What Is Pepakura and How to Start

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About: HTML, CSS, JAVASCRIPT

In this tutorial, you will learn what is Pepakura and how to use it.

This is short 6 step, comprehensive introduction into a world of paper models ;)

How to:

  • work with paper,
  • what type of paper (how hard / heavy),
  • and what tools you need to start
Updated: 2017/01/15

Step 1: Paper

You will need a HARD, HEAVY, SOLID, THICK paper !
Ignore office paper which is soft, too thin, easy to bend = useless.

What you need is CARDSTOCK !

Card stock = paper with weights from 50 lb to 110 lb (about 135 to 300 g/m²).
I use 200 g/m² paper and I find it best combination to print on and work within smaller details.

Size / format of paper:

Step 2: "Mountain" Vs. "Valley" Fold

First time a lot of people may have a problem how to actually fold the paper:

  • what are all the different lines (solid, dash, dash-dot-dash) ?
  • what direction should you fold ?

MOUNTAIN
  • imagine a letter ... A ... you can "touch the top" edge of the paper
  • basically fold the paper on its edge: DOWN
  • "dash dash dash"
  • _ _ _ _ _


VALLEY

  • imagine a letter ... V ... in where you can "put your finger inside" the shape
  • basically fold the paper on its edge: UP
  • "dash DOT dash DOT dash"
  • _ . _ . _ . _


SOLID LINE

  • this is the line where you cut your shape out !
  • __________

Step 3: Tools + Material + Software

TOOLS

Price= $65


MATERIAL

Price = $20


SOFTWARE

Price = $FREE (PV) and $38 (PD)

EXTRA STUFF (optional)!

I find it more convenient to use a following stuff to make my work easier:

  • cotton swabs=to clean off excess glue and/or to spread it in tiny spots
  • extra scalpel blades= you need these in case of using a hobby knife!
  • aluminium foil= a place where I lay down glued pieces to let them dry out
  • old cloth =to clean your tools, table and fingers :)

Step 4: Which Glue to Use ?

The choice is yours!

LIQUID PAPER GLUE
GOOD: if you use a small bit!

  • no smell
  • dries quick (3 to 5 mins)
  • easy to use and is more precise


BAD: if you use a lot of it!

  • hardens in 60 mins
  • dries slower (5 to 15 mins)
  • can soak your paper and distort it
  • cannot redo mistake, once dried, it is glued forever


How much do you need?
My glue has 100 ml = 3.4 oz ... and I glued 50 pages.

HOT GLUE GUN
GOOD:

  • hardens in 30 mins
  • cools down + dries quick (2 mins)
  • you can heat it and "move" your glued parts a bit if you made a mistake


BAD:

  • less accurate
  • needs electricity
  • burns your fingers if not careful
  • smells a lot (makes you sick, headaches)


How much do you need?

Cannot help here. I got sick from the smell of it after I glued like 1 page of pepakura and the glue stick barely shrank.

SOLID GLUE STICK

  • It is less precise, and it dries out way too fast for my taste.
  • I do not use this glue and do not advise it.
  • If you push hard on it, breaks down leaves big chunks all over which is bad.

.

Step 5: Print It ! ... Build It !

Now you have all the info you need to start building !

  1. Print it.
  2. Cut it out with scissors.
  3. Get details with a hobby knife.
  4. Glue it.
  5. Build it.


First 3 pictures = not Pepakura but custom papercraft !
The rest = real Pepakura example: Dragon_Priest_Mask

Fair warning !
Pepakura is really time consuming hobby !


My Dragon priest helmet took me 14 hours to complete:

  • cutting the paper (3 hours)
  • glue all parts (11 hours)

Well it depends on how handy and skilled you are :)

Step 6: What Next ?

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    47 Discussions

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    krsiak

    3 years ago on Introduction

    286.000+ views and 300+ in favorites !

    Thanks guys the support. I started this as help for others and now it is a number 1 tutorial here on Instructables and placed on 1st place if you google for "Pepakura" or "Pepakura tutorial" or "Pepakura how to".

    I wish you a Merry Christmas ;)

    mc2014.png
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    Great Instructable! I had actually been thinking about starting a pepakura project and you've helped me a lot.

    1 reply
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    krsiaktechwhisperer

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    You are welcome :)

    I made Pepakura GUIDE:
    https://www.instructables.com/id/Pepakura-1/

    So far 5 tutorials with 2 videos, more to come soon !
    It will be complete series made of several instructables.

    Go to any of my tutorials,  go to last step "What next ?" and there you will see all the links as well ;)
    Maybe some of it will help you.

    Good luck with your project.

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    SofiaC47

    3 months ago

    I know I just like to build cars. Look at this ghost GT Legend. (Ford GT)

    Get this paper model (comes with PDF and PDO files) (instructions inluded) visualspicer.com/gtlegend.html

    !WARINING! This paper model contains lots of pages. Don't waste your cardstock papers.

    Diffuculty: Medium

    Glue needed: Craft glue

    Knife or scissors needed

    No markers needed (whited out)

    Detailed Wheels Included

    Pages: 45

    Parts: 138

    Scale: 30" (76cm) long

    Buy the model for $10 dollars.

    Or just get the ghost ones for free!


    • This paper model is large, Please make a large showcase or just put somewhere like on a box or something.
    • The english Pepakura web is now unavaliable. I used Japan Pepakura web and download the japan pepakura viewer. Sorry, I'm not japan person. I'm the china person.
    gtlegendghostpdo.jpgshowcasingghtlegendghost.jpg
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    mipaterson

    1 year ago

    what happens if some of the pieces are bigger than A4 and don't fit on a single sheet?

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    MatthewN32

    1 year ago

    Thanks dude, this really helps, but the software costs like 38 usd right now

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    krsiakblackholeseeker

    Reply 1 year ago

    Sure, some bigger models there you could cardstock, you could print it out on regular paper, glue it to cardstock and go from there with some adjustments.

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    Brian the Snail

    2 years ago

    Thanks for your help. I would like to start a pepakura project and I now know how to begin. I'm not surprised that this is a very popular instructable, it is concise, easy to follow and informative.

    1 reply
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    krsiakBrian the Snail

    Reply 1 year ago

    Hi Brian and thanks for the kind words :) I am glad my instructable helped you to start with your project.

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    T-Tauri

    2 years ago

    I read you can use paper mache, But can you do this with out the software?

    1 reply
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    krsiakT-Tauri

    Reply 1 year ago

    Hi you need the software to get the base model. After that you can use paper mache to make it stronger.

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    Tsadi WawM

    2 years ago

    Why are there things that are spread out over multiple pages on the internet?

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    krsiakFiq_Hahah

    Reply 2 years ago

    Definitely, i tried that once, worked for me. Test it on some smaller project to be sure.

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    kutubk

    3 years ago

    How to print on cardboard. .?, its so hard .

    3 replies
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    krsiakkutubk

    Reply 3 years ago

    Hi,

    I have no experience with that. Only office A4 sheet paper.

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    kutubkkrsiak

    Reply 3 years ago

    But a4 sheep paper is so soft.!! How to work with that..?

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    FreddyC9kutubk

    Reply 2 years ago

    Paste a4 sheet on your caardboard

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    wolftracker11

    3 years ago

    there are pictures on the outside of the pages that are needed to complete the model. How do I print them??