3-D Paper Dragons! (From Recycled Paper)

Using a technique I thought up one night while making pop up cards, you can turn old homework assignments into cool dragons! This is done by a series of reversing every other cut as you will soon understand. As this is my first instructable, it might be confusing at times so I recommend watching the video. I would very much appreciate suggestions so I can make better quality demos in the future. Also I have entered this "ible" into the paper craft, and trash to treasures contests, so please vote!

Formalities aside, read on!

scissors- I prefer nail scissors because they are great for maneuvering small precise cuts.

paper- you can use brand new construction paper, or any other paper, but why kill trees when you can use paper from the recycling bin.

pencil- this is optional but I highly recommend drawing out a outline as it makes the cutting so much easier.

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Step 1: Outline

First fold paper in half "hot-dog" style.
Next draw an outline of you desired shape of dragon, in the pictures I have showed an example of a generic dragon shape, but this step is entirely customize-able.

If you decide to add legs, make sure they are the same distance from the fold of the paper so the dragon will stand level, as with the picture (Note the dotted line).

Next, at the body and the head, lightly draw an outline of how wide you want your dragon to be. This will be used as a gauge when cutting the slits. The tail and neck don't need an outline as you will cut to the line at those parts. Also a line farther away from the fold will result in longer slits, resulting in a wider dragon. If confused, watch the video, and/or look at the picture. the tail and neck don't need an outline as you will cut to the line at those parts.

Step 2: Making the Cuts

Start making small parallel cuts on the fold of the paper about 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch apart perpendicular to the fold ending each cut at the body outline. Continue making these cuts from end to end. See the picture for guidance.

Step 3: Cutting the Outline

To avoid having the dragon fall into a couple hundred pieces you need to avoid the cuts. To do this cut through both halves of the paper and as you cut keep at 1/8 to 1/4 inch away from all the main outline cut your dragon out. See the picture for guidance.

Step 4: Reversing the Cuts

This step takes a lot of patience, so be prepared.
Take a mechanical pencil and carefully extend the lead about an inch. Or you can use a long thin object, it just has to be less than 1/8 inch thick.
Reverse the fold of every other cut using the pencil or thin object.
Crease all folds to make them sharp and professional. For this step it is almost necessary to watch the video as it clears up everything.

Step 5: Done

Thanks for reading my first "ible". I home you enjoyed this and comment, like, vote, and make on!

Papercraft Contest 2017

Participated in the
Papercraft Contest 2017

Trash to Treasure Contest 2017

Participated in the
Trash to Treasure Contest 2017

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    5 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Oh and I think the "reversing" could also be called mountain fold one cut area, then valley fold one cut area, then mountain fold, etc. That is for ppl who are more used to Origami, which popups are considered to be (origami architecture). The comment and picture from knopfling brings in an interesting secondary treatment of the paper cuts, allowing the possibility of actually 2 designs from the same cut by sort of double folding each cut..


    2 years ago

    Very nice and it could be applied to so many different shapes, beings, and unusual designs. Although, I must say, it takes plenty of patience to do the unfolding/folding. Great job though.


    2 years ago

    Ok I think I understand the reversing now. I thought you meant something different. I try to attach a photo.