Normally, a Kickstarter failure is the end of the road. But for one Rochester artist, it was exactly what she needed.

Jacqueline Runge, the artist in question, needed a little more time to perfect the Kickstarter formula and reduce costs for her 3-foot-tall dragon and unicorn papercrafting kits.

The secrets? Thinner stock paper, which allows Runge’s Cricut machine to do the scoring for her, and some darn good coding.

The second iteration of the Kickstarter, she hopes, will be more colorful, quicker to manufacture (no more hours of hand-scoring fold lines), and much cheaper — a swap from $25,000 to $10,000 to manufacture 100 kits.

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That gives her a chance to demonstrate her favorite part of the project — loading a sheet of shiny blue paper into the Cricut, and letting the machine stamp out and label the first of 61 pieces.

Runge has been selling papercrafting kits from other design contracts on her website for a while now, but the geometric dragons are something special.

She bought the instructions for Ripley, the huge, navy dragon head on her office wall, a few years back from Russian artist Ilya Gurko.

Jacqueline Runge prepares a sheet of paper to be put in a paper cutting machine to be scored and cut into parts for a geometric paper wall mount kit Thursday, May 6, 2021, at her home in Rochester. (Joe Ahlquist / jahlquist@postbulletin.com)
Jacqueline Runge prepares a sheet of paper to be put in a paper cutting machine to be scored and cut into parts for a geometric paper wall mount kit Thursday, May 6, 2021, at her home in Rochester. (Joe Ahlquist / jahlquist@postbulletin.com)

“It stuck in my head for years,” she said.

She was always “passionate about crafts,” but the wow factor of a 3-foot dragon head mounted on her wall was especially appealing.

Runge’s inner circle includes Dungeons and Dragons players, and other friends who “want to outfit their lair” or gaming rooms.

So she got the licensing agreement and began converting the metric measurements to U.S. sizing. Converting the plans from 8½-by-11 sheets of paper to larger sizes means the dragons got a size upgrade. If Runge decides to convert a sitting dragon model, the finished product could be around 6 feet tall.

Runge hopes the dragons will find homes with her fellow fantasy nerds, as well as families looking for kid-friendly projects. After all, all the kits need is good glue — and maybe six hours to put together.

Jacq of all trades

Take a look at Runge’s website, maddjacq.com, and you’ll quickly notice she refuses to pick a medium — art prints, dice, jewelry, stickers and patches, and more are all up for grabs.

“I’m like a little art weasel, I get into everything,” she said.

Jacqueline Runge prepares a sheet of paper to be put in a paper cutting machine to be scored and cut into parts for a geometric paper wall mount kit Thursday, May 6, 2021, at her home in Rochester. (Joe Ahlquist / jahlquist@postbulletin.com)
Jacqueline Runge prepares a sheet of paper to be put in a paper cutting machine to be scored and cut into parts for a geometric paper wall mount kit Thursday, May 6, 2021, at her home in Rochester. (Joe Ahlquist / jahlquist@postbulletin.com)

The 27-year-old lived in Fargo, Mankato and Alexandria before moving to Rochester. A career in graphic design gave her a background in printing, while RCTC’s engineering program gave her a background in coding and 2D-to-3D art, and taught her how to read the machinist’s notebook. In the fall, she’ll start WSU’s engineering program.

“There’s a huge overlap,” Runge said. “You want it to be functional, but also appealing — that’s basically engineering and graphic design in a nutshell.”

Her home office includes the all-important Cricut, as well as a 3D printer and resin engraver.

Nowadays, Runge looks for projects that can let other people flex their artistic muscles, like papercrafting, or things like stickers that add a touch of expression to everyday objects.

“I just want to make stuff that other people can get into and enjoy,” she said.

For more information, or to back the Kickstarter, go to www.kickstarter.com and search for "Papercraft Kits - Unicorn & Dragons."

@madd.jacq

I've learned so much from the previous Kickstarter and these kits will now be international! ##fyp ##artist ##artsupport

♬ Renee - Sales