What is 3D Papercraft?
3D Papercraft is art of creating 3D objects from paper. Principle is simple, you cut the template parts, fold them along folding lines and use the extra flaps on template to glue parts together. In essence every connecting edge and flap are numbered, and you just need to match the number on the edge with the one on the flap and glue them together. That’s pretty much it.
What You'll Need
Here are some essential tools that you'll need to successfuly finish a 3D papercraft project.
Depending on the template, you might need paper in different colors. For best results thicker paper (180gsm or more) is preferred.
Check your Visual Guide for the model you are making to see how many sheets of paper and in what color is needed.
You can use whichever tool you prefer like: Cutting knife, Scalpel, Box cutter, Scissors - as long as it's sharp :)
Depending on your cutting tool of choice, a metallic ruler will help you cut straight lines.
Glue suitable for paper. It needs to dry fast but leave enough time so you can position the flaps correctly. A fast acting wood glue will work too.
For some templates you will need a piece of cardboard that will cover the whole "base". It's used to harden the important parts (like the backface which you'll use to hang the model to the wall or bottom to make it stand firm). 1mm - 2mm thick cardboard is preferred.
Self-healing Cutting Mat
Not needed but sure is a plus!
Template file will have a little color box on each page in the top left corner. This is the suggested color on what colored paper you should print it on. (White is represented with light gray, so when you see light gray it just means white paper). Notice which pages are what color before printing.
In example below, that page needs to be printed on pink colored paper.
Align the ruler to the solid lines and use the cutting knife or tool of your choice to cut through the paper in a straight line. Sometimes it can happen that your knife will steer off the ruler which can cut through parts of the model. To avoid this, always point the ruler so it’s facing out of the model itself. Here is the picture to demonstrate.
Models can be folded in two different ways; with printed pages facing outwards or with printed pages facing inwards. This guide will follow the printed faces inwards method. This way there will be no numbers / lines / part names visible on the finished model.
Apart from solid lines there are two other types of lines – Mountain and Valley lines.
Mountain and valley lines are where the part needs to be folded. Mountain line means it need to resemble a mountain, so the line itself will be the peak. Valley lines are the opposite and they will represent the bottom of a valley. In a essence you eather fold the part down or up.
In my templates / guides, mountain and valley lines are represented by looking at printed face of the paper. So basically, when folding if you see a mountain line, fold it in a way that the printed line is on top. Since the model will be made with printed faces inside, on the finished model it will actually look the other way around.
Mountain and Valley lines in the template will look like on the picture below.
When gluing you should apply glue to the “flap”. No need to put it on both ends. All edges are matched by number. So for example a flap with number 182 will have a corresponding edge with the number 182.
Keep in mind that you need to apply the glue to the non-printed face of the flap, since flaps need to be inside the model and not visible from the outside.
Most of the parts should be solved first before connecting them to the previous ones. Often the flap and the corresponding edge will be on the same part.