Create designs of paper-made items for play, communication, or surprise!

You Fab is an international design competition and this year—for You Fab’s second year—we’re asking creators from all around the world to submit designs for items using a laser cutter and made with paper. Paper is one of those everyday essentials. It’s a familiar household item throughout the world and has long been used to record the many milestones of people’s lives. This competition brings together such a familiar and natural material as paper with the revolutionary art of digital fabrication. We hope that you will be inspired to enter!

Calling for entries in the three categories of paper toys, greeting cards, and party wear/accessories!

The competition focuses on three situations in our lives where people and paper come together—”Play”, “Communication”, and “Surprises”—and calls for laser-cut paper design ideas in the categories of toys, greeting cards, and party wear/accessories. That’s pretty explanatory, but you’re probably wondering what a laser cutter is and what you can do with it. Well, don’t worry! Even those who have never seen a laser cutter before can enter. Just check out the section below titled “What can you do with a laser cutter?” and we are sure you’ll find some inspiration for your entry.

*Fab=Means to create using digital fabrication tools such as laser cutters. For more details, click here

What can you do with a laser cutter?


Materials can be cut or engraved with a laser cutter according to digital design data.

1. Engraving

The photo above shows an orange piece of paper under a white piece of paper that has the design engraved into it using the laser cutter. The depth at which the design is engraved varies according to the strength of the laser. The example above shows how the laser strength used for the top designs is less than the bottom designs, and the strength increases from top to bottom.

2. Cutting

This is an example of paper cut with a laser cutter. This design, despite being less than 1mm in width in some places, can be replicated with precision using the laser cutter. This is something that would be impossible to do with scissors or an electric saw.

Competition Overview

Competition name

You Fab 2013

Competition Period

May 15th, 2013 to July 15th 24:00 (+0900 Japan Time)

Design specifications

Design ideas using paper and a laser cutter (Any type of paper is ok—including a single sheet of paper, a paperback book, or even cardboard).

Category A: Toys (“Play”)

Paper comes in a wide variety of colors and textures and is capable of directly stimulating our visual and tactile senses. This category calls for paper toy designs made with digital fabrication tools that enable highly detailed work, combined with conventional methods of working with paper such as cutting, pasting or layering.

Category B: Greeting Cards (“Communication”)

People have long used paper to communicate with each other—such as sharing words of gratitude and congratulations as well as to pass down knowledge from one generation to the next. This category calls for designs for greeting cards that spur on communication, not only with the messages written on them but also with the paper itself.

Category C: Party wear/accessories made with paper (“Surprise”)

Design a new use for paper that we’ve never imagined before! This category calls for unique designs for party wear or accessories such as a recyclable party outfit or accessories that can be folded up.

About the Prizes

Grand prize

One entry per category


Prize money: 50,000 JPY  ・Winning submissions sold at the FabCafe online store  ・Invitation to an award presentation party at either FabCafe Tokyo or FabCafe Taipei


One entry per category


Winning submissions sold at the FabCafe online store


Eisuke Tachikawa / NOSIGNER (Designer) 

In 2006 while he was still a student studying urban development, architecture and product development at Keio University’s Laboratory of Architecture and Urban Design, Eisuke Tachikawa established his own design firm NOSIGNER. The name is coined based on the belief that design is not limited to the realm of tangible. The company strives to create functional designs for firms (design functionality) as well as spread organized design concepts (structured design).

Johnny Strategy (Artist/ Writer)

Johnny Strategy was born in Brooklyn in 1981 and moved to Tokyo. He spent the first 18 years of his life growing up in Tokyo. While there, Johnny took up an interest in the arts, including an apprenticeship with a Japanese potter. He returned, for the first time, to USA to attend college where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Art Education(BAE) and Fine Arts(BFA). He established Spoon & Tamago as a means of attracting international attention to the Japanese art and design scene. Currently based in Brooklyn and Tokyo, he also works as a curator for a private family art collection.

Tim Wong (FabCafe Taipei Co-Founder)

Before co-founding FabCafe Taipei in 2013, Tim has been an urban design practitioner for the past 7 years and worked on urban design projects across the US, Middle East, and various Asian cities. He holds dual Master degrees in Architecture and Urban Design from Harvard Graduate School of Design and is currently teaching a 4th-year architecture studio in Tamkang University in Taiwan.

Yuichi Takeo (Executive Managing Director and Marketing Director, Takeo Co., Ltd.)

Born in 1974, Yuichi Takeo graduated from the Faculty of Policy Making at Keio University. He then went on to work at a TV production company, before joining Takeo Co., Ltd. in 2004. He assumed his current position in 2011. He enjoys working and keeping active. His mantra in life is to work hard and be kind to others.

How to Enter

To enter this competition, entrants are required to have their own account. They are also required to click on and follow the submission instructions when creating and submitting a design.

Organizer: Loftwork Inc., FabCafe Tokyo

Sponsor: Takeo Co., Ltd. is the online store operated by the leading paper supplier, Takeo Co., Ltd. The store offers over 9,000 paper varieties of colors and textures, as well as sizes (manufacturer’s standard sizes as well as untrimmed sheets). Takeo will also cut paper any size you like.