How to Make Paper Platforms to Hold Weight
A common problem posed to many high school science students is to make a platform from paper that will hold a book or brick and not collapse. An additional requirement is the platform must stand at least 6 to 8 inches from the surface of the table. The answer to the problem is simply creating a group of columns and placing them under a sheet of paper. The columns will hold the weight if placed strategically beneath the paper platform.
Lay aside one sheet of 8 1/2 by 11-inch paper. Make columns from the remaining 16 sheets.
Place one sheet of paper on a flat surface so it stands 11-inches tall. Take the 8 1/2-inch bottom of the paper and roll it toward the top of the paper to make a tight tube. Pick up the tube and roll it between the palms of your hands to crease the fibers in the paper. Roll from one end of the tube to the other making sure to cover the entire surface. Lay the tube, which is now a column, on the table and allow it to open slightly. Repeat the process with the remaining 15 pieces of paper.
Set the columns on end in a 4-by-4 grid on the table surface. Set the first four columns in a row 2 inches apart. Begin the second row of columns 2 1/2 inches from the first. Line up the columns so they match the first row. Repeat the process until four row of columns are set on the table.
Gently place the set aside piece of paper over the top of the 16 columns. Carefully center and place a book on the platform.