Paper is a wonderfully versatile material with a long history that can be traced to AD 105, when a Chinese Emperors official attached to the imperial court, Ts’ai Lun created a sheet of paper using hemp waste, mulberry and other materials. With the complete history of paper now out of the way I can continue with my complete beginners guide to paper-craft, after all, you’re not here for a history lesson are you? Chances are, you’re here because you want to start making paper models for your own enjoyment or you are looking to embark on the first steps in creating wearable armour, helmets, masks etc… that you can display, wear to conventions, fancy dress parties or even sell.
while there are other guides on the internet that cover paper-crafting, I’ve not managed to find one that goes into as much as detail as I am going (to attempt) to do and it comes from the perspective of someone who is also a beginner to paper-craft. That being said, I encourage everyone’s feedback so that I can update this guide with information from more experienced users so we can all benefit from it. The most active community of paper-craft (as well as other material crafts) that I have come across has to be the replica prop forums, so if you haven’t already signed up then go do it after you’ve been through this guide, it is full of very experienced users and some fantastic resources. Also go check out the 405th Infantry Division and sign up there too. Finally I recommend that for every project you attempt, you document the process, take progress photos, completed project pictures and share it on the forums as it will benefit the community and yourself by serving as a reminder of the techniques you’ve used, other users can provide advice for future projects and you can warn others of any pitfalls you encountered.
The main aim of this guide is to build an understanding of what you need to make something out of paper; the essential equipment you need, what types of paper to use, the software Pepakura and how it works. Before I start listing the equipment you need, please be away that if you own a Silhouette CAMEO cutting machine there is a version of Pepakura viewer that supports this for $15 meaning you can skip the equipment list and more straight onto Part 3: Paper section of this guide.
Part 1: Essential Equipment
1: Cutting Mat
Unless you want to destroy your furniture, you’re going to need a cutting mat. When I searched online (19th April 2014) I found via Amazon UK that prices varied from between £1.90 (about $3.20) to a ridiculous £184 (about $310).
A3: 297mm x 420mm / 11.7″ x 16.5″ (300mm x 450mm / 11.8″ x 17.7″).
A2: 420mm x 594mm / 16.5″ x 23.4″ (450mm x 600mm / 27.7″ x 23.6″).
A1: 594mm x 842mm / 23.4″ x 33.1″ (600mm x 900mm / 23.6″ x 35.4″).
A0: 841mm x 1189mm / 33.1″ x 46.8″ (900mm x 1200mm / 35.4″ x 47.2″).
So those are you choices. Personally I have this mat which has served me well so far and looks like it will do for a long time to come, plus it was really cheap.
2: X-Acto Knife
There isn’t really much to say about this, you’re going to need a knife to cut out the pieces of your model so go and buy one with a cap and lots of extra #11 fine point blades as constantly cutting out your model pieces will dull the blades and if you’re heavy handed you can easily snap off the tips of the blades (which I’ve managed a few times now). You can use scissors but most models have small intricate pieces that will need the X-Acto knife to get that degree of precision. X-Acto do a whole range of knifes, blades and accessories so check them out over at their website.
3: Ruler and a safety pin
You’re going to need to score along various lines to make folds easier and a lot more precise. A 30cm/12″ metal ruler is ideal for this and scoring with a paperclip allows you to get a precise line without tearing the paper and nicking the edge of the ruler.
4: Pointed tip tweezers
There may be times when your fingers are too big to make a fold or part of your construction may require to get to an area that your fingers are too big to reach. Try and find some that don’t require too much pressure to squeeze shut.
A little bit of forward thinking is needed when considering glue especially if you are going to be using resin, bondo and fibreglass ( I will do a guide about these things once I’ve had some experience using them but at the time of writing I have no knowledge about either!). Over on the 405th forums they have a Pepakura FAQ which states that the glue to use in order of preference is as follows:
(Credit to user Sigma-LS of the 405th for this information)
Personally I have been using the acid free pH neutral PVA glue (pictured above). It dries clear and doesn’t yellow the paper (which is great if you are just making models rather than armour) and comes with a plastic/metal nozzle which allows precise control over the amount and flow of glue. If you get this make sure you clean the nozzle after each use as the glue will dry and you will need to poke a pin down there to unclog it. I currently have a work in progress and am doing some research on resin to prepare for the next stage and once I’ve completed this I will update this guide to reflect how the glue held up.
As long as you are not going to try and use cardstock that is heavier than 200 g/m2 (see part 3: paper for more information), then any printer should be sufficient. Over time and after more research I’ll update this section.
Part 2: Optional Equipment
If you have any recommendations for any additional equipment you use please let me know and I’ll include it here.
Part 3: Paper
This section is going to be a constant work in progress as there is a lot of variation but for this first draft I’ll try to keep it as simple as possible.
Basically you want to use cardstock between 160 g/m2 and 200 g/m2 and there are two ways to measure the weight of the paper you need to use. Outside of the US the grams per square meter (g/m2 or GSM) method is used, which means if a sheet of paper measuring 1 meter x 1 meter weights 120 grams then that papers weight is 120 g/m2. If a sheet of paper measuring 1 meter x 1 meter weighs 160 grams then that paper weighs 160 g/m2 and so on. With this system you will never run into a case where a heavier paper has the same or lower g/m2 number as a lighter paper. The higher the number the heavier the paper.
Now in the US the paper weight is measured in lbs and here is where some confusion can lie as a thick cardstock can be listed as having the same weight in lbs as a thinner lighter cardstock. There is a reason for this and it is based on three factors which are as follows:
|Cardstock||Heavyweight paper used for invitations, program covers, postcards, business cards, and paperback book covers Pre-scoring before folding highly recommended||500 sheets 20 inches x 26 inches||65||175|
|Text||Lightweight paper commonly used for letterhead, envelopes, program insert sheets, and résumés Easy to fold without scoring||500 sheets 25 inches x 38 inches||118||175|
|Bond or Writing||Strong, rigid paper used for letterheads and many other printing purposes||500 sheets 17 inches x 22 inches||Bond:74
|Index||Thin, inexpensive paper with a smooth finish, often used for business reply cards||500 sheets 25 1/2 inches x 30 1/2 inches||97||175|
|Newsprint||Manufactured mostly from mechanical pulps specifically for the printing of newspapers||500 sheets 24 inches x 36 inches||108||175|
|Bristol||Fine quality cardboard made by pasting several sheets together||500 sheets 22 1/2 inches x 28 1/2 inches||80||175|
Part 4: Pepakura
This is where the real fun starts. Now that I’ve been over the materials you need, it’s time to talk about the software that brings everything together. First I’m going to go over what it is, where you can get it from and the system requirements then we’re going to work through a simple project which will give you hands on experience whilst learning about all the features of the software so lets get started shall we?
so what is pepakura?
Pepakura is a program developed by Tama Software Ltd. There are two versions of Pepakura, the first being Pepakura Viewer (current version 3.0.5a) which is the free version and the version which I will be covering in this guide. It provides a 3D viewing area that allows you to see the assembled model and view it from any angle and a 2D viewing area that shows the unfolded template of the model that is displayed in the 3D viewing area which can be printed off, cut out and stuck together to build the 3D model. As I said in the introduction there is a version of Pepakura viewer for Silhoutte CAMEO for $15 that comes with it’s own guide about how to use it with Pepakura. The other version is Pepakura Designer (currently version 3.1.3a) which allows you to import 3D data from software ( a full list of supported software can be found on the website) and create your own 2D templates from that 3D data. The current registration price is $38 so for now we will stick to the free version. There is also an upgrade of Pepakura Designer to a high resolution version but again I won’t be covering that in this guide.
Ok so now I know what Pepakura is, how do I get it?
All you need to do is click this link and it will take you to the main page, click on download on the left of the page then then on pepakure Viewer (Free) to take you to the download page (please note that you need Windows 8/7/Vista/XP to run it). Simply click the Download Pepakura Viewer 3.0.5a Installer (2.1MB) button at the bottom of the page and save it to your desired location. Once downloaded you can then begin the installation process by double clicking on the setup_pepakura_viewer305a_en icon and following the installation guide. Once that has finished, Pepakura will be installed and ready to open.
I’ve installed the program, now what?
Before you actually open it, you’re going to need to download some templates. Pepakura uses the file extension .pdo and there are many resources available to find these files such as typing into google model name pdo (eg Iron Man Helmet pdo), the replica prop forum using the search bar and the pepakura website has its own database. To begin with we are going to start out with something simple so head on over to the pepakura website, click on the download link then on the Download geometric Models (Free) link, this will take you a page with patterns for various shapes you can download. Scroll all the way to the bottom of the page and click on the Download[truncated_polygons.zip](30KB) link. Once it has finished downloading, extract the files and remember where you saved them to.
Can I open the software now?
Yes you can, when you first open it up you should see the image below.
There are three ways to open and search for a file, first is by simply clicking the image of the folder in the top left of the toolbar, the second is by clicking on file in the menu bar and selecting open and the third is by pressing ctrl + O. Then simply navigate to the location of the file “truncated_dodecahedron.pdo” and double click to open it.
Now that you have your first template opened up lets go over some basic operation.
3D model window:
Model Rotation: left or right mouse drag
Model Movement: Ctrl + Right mouse drag or press the mouse wheel and drag
Zoom in/out: Shift + right mouse drag or mouse wheel up and down
2D model window
Pan: left or right mouse drag
Zoom in/out: Shift + right mouse drag or mouse wheel up and down
Before we print off the template there are some settings we need to adjust and go over.
The first button on the toolbar highlighted by the black box is the set material to faces button. This switches between enabling and disabling the texture or colour on the faces of the model. I am going to be using a different model to show the functions of these buttons to highlight the differences.
The next button on the toolbar highlighted by the red box is the colour flaps with neighbouring faces button. This sets the texture or colours to slightly go outside of the lines in the 2D view. If you click on settings, then other settings and when the pop up box appears, click on the general settings tab you can than choose to tick the box listed as “paint flaps with neighbouring face colour instead of overflow paint”. Instead of setting the colours to go slightly outside of the lines it will actually just colour in the teeth on each piece.
the Next button on the toolbar highlighted in light blue is the Show edge ID button. In the 2D view, this switches between the edges of each piece being numbered and these numbered edges can be used as joining marks when being assembled. I only recommend turning these on if you are printing off a model that is white and one that you are going to go over with resin, bondo, paint etc. The next picture also shows that if you hover with your mouse over the edge of a piece, it will show a red line linking to the corresponding piece it needs to be attached to. You can also change the size of the font of the edge ID by clicking on setting, then other settings. When the pop up box appears, click the general settings tab and here you can change the font size.
The next two buttons highlighted in yellow and dark green are the Emphasize open edges button and the turn on light button. The emphasize open edge button cuts the 3D model up into its individual pieces and the turn on light button renders the 3D model as being lit up. Now if you click on settings and open up the display settings of 3D model window and open up the other settings window you have some more options to play around with. First you can change the 3D model to be displayed in colour, white or white with shade. You can also set the mountain and valley folds to be coloured or black and in the other settings window you can change the colour of each of these types of fold lines, you can set the light to be on or off (this is the same as clicking the turn on light button) and finally there are two sliders one changes the size of the opening between the pieces of the model and the other changes the viewing angel of the model.
I mentioned mountain and valley folds so let me explain what they are. There are two types of folds you can do when making paper models, the first is the mountain fold which is represented as so _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ then there is a valley fold which is represented as so _ . _ . _ . _ . _ . this picture below shows how you should make these folds.
the next two buttons highlighted in pink and dark blue simple display the page number and the part number of each piece in the 2D view.
the final two buttons highlighted in light green and orange simply switch between the dual screen mode and a single screen mode that shows only the 2D view.
With the truncated_dodecahedron.pdo file loaded in pepakura, make sure the show edge ID button and turn light on buttons are pressed, all the other buttons can be left off for now. All you need to do now is print off the template and you can begin building your first model.
Personally the first thing I like to do is use my ruler and safety pin to score along all the lines that need to be folded. Others prefer to do this after they have cut out each piece but it’s all down to personal preference and after a while and some experience you will find which method works best for you.
Once you have finished scoring along all the mountain folds, grab your X-Actor knife and cut along all the solid black lines. After a while you will get used to how much pressure you need to put on the knife to cut through the paper.
After you have finished cutting, push the piece out from the rest of the paper, you should have something that looks like the picture below.
The next step is to start folding. Personally I like to start by making sure all the tabs are folded first and then make the rest of the folds. If you’re not sure which way to fold it, refer back to the earlier part of this guide that goes over mountain and valley folds. This should leave you will something that looks like the picture below.
Start to glue the model together. Match up each edge number and glue the tab to the underside of the matching part number which your glue gun/pen or superglue. Use the Pepakura software and hover your mouse over the edge of each part to help you figure out where each edge connects to using the red line. Once you glued all the pieces together you should end up with something that looks like the picture below.
You now have half the model finished. All you need to do is repeat the previous 5 steps with the second half of the model then glue both piece together and you will have completed your first Pepakura model. Congratulations!
I hope you’ve enjoyed making your first Pepakura paper-craft model. Remember to go check out the replica prop forums, the 405th forums and sign up to both. If after you’ve made a few more models and are feeling confident go check out the Spyro the Dragon model I made and give that a go, there is a link to the template in the post and should give you a decent challenge. Anyway good luck, have fun and happy crafting.
Wow I cant believe this is only going to be my second post of the year! sorry about that! I guess I’ve been a bit lazy with making stuff recently but I’ve also been planning some other stuff that I want to start putting up on my blog so I should be a bit more active soon!
Anyway, recently I went and joined the replica prop forums as I constantly hear great things about it and have just been blown away by the stuff people do on there, so if you’re interested or starting to get into costuming, cosplay, props whatever, I suggest you go on over there, sign up and have a look around! The reason I joined the RPF was because although I liked making the Spyro the Dragon model (I also did a Crash Bandicoot one which I realised I haven’t even posted about on here! whoops!) I wanted to make something a bit more robust. I follow a few cosplayers but have never taken part and so this was a good way to research how people go about making their costumes (some of the armour that I’ve seen is stunning), I knew that people use pepakura to build armour then use resin and fiberglass and other things which I have no idea about but there is a lot of information on the forums to help explain these kind of things to all the noobs like me. I wanted to start off with something that was easy to build and practice on before I started making a full costume so I went for Obitos mask from Naruto. It’s a nice simple shape apart from the eyes which gave me a bit of trouble it’s turned out quite well so far I think, the next step is to do some research on the next step which is applying coats of resin to the outside and fibreglass on the inside so wish me luck!
Just want to say a quick thanks to saucer33 from the forums as they were the one that posted the Obito pep file I used to make the mask so credit goes to them.
Over the past few days I’ve been working on a papercraft project and if you’ve been following my Instagram you would have seen all the progress pictures I was taking. I’ve attempted making a Millenium Falcon before which turned out ok but I didn’t really have the right equipment and it was a bit of a simple model. This time I wanted to challenge myself, I had to decide on what I wanted to make so I did some searching. I came across a few sites such as pixel papercraft and Paperkraft.net but eventually I found the Spyro the Dragon design via Instructables.com (which I highly recommend checking out as there is all sorts of awesome stuff on there) and though it was perfect, it looked difficult enough to give me a good challenge but not so tough that I though I might get frustrated and give up halfway through.
If you want the instructions you can find them by clicking the following link: Spyro The Dragon Papercraft Instructions
The only problem here, was that once I downloaded the instructions they were in an odd .pdo format and I had no idea what would open then, so back to google I went to find out what program used these files. I am so glad I made the decision to take the time to find this out rather than just try and find some pdf instructions or something similar because it introduced me to the program Pepakura. To download the program click the following link: Pepakura Viewer. they also have a database of websites that have pepakura and papercraft models.
Pepakura viewer is a program that shows the 3D assembled model from any angle and next to it, a 2D unfolded template of the model. The 2D view allows you to hover your mouse over the edge of a part and it will show you the part that it’s connected to which is a great feature as you can easily loose track of how everything is meant to be connected. It also allows you to double click and select parts in the 2D view which are then also highlighted in the 3D model. As you can see below this is how the program looks with the downloaded pdo files.
There is also a designer program where you can import your own 3D models but I’ve not used this yet and I will do a tutorial on that at some point in the future after I’ve had a bit more experience using the viewer and making a few test models.
Here are the settings I used: So the download file for this Spyro model comes with texture images (don’t worry you don’t have to do anything with these) and the button that is circled in black will simply apply the texture to the image, if you are good with a paintbrush you can turn this off, build your model then paint it once it’s done. The button circled in red is utilized in the 2D view, it takes the colour texture and adds the colour to the outside of the parts edge as you can see in the image below. The button circled in blue just adds lighting to the model. As I said there are other settings and things that can be done such as show edge ID which number each individual edge of the part and the corresponding edge of the part its connected to and then ones that simply number the page so just have a play around until you get the hang of it.
One final thing, if you don’t have access to a printer and need to print off the design somewhere else you will need to do a few things.
Go to http://www.cutepdf.com/products/cutepdf/writer.asp and download the CutePDF Writer and Convertor (both links are on the left) and install them both. When you want to convert a a pdo file to pdf simply print as you normally would but in the printer name drop down menu, select Cute PDF writer, it will ask where you want to save your files and that’s it. So now you know all the basics about Pepkura you can start building your model.
Now you have your pdo design and your software you will need a few things to begin:
1) A cutting mat
2) An X-ACTO knife (and a few blades)
3) A ruler
4) PH Neutral acid free PVA glue
5) Card stock ( I used 160gsm, click here for a little bit more info on gsm)
You can get all of these online fairly cheaply, as for the card, I was able to find some in Wilkinsons, £3.75 for 50 sheets. From this point on simply print out the design and get cutting following the instructions and using Pepakuras features to help guide you when you get stuck. Here are a few picture of the finished design that I made.
As you can see it’s not perfect but I’m happy with it considering it was my first attempt. Next time I’m going to make something a bit simpler so I can improve my technique. Anyway hope this inspires you to try out some paper modelling and good luck if you do!
I have finally got around to doing a bit of baking as promised!
courtesy of Outsider Tart I made Snicker Brownies.
They have a book out which has a bunch of recipes in it and although I’ve only made two of them so far they have both turned out amazing. I highly recommend it! Simply click here and you can buy it from their website.
This Christmas I got a book off my brother and sister in law (THANK YOU!) called Baked In America by outsider tart, and it’s awesome. I’ve already tried out on of the recipes which I had to slightly alter as I didn’t have any dried cherries but it still tasted amazing!
Cream Cheese Topping
This was a commission for someone’s Christmas present, I had this finished a while ago but obviously couldn’t post anything because I didn’t want to ruin the surprise! It was my first attempt at doing Tunisian Crochet and getting used to changing colours was a nightmare, I kept dropping stitches and getting stuck. Eventually I managed to get the hang of it (after about 7 attempts and a lot of yarn) and I think it turned out ok, so I managed to take a few progress pictures which you can see below, (sorry they aren’t that good quality, I was using my ipad to take the pictures rather than my actual camera for some reason).
So as it’s been getting a bit colder I decided I’d make a nice smart looking scarf that I can wear with anything. I actually finished it off last week but was too lazy to get a proper picture of it but tonight I changed that. Also here is the pattern.
Row 1: chain 21,
Row 2 – 353: DC 20, chain 1, turn
Fasten off and stitch loose end into the last row.
Bit of a mouthful for the title but that’s basically what they are so I’m sticking with it!
One thing I did notice while doing the frosting was that it wasn’t as stiff as I’d of liked it to be so I’d recommend adding a bit more icing sugar to the mix to see if that helps or mixing it for longer. Apart form that they were really nice and I very much recommend them. Happy baking
1. Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°C/Gas 3. Mix together the flour, mixed spices, nutmeg and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl. Melt the honey and butter in a small saucepan over a gentle heat, stirring until they are blended. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon zest and juice. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the honey mixture, stirring until it is well combined. Beat the eggs and milk together in a jug and pour them into the cake mixture a little at a time, beating after each addition.
2. Spoon the cake mixture into the cupcake cases so that each one is two-thirds full. Bake the cakes in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes or until they are golden and a cocktail stick pushed into the centre comes out clean. Cool the cakes for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool fully.
3. In a bowl sift in the icing sugar, gradually add warm water until the consistence is dough like then sprinkle a little extra fondant icing on a flat surface and knead the fondant until it is smooth. Roll it out and cut out circles using a cutter. Add food colouring to make the icing yours desired colour.
4. Brush the top of the cupcake with a little warm water then press each round onto the top of the cupcake.
5.Eat them all.
Here be a poppy I made this evening. My mum found a pattern for knitting and crochet so we have both attempted to make one. It took a while to figure out the pattern but I’m actually quite happy with how it turned out. If you want the pattern you can pick it up for £4 in Women’s weekly knitting and crochet special magazine.
This week I’ve been doing a bit more crochet. My niece loves pink and purple, winter is coming and I thought I’d make something practical so I went and made her a little scarf. This is really easy to make and doesn’t take up too much time either so it’s a really good one for beginners.
Row 1: Starting with pink Ch 241
Row 2: SC 240, sl st to close
Row 3: Change colour, ch 1 in last stitch of previous row, SC 240, sl st to close
Row 4: Change colour, ch 1 in last stitch of previous row, SC 240m ch 1, turn
Row 5: SC 240, sl st to close
Row 6: Change colour, ch 1 in last stitch of previous row, SC 240, ch 1 turn
Row 7: SC 240, ch 1, turn
Row 8: SC 240, sl st to close
Row 9: Change colour, ch 1 in last stitch of previous row, SC 240, ch 1, turn
Row 10: SC 240, sl st to close
Row 11: Change Colour, ch 1 in last stitch of previous row, SC 240, sl st to close
Row 12: Change Colour, ch 1 in last stitch of previous row, SC 240, ch1, turn
Row 13: SC 240, sl st to close
Then using a needle simply thread the loose ends into each row and you are done. You can create tassels at each end like I have or simply leave the ends bare, the choice is yours. there are loads of options with different colours and ends so have fun with this one and let me know what you think or how yours turned out in the comments below.
|Spyro the pepakura d… on Millenium Falcom|
|elementcrafts on Iron Man Gloves|
|Jen on Iron Man Gloves|