Introduction: 3D Cardboard Deer

Today we are going to teach you how to make a 3D cardboard deer, using a limited amount of materials.

You can follow are specific directions to create this exact animal or modify some steps to create any animal of your choose.

We hope that you enjoy making this and have fun!


  • paper
  • pencils
  • lots of cardboard
  • a box knife or a X-Acto knife
  • cutting mat
  • ruler
  • string

Step 1: Sketching the Deer

Start out by sketching a deer from different perspectives. Once you sketched a few, use one sketch that will show how you want the individual cardboard pieces to form into your animal, using just a single line to represent a piece of cardboard. Use this sketch to figure out the dimensions and other details you plan to put into your 3D deer.

Step 2: Cutting Out the Outline

Once you have finished sketching, you can start drawing out the outline of a deer on a piece of cardboard. The outline should NOT include the legs, ears, antlers, or a tail. The dimensions of the whole deer should be about 38 inches long and 13 inches tall at the tallest point. The head should be 7 inches long and 5 1/2 inches tall at highest point. It should be an outline from the side view of the deer. Once you are satisfied with your shape, begin to use a box knife to cut it out.

*Tip: to create a clean cut go over your pencil line multiple times with the knife, applying more pressure each time.

After you have cut out the outline of the deer, put the cut out deer on another piece of cardboard and trace it with a pencil (make sure to hold the two outlines together with tape after completed to ensure they are the exact same size). Then you can cut out this outline.

Step 3: Making Slits

Now you are going to create 20 slits, evenly spaced out down the deer. Start by drawing vertical lines about 1 ½ to 2 inches apart all down the deer. The lines should go from the top of the deer to half way down the body(the measurements vary depending on the different parts of the deer).

Next, make the lines into very skinny rectangles (about a centimeter wide but it will also depend on cardboard size). Then use the box knife to cut out these rectangles.

Place the outline with slits over the other your second outline and trace the the slits onto the other deer. Now, cut out the slits on the other deer. Make sure to hold them up on top of each other to ensure the slits are accurate.

After you do this you should have two cardboard deers with 20 slits cut out on each.

Step 4: Giving the Body Volume

Now you are going to create the body of the deer, by making circles you will help give the deer volume. For the first slit's circle you want to measure the length from the top of the slit to the bottom of the deer, it should be about 1 ½ inches long. On the first circle, you will want the circle to be about a ½ inch above the top of the deer and about a ¼ of an inch from the bottom, this circle's diameter should be around 2 inches. Next, on the cardboard draw a line that is 2 inches long.

This is when you will use string, the string will help you make a circle. Tie a piece of string to a pencil that is 2 inches long to another pencil. Once you have that place one pencil in the middle of the line you made earlier on the cardboard, then draw a circle. The string should help make all sides even.

Once you have finished drawing the circle and have cut it out, make two slits in the center (which will eventually attach to the body of the deer) these two slits will be just like the ones in the body. Except you will want these two slits to be 1 ½ inches apart.

After you finish cutting out the slit you can attach it to the body by sliding it on to your first slit on the head. Repeat this steps for each circle but change the measurements according to the size.

*Tip: you can fix each circle till you are satisfied with the shape (make it smaller, wider, skinner, etc.)

*Another tip: on your 5 or 6 circle cut out ears that are attached to the circle

Step 5: It Is Time to Make the Legs

Now you will begin to make the legs. Start with the back left leg. This leg will be 18 inches tall and 6 ½ inches wide (at the widest part). Draw the leg on a piece of cardboard, and cut it out.

Take the cut out leg and hold it up to the circles 17, 18, and 19. Now, with a pencil make a mark of where to cut the slits, according to the circles. Now, cut the slits. Afterwords, trace the leg onto a piece of cardboard. Now, draw a smaller leg within the outline and cut the smaller leg. Place them on top of each other and cut slits on the smaller leg according to the slits on the bigger leg. Now slide both legs stacked on top of each other onto the circles that you lined up the slits with.

Repeat these steps for the rest of the legs. Follow according to the photo for dimensions and shapes of the rest of the legs.

Step 6: Adding in Antlers and Other Details

Now it is time to make the antlers! First, draw your antler on a piece of cardboard. It should be about a 10 to 12 inches tall and it should have 3 to 4 points. Now, cut it out. At the bottom of your antler, cut a small slit (a centimeter wide and an inch and a half tall). You can now place the antler on the deer by sliding the slit into the circle with the deer’s ear on it.

Repeat this for the other side. You can also create more dimension by drawing out another point and making it attach to the antlers. Attach it by creating a slit to connect the two pieces of cardboard.

Feel free to make this deer your own by drawing in small details such as eyes, nose, etc. You may also paint it.

Step 7: You Have Finished!

Congratulations you have finished your 3D cardboard deer!!

We hope you enjoyed making this deer and had fun!