The Return of Toruk Makto - AVATAR Inspired Paper-cut Lightbox




Introduction: The Return of Toruk Makto - AVATAR Inspired Paper-cut Lightbox

Do you still remember Toruk from AVATAR movie (2009)? I really love that movie, and still amazed by how beautiful the creatures in Pandora in the film. One of them is Toruk, a great leonopteryx. This paper-cut lightbox was inspired by the scene where James Sully come back to Na'vi people as a Toruk Makto (Rider of Last Shadow).


  • 120g A5 paper. You can use up to 200g paper like watercolor paper
  • Vellum paper (additional: for Toruk's transparent part of the wings)
  • Cutting pen/cutter
  • Cutting mat
  • Foam core board / duplex board (0.5 cm in thickness)
  • Box frame
  • Led strip (the color I used is warm white)
  • Double tape
  • PVAc glue

Step 1: Design

I sketched this design using a pencil, but you can also customize your own design using an app such as Adobe Illustrator, CorelDraw, or Sketch. If you use those apps to design your shadow box, you can use another app to preview your design such as Paper Lightbox iOS on iPad Pro. Find further instructions to use this app here.

Back to manual sketch, I drew the overall design, how the final look of this paper cut, then determining the layers of the paper. I wanted to make the paper cut into 8 layers of paper, so then I drew the design of each layer on the paper and added a 1 cm border on every side of each layer. Fell free to use my design in this step.

Step 2: Cutting

When cutting the paper, I always start from the detail, the most difficult line. When cutting (for cutting pen), aim for one deep, clean pass for a spot (with extra scrap paper padding underneath). Using dull blades or trying to pull off parts that aren't completely cut can result in some ugly fuzzy tears.

Step 3: Adding Vellum Paper

The vellum paper was used to add a transparent effect in the paper-cut lightbox. When you make a paper-cut lightbox with river or lake scenery, vellum paper can be used as the water surface. In this project, I used it for the transparent wings of Toruk, and on the land to add transparent dust effect if that makes sense.

I used PVAc glue to stick the vellum paper to the backside of the main paper.

Step 4: Ayram Alusìng Meaning "Floating Mountains"

This is an addition to put behind the Toruk figure. Glue them behind an A5 paper behind Toruk layer (to give a blurry image of the mountains)

Step 5: Layers Arrangement and Installation

I made the spacers from a duplex board 0.5 cm in thickness. The spacer doesn't have to be in a rectangle shape. You can also cut it into a simple stick, like in this tutorial.

I placed the led strip to focus the light on the center of the lightbox. You can also attach the led strip on the box frame.

Step 6: Final

Now you have your own Toruk Makto scene in a lightbox for your home decor. Pat your self on the back! :)

Quinzy Varira | Instagram | TikTok

Shopee (Indonesia)

Shopee (Malaysia)

Shopee (Sinagpore)

Shopee (Thailand)

Shopee (Vietnam)

Shopee (Filipina)

Space Challenge

Participated in the
Space Challenge

Be the First to Share


    • Game Design: Student Design Challenge

      Game Design: Student Design Challenge
    • Big and Small Contest

      Big and Small Contest
    • For the Home Contest

      For the Home Contest