How to Use Pepakura

Introduction: How to Use Pepakura

 Pepakura (often referred to as "Pep") is a program that creates buildable papercraft models. Using 3 dimensional data, Pepakura allows the model to be unfolded to a flat template to be cut, folded, and glued together. Pepakura accepts a range of 3D file extensions, and can save files in its native extension (.pdo).

Step 1: Download Pepakura

To download Pepakura, you will need to visit Pepakura's website

Select "Download" from the left. Once on the download page, select Pepakura Designer. Follow the download and installation instructions on that page.

Step 2: Download the Armor Files

There are several people who have made downloadable armor files. You can find them at the Pepakura File Index and at the - Pepakura Download Database.

Step 3: Opening a .pdo File

  1. Open up the Pepakura Designer program.
  2. Once Pepakura Designer is open, select "Open" under the "File" tab.
  3. Find the file that you will be printing out and open it.
  4. From here you should see two windows. The one on the left is the 3D model you opened. The window on the right is where the unfolded pieces will appear.

Step 4: Remove Face Color

You can save ink by turning off the gray fill color that may be enabled. The color isn't necessary, as you won't see it when your piece is finished. Simply click the "BothWindows" tab at the top, and un-check "Use materials for faces". This should turn your model white, as well as all of the pieces shown on the right.

Sometimes the option is already unchecked. If it is, this step is not needed.

Step 5: Changing Paper Size

If you are using a file formatted for A4 paper, then you might need to change it to letter format. To change the page configuration from A4 to letter:

  1. Select the "File" tab and select "Print and Paper Configuration".
  2. Change the paper size to letter from A4.
  3. You should also change the margins as low as possible. 10 is a good number.
If you have an A4 printer this step is not needed.

Step 6: Scale Your Printout

The term Scaling is referring to how big Pepakura will make the finished model. If scaling is off, your finished model could be to big or to small. Most of the newer models are already scaled properly for someone about 6' tall.

Step 7: The Scaling Formula

You can use this formula to determine how big you should make your armor: The Master Chief is 7'2" tall (86 inches).

  1. Find out your height in inches.
  2. Add 4-6 inches to that(If you don't,your armor will not fit)
  3. Divide your height by 86. (xx / 86 = x.xxxxx)
  4. Take the number you found in step 3, and multiply it by the current scale (usually around 31.9).
  5. Go to Pepakura Designer, open the .pdo file, and go to the "scale" and then "scale factor".
  6. Enter the number you found in step 4 in the "scale" box.

Note: Keep in mind: the size of the default scale that's in use before you edit is from the base of the ground to the top outside of MC's helmet. You don't really want the top of your head to be touching the top of the inside of the helmet if you expect it to fit right. So you may want to add two or three inches to your actual height before doing the math. This may help other areas as well, where it could come through a bit tight. After you print, double check that all flaps have numbers on them. Also, print a Bicep with the scaling you have decided for yourself to make sure that it fits properly. It is much easier to make a bicep than it is a helmet.

You could also go to the following link for pepakura file scaling methods;

How To Scale Your Armour-Tutorial

Each method in the above link is desinged to help you scale your pepakura armour with ease and great accuracy.

Step 8: Rearranging Layout


Since letter and A4 paper are different sizes, the pieces will usually not fit after you change the paper size. You will need to re-align them to fit on the pages.

First, get rid of the 3D window, so that you will have more room to re-arrange the pieces. Select the "Configuration" tab, and click on "Show Only 2DPatternWindow".

To space the patterns out, you'll need to use the "Select and Move" tool. You can select it in the right-click menu. Now, arrange all of the piece so they all fit on the pages, and don't overlap. You can put as many pieces on one page as you can without overlap, but some space aids in cutting it out.


Using only the "Select and Move" tool, you can arrange all of the pieces. However, if you don't want to waste paper, you can use the "Rotate Part" tool to arrange the pieces closer, and conserve paper.

To use the "Rotate Part" tool, select it in the right-click menu. Now when you click on a piece, small circles will appear on its vertexes. Select a pivot vertex. There should now be a cross hair on it. Now, click and drag another vertex in order to spin the piece.

Position your parts to your satisfaction.

Step 9: Pepakura Printing Settings

After you have the paper resized, and the patterns re-aligned, you should be able to print. There are a few more things that you may want to change before printing though.


You can change whether or not there are flaps (which are used to tape or glue one pattern to the other), color the flaps, or change the width of the flaps.

Edge ID

You can turn on or off the Edge ID- it's a number that helps you match adjacent edges. From here you can also flip the ID position and change the font size. Size 6 font will reduce the chance of numbers overlapping.

Line Style

Here you can edit appearance of your line, if it is a Cut Line, Mountain Line (outside fold) or Valley Line (inside fold). Knowing the overall look of your Mountain and Valley lines will help you know whether you are folding out or folding in. If you are not satisfied with the line type defaults, you can also change them to your preference.

Step 10: Print

Before you print it, you may want to do the following:

1. Download PrimoPDF and install.

2. This will create a virtual printer that, when printed to, creates PDF files.

3. Print your PEP pages to that printer and create the file.

4. Open the PDF file.

5. Select all tab numbers on page one and copy/paste them to NotePad.

6. Fix the numbers so they show up one tab number per line.

7. copy this list to Excel, or Open Office (Free), so you get something like this:

 1|   |   |   |   |   |   | <--Page Numbers
 5|   |   |   |   |   |   |
13|   |   |   |   |   |   |
99|   |   |   |   |   |   |
55|   |   |   |   |   |   | <--- Tabs on that page
43|   |   |   |   |   |   |
12|   |   |   |   |   |   |
etc....   |   |   |   |   |

8. The first line is the page number, the other numbers are the tab numbers on that page.

9. repeate steps 5 to 7 until you get a spreadsheet with one column per PDF page.

10. When you are locating the tabs, all you have to do is CTRL-F, enter the tab number, and you will know on what page its on.

Check it one last time, and maybe again.. then print it.

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    21 Discussions


    8 years ago on Step 3

    Is it just me or does anybody else think 'pedophile' is not a good choice of file format name?


    Reply 4 years ago

    maybe he should move to america

    can some on please help me i am trying to make a master cheif helmet but i cant seem to get the file on to pepakura i have also tried to get the file from other sites but it still didn't work......................................................PLEAS SOME ON HELP!!!!!


    7 years ago on Step 3

    I think that every time lol.


    7 years ago on Step 7

    You might want to change this section of SCALING. #4 should read "number found in STEP 3" not step 2. That is a little confusing and I only figured that out by looking at OTHER resizing info. ALSO, in #2 you might want to put the formula in parentheses as at first reading it looked like you wanted me to do 86.74/86= because of the PERIOD.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    among other things, I imagine building the gnarliest Gundam models outta this baby!


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I know Pepakura runs (to a degree) under WINE on Linux, but does anybody know of a native application that will do this?


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Can you import 3d models from sketchup, and then convert it to papercraft? I also foun a super cool pop-up card designer on their website!


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    There is a sketchup plugin called "unfold" that you can use to unfold a 3d design within sketchup.

    Caelestis Cosplay
    Caelestis Cosplay

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

     Yes you can! :) You can also import from blender or 3d studio max :)

    Best Regards Michael


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    So, what if you import a model with round sides? Does it "paperize" it and substitute, like, 3 folds for it?

    Landon Sullivan
    Landon Sullivan

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    No, sorry! You can either run it through Bootcamp or a similar program, or convert the .pdo files that you download to .pdf files that can be read with Adobe Reader. There is a tutorial on the 405th website@, but I don't remember where it is. :P Check the stickies on the forums.