Introduction to Papercraft - Part 3

So, you've found that great model that fits your abilities and you're the passion to build it is burning within your heart?

Have you already studied the templates and already got an idea on how to build it?

Do you know how it should look like when done?

Already decided where you're building and have set the place up?
So everything is done! Let's get to work!

Now, where to start?
Should I cut all pieces first and build after, or should I cut two pieces and glue than before cutting the next? Should I score (carve) the pieces before I cut?
God, so many questions unanswered!
Ok, take it easy!

The sequence of your steps is up to you to decide.
On smaller projects I normally cut all the pieces first to only than start building. On bigger projects I normally cut all the pieces from one page and build them and only than I go to the next page. That's how I work.

Also, have a place to keep the pieces you've cut as you don't want to lose those (like a box or a bag).
Another thing to remember, avoid applying glue directly to the tabs. Instead, spread some glue on a piece of paper first and use something like a toothpick to apply the glue. This will prevent you from applying too much glue on the tab. Don't underestimate the power of glue! Applying liters and liters of glue won't hold the pieces better! Applying too much glue will weaken the paper and you should avoid this as it will be harder to try to fix something if the paper is weaker.
Still talking about glue, try to avoid getting glue outside the tabs as glue is a great way to leave a nasty dirty mark on the model.

Now, I normally carve the pieces AFTER I cut them. Why? Because I normally carve on the BACK of the pieces and not on the front. I do this to get a cleaner look on the front but still have the advantages of a carved piece.
And what are the advantages?
A carved (or scored, whichever word you prefer) piece get a cleaner and precise fold.
You don't need to carve every piece. On round parts you don't really need to carve (like the body of my Totoro model) as carving will give a more..."polygonal" look and you don't want a round papercraft looking polygonal right?

Well, enough of talk! Let's get our hands on the model!
Cutting process
On the picture below you can see three colored lines.
Those are the Good cutting line, Regular cutting line and Bad cutting line.
Totoro Cutting Line
As you can see, the Good cutting line is tangent to the board of the piece but it's INSIDE the piece.
The Regular cutting line is OVER the piece board.
The Bad cutting line is FAR AWAY of the piece board.

Try to stick with the Regular or Good cutting line.
At first I would aim only for the Regular cutting line but nowadays I'm aiming mainly on the Good cutting line.

Now, I guess you noticed that there are some dotted lines too right? And some lines are a mix of dots and longer lines right?
The image below explains it better.
Folding lines
As you can see there are two kinds of folds, the Mountain Fold and the Valley Fold . If you've already done some origami you may be already familiarized with these.
You have to do exactly what the name of the fold says. When you fold a Mountain Fold you should end up with a mountain. Couldn't get the idea pretty well? Luckly I have an example with an actual model right here for you!
This is the piece I'm going to use as an example.
Folding direction
It's one of the towers from my Hyrule Castle Model. As you can see I emphasized the folding lines.
Here you can see the piece already cut and carved:
Folding direction
And here's one of the folds done:
Folding direction
As you can see it forms a mountain. Use the texture as reference(the side with the texture is the "floor").
The same goes for Valley fold(unfortunately I don't have an actual example, sorry).

Two last tips I would like to give.
One is about cutting directions.
There are some cases where cutting in one direction gives you a better result.
Take a look at this example:
Cutting direction
The green arrows shows the direction that will give you a better result. Why? It's hard to explain with words but let's give it a try.
On this case you're cutting a piece that get's thinner on the end of it. If you cut it on the opposite direction of the green arrow that part of the piece may get wrinkled. I don't really know why, it simply does, I learned this by experience and now I try to avoid.

The other tip is about adding weight to your models.
Before you finish closing your model add some weight to it. I normally do this by adding pieces of paper.
By adding weight you're preventing it from flying away with the wind and, in some cases, you're giving stability to the model.

Well, I guess that's it for now.
I think I covered what I think to be the most essential and hope I didn't forget any topic.
Feel free to ask question, send suggestion compliment or criticize.
Add a comment or simply send me an e-mail at

Thank you for reading

Introduction to Papercraft - Part 4
Introduction to Papercraft - Part 2
Introduction to Papercraft - Part 1


  1. Great introduction to a really great blog

  2. a really thorough explanation on papercraft.. nicely done! correct me if I'm wrong, but it called "origami" in japan, right?

  3. Thanks for the comments and compliments.
    Will work on raising the level of the blog.

    Actually no. Origami is similar to papercraft but it's not the same thing. Origami consists of folding paper and only that, no cutting allowed.
    Papercraft, on the other hand, consists of cutting out the pieces to glue, breaking that "rule" of origami.
    I made a brief comment about their similarities on the first part of the tutorial but it's really brief since origami is not the main scope of the blog, though I may change this on the future if I get more into origami :)


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