Introduction: What Is Pepakura and How to Start

Picture of What Is Pepakura and How to Start

In this tutorial, you will learn what is Pepakura and how to use it.

This is short 6 step, comprehensive introduction into a world of paper models ;)

How to:

  • work with paper,
  • what type of paper (how hard / heavy),
  • and what tools you need to start
Updated: 2017/01/15

Step 1: Paper

Picture of Paper

You will need a HARD, HEAVY, SOLID, THICK paper !
Ignore office paper which is soft, too thin, easy to bend = useless.

What you need is CARDSTOCK !

Card stock = paper with weights from 50 lb to 110 lb (about 135 to 300 g/m²).
I use 200 g/m² paper and I find it best combination to print on and work within smaller details.

Size / format of paper:

Step 2: "Mountain" Vs. "Valley" Fold

Picture of "Mountain" Vs. "Valley" Fold

First time a lot of people may have a problem how to actually fold the paper:

  • what are all the different lines (solid, dash, dash-dot-dash) ?
  • what direction should you fold ?

  • imagine a letter ... A ... you can "touch the top" edge of the paper
  • basically fold the paper on its edge: DOWN
  • "dash dash dash"
  • _ _ _ _ _


  • imagine a letter ... V ... in where you can "put your finger inside" the shape
  • basically fold the paper on its edge: UP
  • "dash DOT dash DOT dash"
  • _ . _ . _ . _


  • this is the line where you cut your shape out !
  • __________

Step 3: Tools + Material + Software

Picture of Tools + Material + Software


Price= $65


Price = $20


Price = $FREE (PV) and $38 (PD)

EXTRA STUFF (optional)!

I find it more convenient to use a following stuff to make my work easier:

  • cotton swabs=to clean off excess glue and/or to spread it in tiny spots
  • extra scalpel blades= you need these in case of using a hobby knife!
  • aluminium foil= a place where I lay down glued pieces to let them dry out
  • old cloth =to clean your tools, table and fingers :)

Step 4: Which Glue to Use ?

Picture of Which Glue to Use ?

The choice is yours!

GOOD: if you use a small bit!

  • no smell
  • dries quick (3 to 5 mins)
  • easy to use and is more precise

BAD: if you use a lot of it!

  • hardens in 60 mins
  • dries slower (5 to 15 mins)
  • can soak your paper and distort it
  • cannot redo mistake, once dried, it is glued forever

How much do you need?
My glue has 100 ml = 3.4 oz ... and I glued 50 pages.


  • hardens in 30 mins
  • cools down + dries quick (2 mins)
  • you can heat it and "move" your glued parts a bit if you made a mistake


  • less accurate
  • needs electricity
  • burns your fingers if not careful
  • smells a lot (makes you sick, headaches)

How much do you need?

Cannot help here. I got sick from the smell of it after I glued like 1 page of pepakura and the glue stick barely shrank.


  • It is less precise, and it dries out way too fast for my taste.
  • I do not use this glue and do not advise it.
  • If you push hard on it, breaks down leaves big chunks all over which is bad.


Step 5: Print It ! ... Build It !

Picture of Print It ! ... Build It !

Now you have all the info you need to start building !

  1. Print it.
  2. Cut it out with scissors.
  3. Get details with a hobby knife.
  4. Glue it.
  5. Build it.

First 3 pictures = not Pepakura but custom papercraft !
The rest = real Pepakura example: Dragon_Priest_Mask

Fair warning !
Pepakura is really time consuming hobby !

My Dragon priest helmet took me 14 hours to complete:

  • cutting the paper (3 hours)
  • glue all parts (11 hours)

Well it depends on how handy and skilled you are :)

Step 6: What Next ?

Picture of What Next ?


krsiak (author)2014-12-17

286.000+ views and 300+ in favorites !

Thanks guys the support. I started this as help for others and now it is a number 1 tutorial here on Instructables and placed on 1st place if you google for "Pepakura" or "Pepakura tutorial" or "Pepakura how to".

I wish you a Merry Christmas ;)

techwhisperer (author)2013-01-09

Great Instructable! I had actually been thinking about starting a pepakura project and you've helped me a lot.

krsiak (author)techwhisperer2013-01-14

You are welcome :)

I made Pepakura GUIDE:

So far 5 tutorials with 2 videos, more to come soon !
It will be complete series made of several instructables.

Go to any of my tutorials,  go to last step "What next ?" and there you will see all the links as well ;)
Maybe some of it will help you.

Good luck with your project.

mipaterson (author)2017-05-21

what happens if some of the pieces are bigger than A4 and don't fit on a single sheet?

MatthewN32 (author)2017-03-29

Thanks dude, this really helps, but the software costs like 38 usd right now

blackholeseeker (author)2015-06-02

By the way, could you substitute construction paper, something common in craft sections, for cardstock?

krsiak (author)blackholeseeker2017-01-14

Sure, some bigger models there you could cardstock, you could print it out on regular paper, glue it to cardstock and go from there with some adjustments.

Brian the Snail (author)2016-07-09

Thanks for your help. I would like to start a pepakura project and I now know how to begin. I'm not surprised that this is a very popular instructable, it is concise, easy to follow and informative.

krsiak (author)Brian the Snail2017-01-14

Hi Brian and thanks for the kind words :) I am glad my instructable helped you to start with your project.

T-Tauri (author)2016-06-12

I read you can use paper mache, But can you do this with out the software?

krsiak (author)T-Tauri2017-01-14

Hi you need the software to get the base model. After that you can use paper mache to make it stronger.

Tsadi WawM (author)2016-04-16

Why are there things that are spread out over multiple pages on the internet?

Fiq_Hahah (author)2016-01-03

Can I use paper mache to make my pep solid?

krsiak (author)Fiq_Hahah2016-01-03

Definitely, i tried that once, worked for me. Test it on some smaller project to be sure.

kutubk (author)2015-12-06

How to print on cardboard. .?, its so hard .

krsiak (author)kutubk2015-12-07


I have no experience with that. Only office A4 sheet paper.

kutubk (author)krsiak2015-12-07

But a4 sheep paper is so soft.!! How to work with that..?

FreddyC9 (author)kutubk2015-12-22

Paste a4 sheet on your caardboard

wolftracker11 (author)2015-11-12

there are pictures on the outside of the pages that are needed to complete the model. How do I print them??

ladymda (author)2015-09-10

Great tutorial! This has helped me really understand pepakura, and now I can make some really cool costumes! Thanks:)

krsiak (author)ladymda2015-09-10

I am glad it helped :)

Donaldlay (author)2015-05-22

How to use it without printer ?

krsiak (author)Donaldlay2015-06-02


if you do not have printer at home. Take the design on USB drive and take it to downtown, there gotta be some place where they print out on demand.

vincent.nihouarn (author)2015-05-06


I am wondering how pepakura handles non-planar faces. I want to build the model with metal sheets that can't be bent. Do I have to triangulate the whole model to be sure that all faces are flat ? Is there an other way ? For example, how would you build a model like the Dragon_Priest _Mask with a material that can't be bent because I can see that most of the faces are not flat....

Thanks in advance,


LED forrest (author)2015-01-25

Do you think it would work if I laser cut balsa wood at all the joints and wood glood it

krsiak (author)LED forrest2015-01-25


why not. I guess you could use a pepakura perhaps as a shape, stencil, glue it on, and laser cut it. But to be honest I would not "mix" tow different "realms" or how to say it :) Pepakura is one, laser cutting is quite else. If I were you I would google and youtube more info on how to work with wood and stuff. As did I myself with one side project.

JoshuaW6 (author)2015-01-16

Hello, I'm new to this I just built an H1 halo helmet to see if I would like doing this. I didn't have the right stuff. I used manila folders no glue only tape, and it turned out ok. Now that I know the basics and that I like it I will be getting card stock and a glue gun. My question is does it matter where you start on the model? Should you start with number 1 on the edge idea or start with page one or does it not matter?

krsiak (author)JoshuaW62015-01-16


does not matter. Start where you feel the best. Some part are easy, some not so much. Prep couple parts and assemble.

JoshuaW6 (author)krsiak2015-01-17


PepPro (author)2014-03-20

Awesome!! Thank you for writing this! I just shared it on my blog:) I just started a site/blog over at I plan to build a pepakura community and offer an "all in one" place for info, resources, supplies, etc. If you're into pepakura/papercraft or whatever, drop by the new site! Thanks again for the awesome instructable!

krsiak (author)PepPro2014-03-20


thanks you like it and that you share it on your blog.

Robine007hawk (author)2013-09-26

i agree with you but non of them do any talk on size.... well thanks a lot bro... nice work.. you are doing great job. :)

Robine007hawk (author)2013-09-26

ok thank you.. and which setting i should choose to make it wearable for me?????

krsiak (author)Robine007hawk2013-09-26

complex question, almost impossible to answer just by looking at screenshot.
  • Depends how tall you are.
  • Size of your head obviously, hell even size of your nose :)
  • My 1st helmet was all good looking till I tried to put it on.
  • Damn big nose.

Head over here:
There are dozens of talented prop makers and same amount of tutorials on how to scale down / up your armor parts. I did this almost a year ago and I honestly barely remember my own settings :)

Check my tutorial if you need some basics:

And definitely check out this web + YT:
Robine007hawk (author)2013-09-24

i am a bit confused if these circled lines should be cut down or folded.. please help me out..

krsiak (author)Robine007hawk2013-09-24

P.S.: blue arrows = you need to move closer each part not just those 2 :)

Robine007hawk (author)2013-09-24

this one

krsiak (author)Robine007hawk2013-09-24


I see your issue, so little space, confusing I know :)

1.] Cut the "full" lines.
2.] Fold down the "dash dash dash" lines.

You will have very tiny flaps that you should glue from the bottom to the other side of your cut part.
And no it does not hold together well !

Cut out from spare paper a RECTANGLE shape, thin, longer. Hold the cut lines close to each other and glue your RECTANGLE from inside / bottom as a sort of patch.

You have Iron Man helmet I see. You need to "bend it" in shape to get the face part done.
Look at this (not mine) to get you started:

See my colourful image :)

*  yellow arrow , start cut
*  yellow line , cut along
*  green arrow , END your cut !
*  blue arrow = shows that you need to get these parts closer and glue flaps from bottom

SHIFT! (author)2013-01-12

Pretty good instructable on Pepakura viewer. I've been using the Designer program for years in terms of turning 3D models into papercrafts. While the program is very good for basic geometric shapes, I do find it somewhat limiting for much more complex models, such as having to declare cut lines, joining pieces, adding textures etc. It's fun but very time consuming!

krsiak (author)SHIFT!2013-01-12

Thanks for comment.

I use Designer when I print my model 1st time (scale, resize parts).
After that when I glue it I just use Viewer to look at what glue to which place.

SHIFT! (author)2013-01-12

You know, a great way to overcome the extremely slow and runny disadvantages with liquid glue, I've found, is to use Arleene's fast drying Tacky Glue. It gives the same precision as regular white glue, but at 1/2 the dry time.

krsiak (author)SHIFT!2013-01-12

I use the white liquid glue.
I found that using less amount dries faster which is easy to work with.

krsiak (author)2013-01-11

2.000+ views in 5 days !

My tutorial was FEATURED in category workshop 2 days ago.
Today on homepage !

Thanks for support guys :)

jbrecken (author)2013-01-11

How about a glue stick for the happy medium?

krsiak (author)jbrecken2013-01-11

I added 2 new screenshots in STEP 3.

Look at the one with glue, it show how narrow and thin is the part that you apply glue with.
That was the reason I chose this glue because you can easily get to smaller parts and details.

krsiak (author)jbrecken2013-01-11


I do not use GLUE STICK.
I find it less precise and it dries out to fast for my taste.

About This Instructable




Bio: Coding guy: web developer.
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