Paper Dragon

Bringing design to life with paper

When I was a kid, I liked to use paper to make origami figures. I didn’t have much talent for it, and I barely knew how to do more than paper planes and boats. But molding paper was as fun for me as playing with my dolls.

Recently, my fascination with paper has come back. This time, not for the art of origami, but for papercraft (also known as pepakura).


It’s the construction of tridimensional objects with paper. Using multiple different pieces of paper, which are cut out and glued, the most diverse tridimensional works are made. Afterwards, according to its creator’s creativity, they can be used in many ways, for many ends.

How? Let’s see some examples.


Lakshmi & Sri

Lakshmi & Sri

Little World

Little World

One of the advantages of using papercraft in illustrations is the opportunity that the technique offers for us to play with depth. Even if the shape itself isn’t tridimensional, the overlapping of layers gives the drawing depth. Just as we see in the picture above.

The end result is charming.

On covers:


Papercraft – Perú


Bison Bonasus Paper Toy

Bison Bonasus Paper Toy

The author of this character is Tougui, a french designer known for making paper toys for adults.

Just like the Animation Foundation Team explains on the project page on Behance, paper toys differ from other toys for the fact that they’re made to be assembled by those who buy them.

However, this type of figures can be used for other purposes:

Octopus papercraft

Octopus papercraft

In this case, the figure was created for a Facebook banner. It’s entirely made of paper, and it took three weeks to be concluded.


Snask – Show what you do best (short version) de Annelies Clauwaert

Just like we have written before on our blog, “stop-motion animation shares the same principles as cinema: to create an illusion of movement, through the sequence of many still frames. Actually, it was initially used as a special effects technique, since it made it possible for an object to move by itself.”

The paper becomes the ideal instrument for this kind of technique which conjugates best with analogue instruments, such is the case of paper. And the possibilities are endless, just like we can see on the video above.


The software Pepakura Designer transforms 3D objects into papercraft models. Therefore, one of the ways to start the project will be by creating our design in a 3D modelling program such as Blender.

On Pepakura Designer’s website there are tutorials that teach not only how to use the program but also how to model our design after it is printed. Including what materials to use and some concepts that are particular to the technique.

However, in simpler cases, using our old friend tracing paper to draw the shaper on paper, is better.

In all instances, the essential is to have strong paper (like cardboard), scissors and glue.

Whatever use we give to our papercraft, the effect is always the same: this technique is able to bring our design to life and give it a special charm.

Andreia Calhau

Even with a sleepy face, she’s always ready for a challenge. Highly proactive and full of “scalabis” culture. Audiovisual is her thing and her inspiration sources are endless: from shorts films on Vimeo to the one and only Justin Timberlake.

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