Paper 3DS




The Nintendo 3DS is going to be released on 03/27/2011, but you can have a 1:1 paper version of it in a few hours for free!
It can do basically everything what the original one can do - except gaming (and the WiFi-connection doesn't work - in case that disappoints you).
Attention: This is not an easy model. I took care to keep important details, nerd-spoken it is not an Arcade-version, it is a Simulation-version.

The full PDF is downloadable at

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Step 1: History

No one cares for this step. It is completely unnecessary but I feel the desperate urge to tell something about the 3DS and the development of the papercraft model in order to give the Instructable an intellectual touch.

The Nintendo 3DS is the sequel generation of the Nintendo DS, released 6 years ago. The Nintendo DS itself is not a sequel to any generation, it came 5 years after the Game Boy Advance, but doesn't call itself a Game Boy.
As the Nintendo DS had 4 versions, the Nintendo DS Classic, Nintendo DS Lite, Nintendo DSi and Nintendo DSi XL, which all belonged to the same handheld-generation, it is inevitable that the 3DS will also have other versions, which may come in 1-2 years. The current design resembles that one of the Nintendo DS Lite, as shown in the comparison below.

The most innovative feature is the 3D-without-glasses effect on the top screen, the lower screen is touch-sensitive. Additionally to the original DS, it has a slide-pad, 2 outer cameras to take 3D-pictures and play AR-games, one inner camera, Street-Pass etc.

The papercraft model of the 3DS is already a few months old, but the design was minimally changed and so I had to edit the model a bit. I took all size details and pictures that had been released as references and I hope that it is very close to the original one.

Step 2: You Need:

- Glossy Photo Paper (2 sheets) if you want it to be closer to reality
or - Non-Glossy Photo Paper (or 160g/m² paper) if you don't want to struggle through pieces not holding together*
- Glue, scissors, cutter, mini-clothes-pins
- the following templates:


Print out the template in the color you want to have. There are 2 versions each: lined and lineless. I always print both and take the lined version as a reference or eventually spare parts depot.

*glossy photo paper is a nightmare for paper crafters

Step 3: The Upper Part

Let's begin with the upper screen. It consists of the pieces on the lower area of the first page.
Begin with the screen-piece and then glue the other pieces around it, but be aware that the screen is 'flush', as you can see on the picture. This is because of the buttons, they are a bit higher than the lower screen, but the 3DS should close perfectly, so the top screen is a bit behind the screen edges.
The grey rectangle creates a pipe that serves as a hinge, it gets pushed through the open lower ending of the part and glued on the inside.

Step 4: The Lower Part

The lower part consist of:
Body - Begin with the Screen, as you can see it is lifted on the level of the buttons. Attach the pieces with the buttons and the pads to the sides and the shoulder parts (page 1) to these pieces. That one with the white status-light is belongs to the right. You can find a reference picture for the circle pad beneath, the first ring goes to the inside of the hole and the grey part comes out.
When you now add the bottom piece, make sure that you leave the hinge-end open.
Buttons - I think those are self-explaining (Button-order: X, Y, A, B)

Step 5: Marriage

Hook part 1 into the shoulders of part 2, try if you can move it and close the back with glue and patience.
And then you are done! Show your brand new pre-release 3DS to all of your friends (from distance) and pretend it is real to make them jealous.

But there is one thing left: If you want the screens filled with a great game, there are screen-fillers in the zip-file, that can either be printed on normal paper and glued on the 3DS or copied into the screens with PhotoShop. Of course you can make your own screen-fillers as well. challenge

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    28 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    What if you just built it on top of a DS to make it look like a 3DS? that might work (if it was hollow).

    1 reply
    Mist Flow

    4 months ago

    i think it would be easier to make a fake 3DS on a DS with colored paper.


    3 years ago

    Pst still confused, how do we exactly assemble pieces such as the top part? There's little strips that I can't figure out.

    Win Guy

    7 years ago on Introduction

    Awesome! I love papercrafting AND my 3DS, so this I'll have to try. 5/5 and faved.

    (I'm using my 3DS to comment!)
    Win Guy

    P.S. Your Black 3DS link is broken... I found another source:
    It's in Japanese, but it works.


    7 years ago on Step 2

    It's true. I've tried copy and pasteing them and nothing ever happens. Could you please post some JPEGS of them? That would be nice for us all. Good instructable though.


    8 years ago on Step 2

    yah.. the links lead nowhere, could you post jpegs of them in the instructable?


    8 years ago on Introduction

    this is very well done!
    and thats coming from a sony player.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I scanned through the instructable and noticed one thing. There's no stylus? That's a really important thing in the 3DS. Kinda.