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Okay. I'm not the most experienced toy designer on here; I'm only half way through my fifth toy, so I've got a lot left to learn. And I think I'm doing okay; but there is something I'd love to pick all your collective brains about – curves.


I recently built a toy by


The body is beautifully curved and – despite being a bit fiddly to glue – the finished result is easily one of my favourite toys.


So. I plonked him on my shelf next to my toys – which suddenly seemed really square and boxy by comparison. This really made me want to try constructing some toys with curves, but I have absolutely no idea where to start.


For those of you who use curves in your toys, could you offer any advice? I don't know if it's necessary to design the finished toy in a 3D design programme and then use a papertoy programme to work out the curves automatically. You see, I use the DTP programmme Quark to design my toys and I work out all the mathematics by hand. But the mathematics of curves? No clue. Even long division is beyond me.


Any advice?


CLS :)

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Hay man, I'll drop you a video explaining some ways to do curves :).

Curves suck!.....

Im creating my 2nd toy and thankfully the curved part is the part I have done!

I cut out card until they fit together mainly, then used Blender to make it exact (could of probably started in Blender) (There are some great Blender tutorials on Youtube)

Then Pepakura to unfold it

And a tiny bit of maths.


Im sure Alexander's video will help more than that! but I thought I would throw in my 2c =)



I'm very curious what the video of AlexG will look like.


I have tried to make curved papertoys and it was not easy. I used the trail and error method... not really a good solution.


I have read somewhere (can't tell you where) on NPT that someone (don't know who it said) to use a piece of little piece of string (rope). Create a shape that is curved, print it out (100%) get a little piece of string and follow the curve with the string from beginning till end.

Measure the length and you know how long the curve is.


There are better methods, but you have to make a 3d model and let the 3d program flatten the design. I can't tell you anything about that because I just don't know!

One of the best ways to learn is to build from artist who have already used curves, study and mimic. 

But, Im also waiting for Alexs vidi.

I would like to see your video too alex.

Never heard of that string trick, but it sounds workable. I'm going to use it in a new toy.

Thanks mck!

If you use Adobe Illustrator, you can get the length of any path.

1) (top Menu) Window --> Document Info
2) on that panel, select the option "Objects" from the fly out menu.

this will give you the length of a path curved or otherwise. (i use the scissor tool to cut apart paths/objects so so i can get the length of just the curved line segment)

might be ways of doing this in InkScape or other free vector programs.

I did find a formula for calculating curves in case you don't have Illustrator.

For more complicated shapes, here's an idea:

I haven't implemented this method yet but I had this idea on making spherical/arc papercraft: I get a curved object (eg stress/tennis ball) and layer a piece of paper over it. The paper has 3 strips cut at the end and I slide the left and right pieces into the centre. I then tape them in place and then run a texta over the joins. When you take it back apart you can see the lines to make the template.

If I get it working (I'm wanting to do one soon), I'll post some pictures.

As an alternative - like when doing vehicle fronts - just do a lot/few angles to make the illusion of round.

I use the string method for any pieces I want to hand create rather than with blender or Sketch-up.

Curves do look awesome though when done well, but I generally use the technique mentioned above and have a lot of angles rather than a perfect curve.


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