Introduction: 3D Duck Papercraft Model

About: Welcome to Verticees Papercraft. I am specialized in paper model design. You can view all my work at my website:, or at my Etsy shop, Thanks for viewing!

As you've seen in some of my recent works, I've had a trend for creating paper models of threatened animals. In this Instructable, I sort of break from the trend by releasing a papercraft of an animal that's not exactly endangered: the duck.

This duck paper craft is life-size, and significantly smaller/easier to make than my previous two models. Because of its small size, it can easily be displayed on any desk or shelf. Also, there are many duck species, meaning many colors. This paper craft model comes in white, so you have the opportunity to print in colors to create whatever variation you want. This papercraft is perfect for anyone, whether they're a lover of the outdoors, an experienced duck hunter, or just looking for some room decor. Whether you want to give the model as a gift to someone or just enjoy making papercrafts, this model is for you.

To purchase the PDF Pack for this model for only $2.99, visit this link:

The PDF Pack contains one Letter Sized PDF Template, one A4 Sized PDF Template, and one Instruction Guide PDF for this model.

Step 1: Materials

There are three ESSENTIAL elements to this project:

Glue: I'm using Aleene's Quick Dry Tacky Glue, which bonds pieces of paper together in around 30 seconds. However, any tacky glue will be fine, but don't try to use a glue stick. It will leave a sticky mess on your hands which will get on the paper whenever you handle it.

Paper: Good quality cardstock is also a must. I'm using acid and lignin free cardstock from Michaels. It has a 65lb or 176g/m^2 weight. For those of you who are thinking of using copy paper, it's not going to work. You are welcome to try it, but I can assure you that you will be disappointed, or left with a very flimsy elephant.

Scissors or Knife: I personally prefer to use my stainless steel scissors for cutting out the pieces. If you choose to use an X-acto knife, you'll need a ruler to make sure all the cuts are straight.

While those are the essentials, here are some optional, but very helpful items:

Ruler and Scoring Tool: To make folds neat and clean, I highly advise the use of a ruler and scoring tool. The scoring tool I used is a mechanical pencil WITHOUT ANY LEAD. By using the ruler to make a straight path while you run the tip of the pencil over the lines, you can make very crisp, professional folds. If you use lead in the pencil, you won't be able to distinguish the different folds, so make sure your pencil has no writing capabilities! However, any object with a blunt, yet precise tip can be used for scoring.

Tweezers: Tweezers are useful for holding flaps that need to be glued while you wait for them to dry. They are particularly helpful in the tusks. I didn't use mine in this project, but when they were needed, they are certainly helpful.

Toothpicks: Like the ruler and scoring tool, I highly recommend you keep around 20 or so toothpicks with you. I used them for spreading the glue around the flaps once I put on a drop. The toothpicks help spread the glue evenly and avoid excess glue from oozing out when the flap is pressed to the paper. Once again, highly recommended.

Note: Normally, I recommend clear packing tape as well. However, it was not necessary in this papercraft because the model was small enough that it was very stable in its finished condition. Thus, the tape is not needed. I also used a vinyl work mat to protect the flooring in my house.

Step 2: Printing

In case you haven't already, you'll need to purchase the PDF Pack for this papercraft. You can purchase the PDF Pack for this papercraft on Etsy here (2.99 USD):

Next, you're going to need the right kind of paper. Cardstock is your best choice to make this model sturdy and long lasting. I am using 65lb, or 176 g/m^2 cardstock.

This model is split into two parts, the body and the bill (beak). The first 6 pages of the PDF are of the body, and the last page is for the bill. Thus, when you print, choose your colors and stack them accordingly. In the particular model I am making in this Instructable, I chose a standard color set: an orange bill and a white body. Therefore, the first 6 pages were white, and the last page was orange. Remember that this is an art piece, and you can use any colors you want.

Step 3: Cutting

The first step in making this model is cutting out all the pieces. When cutting, only cut on the solid lines. Also, cut on this lines, not on the outsides of the lines. I prefer to cut out all my pieces at once.

IMPORTANT: Unlike my other models, this model does not have modular assembly. Modular assembly is the process of building individual parts, and then putting the parts together to create the final protect (in the elephant, for example, the modules are the trunks, ears, tusks, and head). In this model however, everything is built continuously. It starts from the bill and moves on until everything is done. Therefore, the pages in this duck model are organized according to this. Pages are sorted by their continuation to the previous page. For example, all pieces on the Body 5 page are connected to the pieces on the Bill page. Once you cut out a page, make sure you cut out the label of the page name. Keep all pieces in a page together. This expedites the assembly process greatly, because it greatly reduces the amount of time spent on finding a matching piece for an edge or flap. When assembling, the order is as follows: Bill --> Body (5) --> Body (4) --> Body (3) --> Body (2) --> Body (1) --> Base. The steps in this Instructable follow this pattern.

As you can see in the pictures above, I kept all the parts together according to page, and I left the page name below each pile to keep track.

Step 4: Scoring

This step is optional, but highly recommended. Scoring all the folding lines creates sharper folds, and a cleaner look to the overall model. To score, align a ruler along each of the lines, and then drag your scoring tool along the lines. For a scoring tool, you can use a mechanical pencil without lead (just don't expect to use the pencil as a pencil again). This process is very tedious, but its purpose is effective, which is why I do it in all my models.

Step 5: Folding

This is the final step before gluing all the pieces together. In folding, there are two types: mountain folds and valley folds. When holding the paper with the printed side facing towards you, mountain folds are folds that move the crease towards you, while valley folds move the crease away. From a side view, the mountain folds create a peak (a mountain) and the valley fold creates a dip (a valley). The pictures above highlight this difference.

Short dashed lines represent valley folds. The inconsistently dashed lines (one long dash followed by a short dash) represent mountain folds. In this model, there are far more valley folds than mountain folds. When folding, make sure you fold directly on the line, following the scored lines you made in the last step. Fold page by page, making sure that your pieces stay organized.

Step 6: The Bill

We begin the assembly process with the bill. Start by gathering all the pieces in the "Bill" pile, and pushing the other piles to the side (being sure not to disturb their organization). Get your glue and a toothpick.

First, grab any piece from the pile, and find another piece that has a matching number. When gluing, glue edges with flaps that have the same number. To apply glue to a flap, add a small dot, and spread it out using a toothpick. This process prevents excess glue from dripping over the sides when contact is made.

There are certain parts of the bill, particularly at the front, that contain very small parts. I attached an image of a close up of the intersection of the three smallest flaps in the model.

When you finish with the bill, you can move on to the rest of the model.

Step 7: Body 5

For this step, you'll need the bill from the previous step and the pieces from the Body (5) pile. Using the same process from the bill, start gluing pieces together, according to their edge numbers. I did not show every single piece being glued together due to a large amount of pieces. However, I did show the gradual process of the model being made. The last image shows what the model looks like after the entire page has been assembled.

Step 8: Body 4

As always, keep adding pieces according to matching edge-flap numbers. After the finished of the Body 4 pile, you will begin to notice that the duck model is starting to take shape, and is even able to stand up on its own (see the pictures above).

Step 9: Body 3

Grab pile Body 3. When adding the pieces from this pile, you will notice some more stress on the model when assembling. This is because the model is taking more shape with the addition of these pieces. By now, the duck model has a clear, sturdy shape and is capable of standing.

Step 10: Body 2

With the finishing of the Body 2 pile, majority of the model is finished. The end of this pile marks the end of the rested wings location. For the most part, the model now has a fully defined shape, and is almost finished. Just hold on a little more, the final pile is up next.

Step 11: Body 1

This is the final pile in the model, leaving only the base to be attached. Body 1 closes off the model, creating a tapered off duck tail. The model can now freely stand.

Step 12: Base

The final step before finishing the model is to add the base of the model. However, there is an important (optional) tip I have for you:

Normally, this model is completely closed off, creating a sealed volume of air on the inside. Thus, when the temperature of the air outside changes, the pressure of the air inside also changes, resulting in possible warping of the model. Thus, a good idea is to create a decent sized hole in the model, and what better place to put it than in the base? While the base is on the ground, it creates enough of a vent to allow air to enter/leave based on pressure differences. The hole also allows for you to fix any future dents that are made in the model, without having to tear the model open.

To make the hole, I traced out the bottom of my glue bottle, and then cut it out with an X-Acto Knife.

When gluing in the base, try to glue as many flaps as once and assemble the entire piece at once. It should fit snugly into place. With this, you're done with the entire model!

Step 13: Conclusion

Congrats if you successfully made this piece. I enjoy this piece the most out of all my works because it is simple and easy to make, but just as beautiful.

I hope you enjoyed making my papercraft. If you make it, I would appreciate you posting a comment with a picture of your finished creation. If you need help, you can PM me or comment a picture of your problem, as it is possible that others are having the same problem as you.

The beauty of this piece is in its small size. Because it is around the same size as a real duck, it can be appreciated as a life-size work of art. It can also be displayed on any desk or table, and can be easily stored. It may even be useful as a decoy (but don't take my word on it). If you have any other ideas for displaying or using this model, feel free to comment them.

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