usually, a plastic protractor will stick some of the colors from the pen and smudge on white papers when used later. A cardboard paper is a better option when you need to measure the angle on your craft projects.

Making Protractor on a Cardboard

Method – 1 (6 Steps)

Step 1 – The easiest and the popular method is by printing out a protractor on a paper. You will be amazed to know that there is various website who provide printable protractors templates exclusively for this purpose.

Step 2 – Take a transparent paper and print out a protractor template. You could also use a cardstock paper; however, a transparent paper will make it easier for you to measure and cut strong corrugated cardboard which will be used to make your protractor.

Step 3 – Search online to download a large image of a protractor, preferable over 600 pixels. Make sure the image or the template is accurate and clear so that your protractor cut-out will also be precise.

Step 4 – Print the protractor image on cardstock or transparent paper. If you don’t have either, you can use the usual copier paper. Make sure the straight edges should be around 6 inches.

Step 5 – Cut out the printed protractor using scissors. Use a sharp paper cutter to cut out the center of the protractor.

Step 6 – Now, glue the protractor cut out on hard cardboard and cut-out the cardboard in the shape of the protractor. You can also mark its measurements using a pencil.

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Method – 2 (13 Steps)

Step 1: 

Get a white paper on which you will trace out a protractor using a compass.

Step 2:

Use a ruler to draw a horizontal line 6 inches long. You could also use the edge of the paper as the bottom edge of the protractor.

Step 3: 

Measure the line and mark a dot at the center of the line which should be 3 inches from the end of the line.

Step 4:

Now use a compass to draw a half circle joining end to end of the line in a half arc. The radius of the compass should be 3 inches. You could also draw a full circle if you want to create a spare protractor, in-case the first one gets damaged in the process.

Step 5:

To trace out the angle of the protractor, you have to use another paper. First of all get a square paper or create one using a ruler. Now fold the square paper exactly in half, joining both sides. For this, you can use an origami paper or cut-out a rectangular paper simply by folding it diagonally with the breath joining the length; then cut out the excess paper to make it a square.

Step 6:

Now, you can use the open square to trace a 90º angle on the drawn protractor. Align the edge of the square paper on the edge of the protractor and trace a right angle from the center of the protractor base.

Step 7:

Use the same square paper to trace out other angles. Fold the square paper diagonally to create a 45º angle. Place the triangle along the bottom edge of the protractor and draw a 45-degree line from the center of the base.

Step 8:

Now create a 60º angle by folding any corner of the square paper to the centerfold that joins the other side of the square. It will give you a triangular shape. In the resulting triangular piece, the smaller angle is 30º and the larger angle other than the right angle is 60º. Use this piece of paper to trace out both the angles on the protractor from the center, keep the base of the angle on the horizontal edge of the protractor.

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Step 9:

Mark 120º angle by using the 60º angle twice. Use the base of the angle on the line drawn for 60º angle and you get a 120º angle on your protractor.

Step 10:

Next, fold a new triangle with the right side of the square joining seamlessly with the largest edge of the first triangle. This will give you 15º and 45º. Trace the angle marks by keeping the base of the new triangle on the horizontal edge of the protractor.

Step 11:

Make the final fold of the remaining corner of the square to the edges meet to the base of the first folded triangle. This will give your 75º.

Step 12:

Combining some angles you can get 105º (60º + 45º), and 165º (75º + 75º + 15º). In the next step, trace out all the angle and join the lines from the center of the base.

Step 13:

Now, use a pair of scissors to cut out the protractor. You can then glue it on a cardboard or paper stock and cut out the board to get a working protractor.

Method – 3 (7 Steps)

This method doesn’t involve cutting or gluing any paper; however, cardboard cannot be used for this project. A foldable paper stock can be made to work out. This is what many call a pocket protractor, where the angles are created simply by folding paper strategically.

Step 1:

Take a piece of white rectangular paper and use a ruler to cut it in a square. Or you can simply fold the smallest edge to the largest edge and cut the remaining paper to get a square. But, to avoid human error, it is advised to use a ruler to cut out a square.

Step 2:

Next fold the paper in half which will create a crease in the middle of the paper; then unfold it. You have to make sure that the edges align perfectly as the angle you will create largely depends on the accuracy of your folds.

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Step 3:

Take the upper right corner and fold it to meet at the center fold or the crease. This should create a triangle with one corner touching the crease, another on the upper left and the third on the right edge of the square. The corner will be nearly ⅔ away from the center crease. The triangle will have a 30° angle, a 60° angle, and a 90° angle.

Step 4:

Now fold the lower right corner to overlap the first triangle. The remaining right edge of the square will align with the base edge of the first triangle. This will give you another 30°,60°,90° triangle.

Step 5:

Now unfold the second triangle and make the third triangle. Fold the bottom left corner up and fold it till the left side of the square paper meets the edge of the first triangle. Then fold the second triangle overlapping the two other triangles.

Step 6:

Next, label the angles on the pocket protractor you have created. The third triangle will give you 15° and 45° angle. So, in total, you have the measurement of the following angle: 15°, 30°, 45°, 60°, 90° angle.

Step 7:

You can use this protractor to measure other angles 75°, 105°, 165° others by adding up different angles.


Many crafters try to create a disposable protractor for their projects. The actual protractor usually loses its edge over prolonged use and makes a mess when color pens or markers are used, which leave a trace of color on the protractor, which smudges the color all over the crafts when used later. Many engineers also use the pocket protractor when they have to measure an angle and don’t have the tools in hand. Learning this craft will save you multiple times in the future; You don’t have to carry your protractor everywhere anymore, as you can create one simply by folding papers. These crafts are easy to make but have high value and importance compared to other craft projects.

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