Nice Paper Toys

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Advice for new Paper Toy fans - Construction and Design

Hello everyone,


I'm a new paper toy fan from the United Kingdom (near London). I first became aware of paper toys when I visted the V&A museum - they were selling the book "We are Paper Toys". I fell in love with the designs instantly.


Since then I've been printing, cutting and glueing continuously - myu favourite designs are from Marshal Alexander and Lou Lou & Tummie.


I was just wondering if anyone could advise on some nice card to use when constructing paper toys - what 'gsm' etc? It would be so helpful, I like to give the paper toys as gifts so making them from proper materials is always great.


I have also have a go at designing my own toys by hand (I'll upload a picture of the prototype soon) - through a process of drawing out on graph paper then scanning into my computer. Does anyone know of any good software for editing my scans (e.g.I need to convert my drawings into shapes I can design graphically, neaten up and then share with everyone).


I've got Pepakura, and downloaded Inkscape - but I'm new to both so any advice/links to tutorials would be great.


So, to recap:


1.) Any advice on materials - what card do people use?

2.) Any advise for designing paper toys primarily by hand (then edited on a computer)?


Thank you all in advance, and I just want to say how inspirational everyone's work is - you are all incredibly talented.




Joe Hedinger

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ive found out that the cheap card in eason, or any other paper shop, even tesco works great. its smooth so the print will be great.
the fold lines. i always use a scalpel knife and just use a little of pressure do a line. then the corners are perfect.

how to design... so far i didnt design any of them, but paint few ( soon will upload my version of imp).
but that just a practice, and errors will teach you, and bit of imagination of 3D. basics: think about that like old, first 3D games, when you had guge blocks of cubes and "piramids". you can use layers, for things like hairs ( like in cubical toys)

post your toys ASAP
Hi Joe,

Ive just finished my first paper toy (as you know =)), I had been using Matte photo paper to print on, Its a little thick for any curved designs, but great for square ones, recantly my work threw out a heap of thick glossy paper (jackpot) unfortunatly I dont have a clue what it is!
Like Bart I use a scalpel knife for scoring the lines, mine is pretty old so the blade is quite blunt.

For designing by hand I cut out the shapes and stuck them together with sticky tape (no tabs) you can always make them bigger to start with, then shrink them on computer.
Once I was happy with the shapes I organised them on a sheet of paper conected where necessary and scanned them into the computer, traced round them again, added glue tabs, fold lines and coloured them in.

Not everyone can afford photoshop or editing software but if you google GIMP it is almost the same and its free.
now just need to find a good 3d rendering program thats free and easy to use!

Hope that helps, good luck
Just realised it was you =)
Free software is covered in this post:

As for me, I use Gimp for drawing, and Photoshop elements to save PDFs.

Blender for 3d design. Heres some great tuts for it @

I also bought a copy of Pepakura. Which save a lot of time, but really takes its toll on the creative process

I've been using Photographic paper to print on, but I recently tried Canon Matte 45lbs. 108 brightness Photographic paper. The results are Phenomenal! And it's pretty cheap if you buy direct from Canon.
Hi everyone -

Thank you so much for your responses, they have been incredibly useful. I've now got Gimp and I've had a play around, looks great. As for paper, I'm really surprised that you all seem to use photographic paper - when available, I have made my models from much thicker card, giving my designs a stronger, more matte feel - perhaps even "retro" (the colours are given a nice "dulling" by the card). It looks great, for example, with the robots from lulu and tummie. Do any of you use card?
Mike P, I'm going to order your recommendation - the matte sounds really good.

I'm still working on a little toy of my own - currently a little astronaut character. I've made a little version of him out of graph paper, but need to work on the design - I'm thinking simple elegance, but mixed with that quirky cuteness that seems inherent in all paper toys. It's just a matter of squeezing some time in - I'm working hard at an internship atm, trying to get myself a job in advertising.

Once again, thank you for all of your help - this is a great website. Any suggestions/references for the astronaut design would be most welcome - I'd be happy to collorate very informally and just for fun if any of you want to have a go!




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