How to Make a Paper Craft: Paper Craft Basic Techniques




Introduction: How to Make a Paper Craft: Paper Craft Basic Techniques

In this Instructable we will make a tutorial about the how to make a paper crafts using some basic techniques listed as following :

  • Paper Mach
  • Decoupage
  • Paper Cutting and Collage
  • Stamping
  • Stenciling
  • Working With Cardboard

we will discuses each of then individually in the following steps

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Step 1: Paper Mach

Paper-Mach is the art of modelling with torn or shredded paper bound together with glue. usually a water-based type. The techniques are quickly mastered and offer endless variation. Almost any object can be used as a mold for Paper-Mach, although round objects are easier to cover smoothly if the mold is to be removed later. Bowls and large dishes are excellent. wire mesh shapes can be molded to produce any number of interesting shapes, and structures made from cardboard, known as armatures, can also be covered. You can use Paper-Mach pulp to make bowls or to build up sculpted images. just push it into shape with your hands or a stiff paintbrush. Drying may take several days. To make your own paper pulp. tear five sheets of newspaper in to 2.3 cm (1 in) squares and place in a saucepan. Cover with water and simmer for 30 minutes, Spoon the paper and water into a blender and process to a pulp. Transfer the pulp to a lidded plastic box and store until required (it will keep for several weeks). When ready to use, add 2½ tablespoons PVA (white) glue and 1 tablespoon each wallpaper paste. plaster of Paris and linseed oil and stir vigorously.


  1. Tearing rather than cutting newspaper creates less obvious joins between strips. Newspaper has a grain and will tear much more easily in one direction than the other. Generally, the grain runs from the top to the bottom of the newspaper. If you try to tear against the grain, it becomes impossible to control.
  2. To make paper strips, grasp several folded sheets of newspaper in one hand. Begin to tear about 2.5 cm (1 in) from the edge, along the grain. Pull directly down, and the paper will tear into long, straight strips. Strips of almost any width can be produced this way.


  • Before applying Paper-Mach to a mold, the surface must be lightly greased with petroleum jelly to create a barrier between the glue and the mold, preventing the Paper-Mach from sticking to it. It will then be easy to remove the Paper-Mach when it has dried. Cling film (plastic wrap) can sometimes be used Instead.


  • Cover large molds with five to six layers of paper strips, 2.5 cm (1 in) wide. Spread the strips with PVA (white) glue on both sides and lay them individually in the greased mold from top to bottom, The strips should protrude slightly beyond the mold. Lay the second and third layers at right angles to the first. Smooth each strip with your fingers and press out any air bubbles.


  1. When the surface of the paper in the mold is dry, gently pull back the edge and, if it seems almost dry underneath, insert a blunt knife and gently pries (pry) the paper away from the mold. Leave the Paper-Mach upside down to dry completely.
  2. Trim the raw edge from the paper shape using scissors. Following the indent of the edge of the mold to ensure an accurate curve. To prevent the layers of paper from coming apart, bind the edges of the shape using thin strips of newspaper.


  • Paper-Mach objects such as picture frames and wall panels should be dried flat after sealing to prevent warping. Place the object on a wire cake rack or a sheet of thin plastic the glue will stick to the plastic as It dries, but the plastic can easily be peeled away once the Paper-Mach is dry.


  1. You can make a three-dimensional mold using heavy corrugated cardboard and covering it with Paper-Mach. Measure each piece of the framework carefully, and glue and tape it in place to make it sturdy and durable. Brush the framework with diluted PVA (white) glue to seal the surface and leave to dry
  2. Cover the sealed framework with Paper-Mach strips, applying each layer at right angles to the previous one. About five layers will disguise the corrugations and make a strong object. Place the framework on a wire cake rack in a warm place to dry naturally; speeding up the drying can cause the Paper-Mach to warp.


  1. Form Plasticine into the desired shape. Lightly grease it with petroleum jelly then cover with thin strips of newspaper dipped in diluted PVA (white) glue; five layers should be sufficient, Allow it to dry thoroughly.
  2. Draw a cutting line all around the edge of the shape. Using a craft knife, cut slowly around the shape to divide It n half. Gently separate the Plasticine from each paper shell.
  3. Fit the paper halves together, matching the cut edges exactly. Join them using masking tape and cover the join with three layers of thin Paper-Mach strips.


  1. Before you paint Paper-Mach. the surface should always be prepared properly, especially If it is made from newspaper. Smooth the surface with fine-grade sandpaper, disguising the edges of the paper strips. Wear a protective face mask when sanding.
  2. Prime the Paper-Mach with two coats of white paint, allowing it to dry between coats, This conceals the newsprint and provides a good ground for the decoration. Emulsion (latex), poster or powder paints all work well, If the decoration is to be acrylic paint, use this also for priming.

Step 2: Decoupage

Decoupage is a way of decorating almost any object or surface with cut out pieces of paper. The raw materials for decoupage are all around us: magazines, greetings cards, wrapping paper. postcards and illustrated catalogues are there waiting to be cut out.

Surfaces for decoupage need to be clean, dry and smooth. Clean metal with a solution of equal parts of water and vinegar; old metal items will need rubbing with wire (steel) wool first, Lightly sand wood surfaces, then wipe with white spirit (paint thinner. Wipe down glass and ceramics to remove grease and dirt. Porous surfaces should be scaled with mart emulsion (latex) paint


  • Before cutting out an image, it is a good idea to seal it with a coat of shellac, Gift wrap. color or black and white photocopies or one-off (one of a kind) pictures all benefit from this treatment. Shellac also stiffens delicate images, making them easier to cut out and prevents discoloration.


  1. Exactly how you cut out will often depend on the shape and size of the selected images. Sometimes it is easier to first cut out shapes roughly using large scissors. leaving a generous margin around the image.
  2. Cut around the edge of the image with a smaller pair of scissors. For delicate images, hold the paper in your hand and rotate it as you cut the curves. Always use a ruler to tear straight edges. To cut out internal unwanted paper and very intricate designs. you may prefer to use a craft knife with a cutting mat.


  1. Arrange the cut out images on the background surface. Using blobs of Low-tack reusable adhesive allows you to experiment with different arrangements without damaging or wasting the images.
  2. When you are happy with the arrangement, glue the motifs on to the background using PVA (white) glue diluted with a little water. Some people prefer to use wallpaper paste, as it is slippery when wet, allowing the images to be easily slid into position.
  3. Use a pair of tweezers to pick up delicate images. Place them In position, press down and rub over them with your fingers or a soft cloth to get rid of any air bubbles and excess glue. Wipe off any excess glue with a damp cloth, Allow to dry.


  1. Varnish the finished decoupage to protect It. Apply up to 12 coats of clear varnish, lightly sanding between each coat once it has dried in a dust-free environment.
  2. To age an object and to blend the colors, you can paint on a stained varnish such as antique pine or oak. To eliminate any brushstrokes, rub off the excess stain by lightly dabbing a clean cloth all over. Finally, apply a wax polish to give a deep satin finish.

Step 3: Paper Cutting and Collage

Paper cutting and collage are not complicated crafts, but sonic practice will improve your cutting and folding techniques. Essential pieces of equipment are a sharp pair of scissors or a craft knife with a supply of new blades. The number of times you fold paper will affect how many times a cut-out image is reproduced. Folding once produces a mirror image, twice gives four images and so on. To make a crisp edge by hand, fold the paper loosely, then run your nail along the crease.


  1. Hold a metal ruler firmly on the paper fold the paper up to its edge and run your thumbnail along it.
  2. Alternatively, fold the paper loosely then run the edge of a bone folder along it.


  • To transfer patterns, you can trace them directly on to the paper or use a photo copier. Alternatively, cut Out a photocopy and stick It to the paper using spray adhesive, then carefully Cut out the design.


  • Fold the paper in half. Draw half of your pattern on the fold and cut it out. Open the paper out to reveal the perfectly symmetrical cut-out shape.


  • Fold the paper in half, then In half again Cut a shape out of the middle of the square, without touching any fold or edge.


  1. To start an internal cut, poke the pointed end of closed scissors into the center of the paper that is to be removed. Withdraw the scissors, insert the lower blade through the hole and cut out the shape Always turn the paper towards the blade, in the most comfortable position.
  2. if you prefer to use a craft knife, hold it like a pencil and cut smoothly without pressing down hard. Always cut with a sharp blade. Use a cutting mat to protect your work surface and to prevent the paper slipping


  • The folds that you have made to reproduce the pattern of your paper cut will still be visible after you unfold the finished work. You can flatten it by placing inside a book and applying pressure with a heavy weight for a day or two. Alternatively, cover the paper cut with a sheet of paper and smooth the surface with a small metal ruler.

Step 4: Stamping

Stamping is a quick and effective method of repeating a design on paper or card. Remember that motifs will be reversed when stamped. Use your stamp with an inkpad, applying light pressure, or with paint. Ready-made stamps in a multitude of designs are widely available, hut they are also easy to make yourself using foam or sponge. lino (linoleum) blocks or even potatoes. Making a lino (linoleum) block stamp is fairly simple but the results can be surprisingly intricate. Simple potato prints are also amazingly effective.


  1. For detailed designs, first trace the motif, roughly cut around it and attach it to a high- density sponge using spray adhesive. Cut along the outline using a craft knife, then pinch the background and cut away.
  2. A low-density sponge will give a softer image. Draw the design directly on to the sponge using a marker pen Cut out the basic shapes using sharp scissors, then cut away the background.


  1. Make a tracing of the motif to fit the lino (linoleum) block. Slip a sheet of transfer paper, chalky side down, between the tracing and the lino (linoleum), then tape the edges in place with masking tape. Draw over the lines with a sharp pencil to transfer the design to the block.
  2. Remove the paper and Cut around the outline using a craft knife. Cut any fine detail or straight lines by making shallow, angular cuts from each side, then scoop out the V-shaped sections.
  3. Cut the rest of the pattern using lino (linoleum) tools: a scoop for removing large areas of background and a gouge for cutting finer curves and pattern details, Hold the lino(linoleum) down firmly with your spare hand placed safely behind your cutting hand.


  • Cut a potato in half using a kitchen knife. Draw the motif on the potato using a fine felt-tipped pen. Using a craft knife, cut the outline, then undercut and scoop out the background. As potato stamps are short-lived, keep the tracing in case you need to cut another stamp.


  1. Using a brush is a good way of applying thick water-based paint such as emulsion (latex) or artist’s acrylic. One advantage is that you can use several colors on one stamp in a very controlled way.
  2. Alternatively, use a roller. Place some paint on one side of a plate and run a small roller through it several times until it is covered evenly with color. Test on scrap paper then run the roller over the stamp to transfer the paint.

Step 5: Stenciling

Stenciling is not difficult but it is worth practicing on scrap paper. Thick, dry paint is difficult to apply evenly and wet, runny paint will seep under the stencil, blurring the outline. Use very little paint and apply the color with a dabbing and brushing movement and always use a fresh brush for each color. You can stencil shapes with a single color or build up a design using several colors applied one at a time. Varying the way the paint is applied will greatly affect the result and with practice you will be able to achieve quite different end results, varying from the subtle to the very bold.


  1. Trace the template with a pencil, then rub over the back with a soft pencil. Place the tracing right side up on stencil cardboard or clear acetate and draw over the original lines with a hard pencil. Alternatively, draw a design freehand. using a black felt-tipped pen for the acetate.
  2. Tape the stencil on to a cutting mat and cut out the stencil using a craft knife. Cut towards you in a continuous line, with the blade on the line and lifting it from the stencil as little as possible. When working round awkward shapes, move the cutting board towards you and the knife.


  • Block stenciling usually consists of filling in large areas in a single solid color. Do not apply the paint too heavily and blot off excess paint on blotting card before you begin. Two color blocking involves applying the first color in some areas only, perhaps outlining those areas that are to receive the second color.


  • Using a very dry brush with a tiny amount of paint, rotate the bristles in a circular motion to produce a lighter, softer look than block application. If you wish to add shading, apply the paint to one side of the stencil first then apply a slightly darker shade on the edges in the same way.


  • This method uses more paint and less pressure than rotating or flicking and gives a rougher look, Take a reasonable amount of paint on the bristles of the brush and place it down lightly. Do not go over the design too many times as this will spoil the effect. It is essential to dab most of the paint off the bristles before starting.


  • Here, the petals have been colored by rotating using a very dry brush, but to achieve the flicking effect used on the leaves, use slightly more paint on the brush. Working from the center, flick paint outwards once or twice. Do not overdo.


  • This is similar to flicking. Using slightly more paint on your brush than for rotating, brush up and down, then from side to side. Keep the lines vertical and horizontal to give a lined effect.


  • Apply the first color, which should be a light shade, using a block effect. Move the stencil a few millimeters in one direction (here to the right), taking care not to move it up or down. Block again, using a darker color to create the shadow effect.

Step 6: Working With Cardboard

The use of cardboard in a creative way has increased enormously over recent years, particularly as the awareness of the importance of recycling has grown Generally made from about 60 per cent recycled pulp. cardboard’s availability and cheapness make it a very appealing medium to work with. Moreover, cardboard is an easy material to handle and does not require many specialist skills nor does it involve the use of difficult equipment. The following simple techniques will help you handle cardboard successfully.


  1. To score fine cardboard, using a metal ruler, press the blade of a craft knife along the fold line, being careful not to Cut too deeply. Gently fold the cardboard with the scored line Inside the fold.
  2. If the fold is to run along the flutes of thick corrugated cardboard, just run the edge of your thumb between the flutes firmly to make an indent, then fold. Do not use your nail as this may rip the surface.
  3. To get a neat fold across the flutes of thick corrugated cardboard, score it with a wooden spoon with a blunt point on it or a blunt pastry wheel. Run the point of the spoon along the fold line, using a ruler as a guide Try not to rip the surface of the cardboard, just flatten the flutes.
  4. To fold thick corrugated cardboard along the scored line, hold a ruler firmly to one side of the line. Carefully push the cardboard up along the other side of the line. Hold the cardboard with the flat of your hand so that it does not bend in the wrong place.


  • Cut away a small section of Lining paper and fluting on the end of one strip, leaving just one layer of lining paper attached. Apply glue to this and stick the end of the other strip on top, butting up the ends


  • Use a revolving hole punch to make neat holes in cardboard. Mark the position of the hole, select the required setting, then squeeze the punch together firmly on the mark, twisting it slightly to Cut properly.


  • To make curved shapes, simply mark where the curve is to be and, choosing a paint can cup or plate of the right size, draw around a section of it on to the cardboard.


  • To strengthen corrugated cardboard further, sandwich several layers together with the flutes running vertically and horizontally to each other, maximizing the strength of each layer. Use a strong glue and leave to dry completely before cutting.

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    8 Discussions


    This is great! I learned some things about paper mache, about the sanding, painting. The idea of strengthening with wire mesh is interesting, I'll have to try that.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Call me a word nazi if you must but it is Mache. Pronounced like toupee.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    it would be advisable to change the main picture to something you have done. Else mention that its not what you did. I know for a fact that is not what you did.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Really i do all things in picture by using the techniques that describing above so it is related to it


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    It is important to be aware that the use of copyrighted photographs and text without permission of the book's publisher could cause some legal issues. Using infringing materials to create an instructable is not in the spirit of the Instructable's community. The idea of Instructables is to show your own personalized progress and not the legally protected interior copy and images of a book. People on Instructables are more excited to see original works you have personally created as well :)


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Frist it is not from a book i made it as a tutorial and i searching a lot for collecting that steps and that mentioned here i do it personally so i am not use any books for that and thanks for that


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Your introduction picture is not yours unless you are the author of the book I have shown in the picture I have uploaded.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    ok this project only can be shared between us i don't know but i don't use this book so i will remove that pic that makes the reader distrubing