Introduction: Headless Horseman PaperBot

Say hello to our take on the Halloween Headless Robot papercraft for 2020 by Elana M.

Introducing the Headless Horseman PaperBot!

We have accessorized Headless Robot with a hobby horse, so the robot can ride, with or without his head, on Halloween night. As you follow the instructions, you can choose to turn your hobby horse into a rocking horse or a real robot by adding a PaperBot chassis (optional).


  • Printed Papercraft on # 80 Cardstock (You can download the PDF on the next step.)
  • Xacto knife
  • Scissors
  • Cutting mat
  • Ruler + Butter knife (Optional - for scoring the fold lines.)
  • Glue/Tape
  • Coins, beans, or small objects for balance adjustments
  • Drawing Supplies, pick one or more: crayons, colored pencils, markers, etc. (Optional - for Black and White PaperBot)
  • PaperBot Kit (Optional - if you want to ride with the headless horseman)

Step 1: Print + Cut Out the Headless Horseman PaperBot

Attached to this step are two PDF files patterns: one Headless Horseman PaperBot in color, and one Headless Horseman PaperBot in black and white. Get creative with the design by adding some color to the black and white pattern using various drawing supplies you may have on hand, such as crayons, colored pencils, or markers. Choose the one you'd like and print out the pattern at 100% on 11" X 17" white 80# cardstock paper for the best results.

Step 2: Cut Around All the Headless Horseman PaperBot Pieces

Allow yourself time to do this without hurrying, as haste makes waste. Adults, please supervise children on this step or whenever scissors are involved.

  • Cut around the outside edges of all the pieces.
  • The Xacto knife may work best around tighter corners, such as the tabs or the horse's tail.

Step 3: Pre-cut Inserts for Tabs on All Pieces

  1. Using a Xacto blade and ruler as a guide, make incisions along the tab insert lines(slits) within each piece.
  2. Cut over a hard surface, such as a cutting board.
  3. Test that the openings are able to open with the edge of the Xacto or butter knife.

Step 4: Prepare Fold Lines

  1. Using the dull edge of a butter knife and ruler as a guide, press along the fold lines that make up the inner square of the main body and the head.
  2. It is also helpful to do this along with the separation points of tabs, as well as, the feet and hands.

Step 5: Assemble the Legs and Shoes

    1. Roll each leg and insert tab, angling it into tab opening you pre-sliced with the Xacto knife.
    2. Note: You may need to adjust the width of the opening until the tab fits.
    3. Tape or glue to hold securely.
    4. Fold the pair of shoes in half so the pattern is sole of the shoe is facing out.
    5. Cut the slit between the two feet (which will be holding the horse's head). Place the feet sticking up at the base of the legs and insert the tabs from the outside into the leg slits.

    Step 6: Assemble and Fold the Body

    The main body has five flat faces, as there are folds below and behind the head opening and below the tie.

    • Fold the sides of the pre-indented square in the center of the body away from you.
    • Insert the side body tabs into the pre-sliced slots at the head. Again, you may need to adjust the openings to fit.

    Insert legs onto the body.

    • Insert the left and right pre-rolled legs into the corresponding slots below the torso suit buttons.
    • Tape or glue the leg tabs on the inside front torso.

    Step 7: Assemble the Arms

    • Fold each of the arms in half. If you want to have a headless horseman, pick the arm with the stem to hold the head aloft.
    • Insert arm tabs into left and right side slots on the body torso.

    Step 8: Assemble the Robot Head

    For this step, you have two options.

    For a PaperBot with a Head

    • Fold along the three inner sides of the face away from you.
    • Fold remaining long end to bring around to form the head cube.
    • The head can face any direction on the body. Your choice!
    • Insert and secure tabs into two (2) of the four (4) pre-sliced openings on the top of the body depending on the direction you want the pumpkin head to look.

    For a PaperBot holding its' Head

    • Attach to the top of the head to the arm with a long stem.

    Step 9: Choose Your Own Adventure

    Congratulations You're the proud creator of your own Headless Horseman! Unfortunately, he is missing his mode of transportation... The Horse. At this point, you can choose one of two paths to follow.

    Path One: Stand-alone

    The simplest path is to place and balance the Headless Horseman on its trusty steed. I refer to this as the stand-alone path (photo 1).

    Path Two: PaperBot Chassis

    It is a little known fact that you can convert most box and pyramid-shaped papercraft robots into real robots by adding a Humans for Robots PaperBot chassis. Drop the Headless Horseman papercraft onto a PaperBot chassis (photo 2) and you have an Arduino compatible robot (photo 3). Your robot can be controlled from your phone (photo 4), computer (photo 5), or programmed in the Arduino IDE for autonomous operation (photo 6). Add an IR sensor shield and you have a line follower (photo 8).

    Step 10: Assemble the Horse's Head

    Follow these steps for both paths.

    1. Fold the two sides together, pattern out.
    2. Cut the angled slot at the base of the horse's neck.
    3. Insert the head between the feet so that the feet slit and neck slit intersect and lock.

    Step 11: Assemble the Hobby Horse

    Depending on the path you have chosen, you will now position the horse high and flush with the bottom edge of the robot position (Paperbot chassis use) or a lower, supportive position (Stand-alone).

    Path One: Stand-alone Headless Horseman

    1. Insert the lower tab from the inside to the outside of the robot side body lowest slit. Pull taut and secure with tape or glue (photo 1).
    2. Insert the upper two tabs from the outside into the two slits along the middle horizontal black line on the robot body (photo 2).

    Path Two: PaperBot Chassis

    1. Following this path, the horse will rest right under the arms (photo 4). First, insert the lower tab from the outside of the robot body into the slit along the horizontal black line running along the bottom edge of the body.
    2. Insert the upper two tabs from the outside into the two slits, one under and one adjacent to the arm.

    Step 12: It's Rocking or Rolling

    The end or is it just the beginning of the adventure?

    Finalize your preferred pose of the Headless Horseman PaperBot by gluing the tabs in place. Add other papercraft friends to your collection. Add scenery. Depending on the path you are one, the next step is to balance your hobby horse so it can rock, or add the PaperBot Chassis.

    Path One: Stand-alone Headless Horseman
    If you configure your Headless Horseman as a stand-alone papercraft, you may have already discovered that instead of rocking back and forth it just falls forward. To get your headless horseman rocking, you will need to change its center of mass.

    Place coins or other small objects on the inside of the body. Experiment with the weight and positioning until the robot is balanced (not falling forward or backward). To balance my headless horseman I needed to tape 4 quarters to the back inside of the body.

    Once balanced he is ready to rock (photo 1). Now for the roll part...

    Path Two: PaperBot Chassis

    Drop the Headless Horseman papercraft onto the PaperBot chassis.

    Cut a small rectangle in the back of the papercraft to provide access to the switch and USB connector.

    Add two (2) paperclips on either side of the rectangle to secure the Headless Horseman to the PaperBot chassis.

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