Something in the Water- Shark Papercraft




About: Welcome to Verticees Papercraft. I am specialized in paper model design. You can view all my work at my website:, or at my Etsy shop, Thanks for viewing!

You're gonna need a bigger boat.

Several thousand sharks are killed every year, and thus, the kings of oceans are slowly becoming less common. In awareness against shark fishing and in honor of the king of the sea, I designed a Great White Shark papercraft. This model is over three feet long, at a whopping 38 inches! It also makes a great addition to any room.

Unfortunately, things haven't been going great. I'm out of paper and glue, and running my Verticees website is taking quite a bit of money. For that reason, the PDF Pack for this papercraft is being sold on Etsy. Don't worry, it's only $2.99 (USD). I hate to charge, but in order to continue making more papercrafts, this is necessary. When you purchase the PDF Pack, it comes with one Letter Sized PDF Template, one A4 Sized PDF Template, and one Instruction Guide PDF for this model.

Buy the NEW VERSION here:

Buy the original PDF PACK HERE:

***NOTE: When printing this papercraft, I forgot to put edge ID (edge ID are the little numbers that tell you which edges and tabs correspond to each other). That is why in this Instructable, all the numbers are handwritten onto the pieces. But don't worry, the PDFs available for purchase have edge IDs for your convenience.

Step 1: Get Your Stuff

For those of you who have made my Elephant Papercraft, you will know that I listed clear packing tape as a helpful item. For this model, however, I am making it highly recommended (equivalent to essential). Why? Because unlike the elephant, there are narrow areas in the shark that are going to be very hard to fix if they come apart. Thus, packing tape will make sure everything stays together.

There are three ESSENTIAL elements to this project:

Glue: I'm using Aleene's Quick Dry Tacky Glue, which bonds pieces of paper together in around 30 seconds. However, any tacky glue will be fine, but don't try to use a glue stick. It will leave a sticky mess on your hands which will get on the paper whenever you handle it.

Paper: Good quality cardstock is also a must. I'm using acid and lignin free cardstock from Michaels to ensure the longevity of the model. It has a 65lb or 176g/m^2 weight. For those of you who are thinking of using copy paper, it's not going to work. You are welcome to try it, but the final model will be very flimsy.

Scissors or Knife: I personally prefer to use my stainless steel scissors for cutting out the pieces. If you choose to use an X-acto knife, you'll need a ruler to make sure all the cuts are straight.

Those are the bare essentials. Here are some optional, but very helpful items (which I used):

Ruler and Scoring Tool: To make folds neat and clean, I highly advise the use of a ruler and scoring tool. The scoring tool I used is a mechanical pencil WITHOUT ANY LEAD. By using the ruler to make a straight path while you run the tip of the pencil over the lines, you can make very crisp, professional folds. If you use lead in the pencil, you won't be able to distinguish the different folds, so make sure your pencil has no writing capabilities! However, any object with a precise tip will do, including a dead pen.

Tweezers: Tweezers are useful for holding flaps that need to be glued while you wait for them to dry. I didn't use mine too often.

Toothpicks: I highly recommend you keep around 20 or so toothpicks with you. I used them for spreading the glue around the flaps once I put on a drop. The toothpicks help spread the glue evenly and avoid excess glue from oozing out when the flap is pressed to the paper. Once again, highly recommended.

Clear Packing Tape: I use clear packing tape when for some reason, the glue won't hold the paper together. It makes the model feel sturdier, and also adds weight to it.

Step 2: Printing

In case you haven't already, you'll need to purchase the PDF Pack for this papercraft. You can purchase the PDF Pack for this papercraft on Etsy here ($2.99 USD):


Next, you're going to need the right kind of paper. Cardstock is your best choice to make this model sturdy and long lasting. I am using 65lb, or 176 g/m^2 cardstock.

Sharks have an adaptation called countershading. Countershading is a difference in skin color with allows for camouflage depending on perspective. In the case of a shark, the top is dark because when looking at a shark from the top, it will blend in with the dark color of the ocean below. However, it is white on the bottom because when looking at the shark from its belly, it will blend in the sunlit water above. That is why for the model I am making, I am using blue cardstock on top, and white cardstock on the bottom.

For using two colors, the colored (blue, in my case) pages are the first 27 pages (1-27), and the white pages are the remaining pages (28-42). Thus, when you put your papers in the printer, create a stack of 27 colored pages and 15 white pages.

Note: The pieces in the picture do not have edge IDs (the number that tell you which flap to glue to which edge). That was my mistake, so I hand wrote all the edge IDs onto the paper (as you can see in the picture above). In the PDF Pack you purchase, the templates will have edge IDs. I apologize for this mistake on my behalf, but you will not be affected by it when you make it for yourself.

Step 3: Tail Fin

Let's start by making the tail fin, which is scientifically called the caudal fin. Because this is the first part, I will go over the steps required to make it in great detail. I won't use as much detail on the other components since the process is the same.

Start off by getting the necessary papers, your glue, scissors, ruler, scoring tool, and your packing tape (if you have it). You can tell which pages are needed based on the label in the bottom corner of the paper. Begin by cutting out each piece. Work carefully to stay on the line. Keep going until you cut out every single piece.

Now, grab your scoring tool and ruler. Go over every line with the scoring tool, and use the ruler to get straight lines. This is a time consuming task, and is technically optional. However, I highly recommend it because it makes the final model look much cleaner.

The next step is to fold the paper. Before you begin, make sure you know what the dotted lines mean. Consistently dashed lines are valley folds. A valley fold is folded inwards, or away from you. Long, inconsistently dashed lines are mountain folds. Mountain folds are folded outwards, or towards you. Check the picture above to see the difference. Continue folding until every piece is folded.

The final step is to glue the components together. Before gluing the parts together, match the numbers of the edges to the numbers of the flaps. Like numbers are glued together. To glue, apply a dot or two to the flap, and then spread the glue evenly across the flap. This step helps prevent excess from oozing out. The final step is to glue the flap to the edge. The edge should align evenly to wear the flap folds. After this, continue matching and gluing until the entire part is finished.

In the picture above, I show the entire process, including the order in which I glued the pieces. If you have any problems, just refer above!

If you successfully finished the caudal fin, pat yourself on the back! Because of the long points and small ending, the caudal fin is a difficult piece to finish, which means you're a talented papercrafter!

Step 4: Dorsal Fin

My favorite part of the shark: the dorsal fin. Like the tail fin, use the same process: cut, score, fold, and glue! This part really doesn't need much explanation, mainly because it contains just a few pieces. However, fold crisply on this piece: the pointier the fin, the stronger the effect of the final craft.

Step 5: Pectoral Fins

There are two pectoral fins: the left and the right. However, they can both be lumped into one step because they are nearly identical. Unlike the other fins, the pectoral fins have countershading (contain two colors). When making this piece, make sure you avoid getting smudges on the white undersides of the fins, as any dirt will show up easily on the white paper.

For the pectoral fins, I used quite a bit of tape, mainly because they will go under some stress in the final model.

Step 6: Miscellaneous Fins

There are several other small fins in the model, such as pelvic fins. These pieces are really easy to make, and they only contain 1-2 pieces each. Don't worry about adding tape here.

Step 7: Belly

The belly is a time consuming part, and makes up a huge percentage of the model. For this reason, its important to be detailed and patient when making it. On top of this, the belly is all white, so watch out for smudges and dirt. There are so many parts in the belly that I couldn't chronicle the gluing of every single piece.

You're also going to need the pectoral fins and the small fins you made in the last step, and add them to their corresponding places.

Step 8: The Body

This is the majority of the entire model, and in my opinion, the hardest part. Why? Majority of the stress in this model happens when building the body. Unlike the other parts, the body is built upon an existing part: the belly. As a result, a lot of stress occurs when certain parts are glued together to make the final shape of the shark. Just be patient, and everything will come together. Keep building the body, but don't glue in one piece in particular (located at the tail end). Check the pictures above to see which piece in particular. The reason for this is because it makes it much easier to add the caudal fin on.

You're also going to make the second dorsal fin in this step. It's not a major task; it's nearly identical to the small fins on the belly. It's just one piece that glues to itself.

Step 9: Add the Tail Fin

This step sounds easy, but it's rather difficult. Be precise when gluing the flaps. Start by gluing the bottom flaps, and then the side flaps. Add the final piece (the one we saved from the previous step) last. After this, you're done!

Step 10: Conclusion

If you've successfully made this piece, be proud; this is the hardest papercraft I've made. I'll probably start releasing more papercrafts that are a bit easier to make in the future.

I hope you enjoyed making my papercraft. If you make it, I would appreciate you posting a comment with a picture of your finished creation. If you need help, you can PM me or comment a picture of your problem, as it is possible that others are having the same problem as you.

There's a lot of things you can add to this model. You can hang this craft on a wall, just as how a fisherman shows his prize catch. Feel free to comment your modifications or display ideas.



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80 Discussions


3 years ago

If anyone is interested, I could give you 3 models that I made myself. They are low poly as the shark and I can make them the size you want. I have bear, Rhino and penguine.

19 replies

Reply 10 months ago

Check your email! :)

Just to mention it one more time. Do not post your email publicly.


Reply 10 months ago

Hey, Nestor, I really think you should take off your email from the comment section... :)

Check your email! I've sent you some templates.


Reply 10 months ago

Hmm, something did not work with your email. Send it to me as a private message, pls.


Reply 1 year ago

Hi! I want to try all your models! They look amazing! Can you please send to


Reply 1 year ago

Hi, Natasha! Would gladly share the models with you, but maybe it would be a good idea to do not post your email openly. :)

Check your email!


Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

That's the models. Could share a dropbox link if someone is interested. Also, could try to make a model by your choice.

Rhino.jpgBear.jpgPhoto 22.06.15, 17 57 03.jpgPhoto 22.06.15, 17 57 19.jpg

Reply 2 years ago

Hi, dogbrand, when I try the dropbox links for the rhino and bear, they give me a 404 and empty folder messages. Could you possibly reshare the links? Because I really want to try this project. Looks awesome! Thanks!


Reply 2 years ago

Hi, TBrickman, could you send me your email on a private message and I'll send them over. I have stopped sharing the templates since almost two years have past.


Reply 3 years ago

Hey there dogbrand... Could you please send me the rhino templates? I would love To make it !
Thanks :)


Reply 3 years ago

Sure, do you want it on your email? Post your email on private message and I'll email you the template. I might give you one other model to try if you want.


Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

What seems to be the problem? I have made few and other people have made them too. If you describe the problem I would get on it. Here is the finished model that I have in my office.

I have revised the parts layout and the numbers on the edges and published a PDF that you could download here:

Hope you like it.

Photo 20.07.15, 17 46 15.jpg

Reply 3 years ago

Wow! dogbrand you are good! Can you please make a lion head for me?