3D Cardboard Gun Model




Introduction: 3D Cardboard Gun Model

This tutorial will teach you how to build a gun model out of one of the cheapest, most applicable resources out there: Cardboard. I started building these for an independent art project in my school art class, and have made about seven. I thought that I had come up with a cool approach to 3D modeling, so I decided to make an instructable. Here it goes...


  • Sheets of cardboard, big enough to make your gun design
  • Hot glue gun & hot glue gun sticks
  • X-acto knife
  • Scissors
  • Letter Opener
  • Other tools (hole puncher, box cutter, etc.)

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Step 1: Design

To start your gun design, your going to want to pick a template. In the example, I will be using a Borderland 2 pistol.

Once you find your image, draw a small, 2D sketch of any adjustments or changes you want to make included. You are then going to scale this up to life-size, and draw it onto your sheet of cardboard.

Step 2: Peices

You are now going to want to re-draw your initial drawing onto the cardboard sheets, excluding any interior lines. After you have it drawn, you can cut it out, either with scissors, or with an x-acto knife. If you decide to use the knife, I would recommend sawing back and forth as it allows for more finite movements.

Step 3: More Pieces...

After cutting out your first outline, trace it again onto your cardboard. If you are using thick cardboard like me, than I would recommend two "full" layers. If you are using thiner cardboard, you may need four to five layers.

Notice how there is a gap where the trigger would be, and a gap in the top, which I will use later.

Step 4: Even More Pieces...

Now that you have you two base layers, you will trace more, while gradually dropping parts of the cutout. In this model, I want the handle to be the thinnest part, so I will drop that first. Make sure to do at least two of each new layer. One for each side.

Step 5: Putting Them Together

As you can see, I have made two new layers, totaling six pieces. Now you are ready to glue them together. Set up your hot glue gun, and glue one side to another, making sure that they are in order, and that the unmarked side of the cutout faces out.

Step 6: Comfortability

Now that you have your gun, you can physically hold it, and it is ready to improve. The first thing that I usually like to do is add another handle layer. You can cut out a small pad from a scrap piece of cardboard.

Step 7: Smoothness

Now it is time to add a little style to your gun. I am choosing to use a standard toilet paper roll, and a paper towel role to decorate the barrel. Another thing I like to do is to make all of the edges look smooth and put together.

You can do this by taking off the thin surface material of the cardboard using a letter opener.

Step 8: Finishing the Base

With your new cardboard-paper, you can cut it down and into the correct shape to fit around the exposed edges of your gun. I also like to wrap it around the smaller pieces of my gun, like the knobs on the back.

Step 9: Decorations

Now you should have a life-size 3D gun model of the gun of your choosing. Now its time to add a little texture to the gun. You can add as much, or as little as needed. in this example I go for less, and only add a few things.

Step 10: Ta-Da!

Now that you have completed you weapon, you can make whatever adjustments you want to it, and then hang it up, or put it in a bin somewhere. This technique can be used for guns of any size. Here are a few model examples that I have previously built. Thank you!

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