What is papercraft?
Papercraft is the art of creating three dimensional models out of paper. It is also called pepakura, the Japanese word for papercraft. Papercraft differs from origami in the sense that the pieces of a papercraft template are cut out, folded where necessary and then glued together to create the model.
What materials do I need?
What paper should I use?
The thickness / weight of paper is indicated in grams per square metre (gsm). Regular printer paper is 80gsm. The thickness of the paper you should use depends mainly on the size of the model. For smaller models 80gsm to 120gsm paper should work well, since it will make the smaller parts easier to assemble. For large models 160gsm (or more) should be used to ensure that the model is sturdy.
How do I open the files?
What do the fold lines mean?
Different templates sometimes use different fold lines. The most common meaning of the fold lines are as follows:
-·-·-·-·-·-· The dot dash lines indicate a valley fold, which means the paper should be
folded up (towards you).
············ The dotted lines indicate a mountain fold, which means the paper should be
folded down (away from you).
If you are unsure about how to fold the paper, just do a mountain fold (which is more common than a valley fold) since this can easily be corrected later on.
What is the colour overflow function in Pepakura Viewer?
When this function is selected, a border of the colours of each piece will be created around it (including on the glue tabs). This is very useful since small white lines that could occur when cutting out or gluing the parts together will be eliminated. If the parts are very dark, however, turning this function on will make it difficult to see the real edges of the pieces when cutting them out. In stead of using this function, coloured pencils or markers can be used to colour the white part of the glue tab just next to the colour of the piece itself (also refer to edge colouring below).
The colour overflow function can be turned on as follows:
View --> Overflow Paint, or
Select the button with the picture of a paintbrush, third from the left in Pepakura Viewer 3 ("Color Flaps with Neighboring Faces")
What is the edge colouring technique?
With this technique, coloured pencils or markers, that match the colours of the relevant pieces, are used to colour the edges of the paper after the pieces are cut out. This will hide the white lines that are caused by the thickness of the paper where the pieces meet. Because it can be difficult to find a colour to match the piece and because this technique is so time-consuming, I usually only colour the edges of black pieces. Also, be careful when using coloured markers - if the tip of a marker is in contact with the paper for too long, too much ink will be absorbed into the paper and the piece will be ruined.
What is the smooth papercraft technique?
This means that you do not fold the paper on all the fold lines, but only on those of the glue tabs and parts that should obviously have sharp edges. By just gluing the glue tabs firmly in place, the paper will automatically curve/bend to form the right shape, giving a smoother appearance. This technique is usually only used for organic models (like animals and people) which means that models like robots are still built by folding on the fold lines.