Nice Paper Toys

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To make paper models you need some things. Paper being the obvious, but further? Glue, scissors, a knife, desk, coffee, comics?
To design a model other tools come in handy. Here is what I use and I would love to hear what others use, we might learn a thing or 2.

Adobe Illustrator is my friend. Turn on the grid and set it to centimeters with 10 divisions (creating millimeters). I use the snap to grid function to make sure everything is the right shape. I print at the lowest quality on cheap 80 grams paper for all the test. Measuring the parts before cutting shows you immediately what doesn't fit and should be changed. It save you a lot of cutting.
Of course the final prototypes are printed on top quality and 160 grams paper.

First I score with a scoring pen and a ruler. It makes the folds so much smoother! Most is cut with a small pointy scalpel and round parts with a small scissor for paper.
For glue I use UHU super power glue and sometimes a Pritt stick (for parts that need glue everywhere). A long toothpick helps to reach the parts that your fingers won't.

That is about it I guess.
Let me know what you guys do!

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Illustrator is my friend too, but since I'm growing anxious towards perfect, symmetrical box-shapes I only 'snap to point'. It means that the first test will suck big time, so I build, destroy, build and destroy (around 5 to 6 times) all the way until I'm só mad that I start measuring the thing up completely so everything fits. It sounds emotional, but that's one thing I always try to capture (angry emotion, I'm a big horror-aficionado, always results into friendly characters with me :). And it keeps the shapes simple to the bone, since I have to remember ALL the cuts, folds and glues all at the same time. There's also always the search to clean, stylized design. I'm always searching for which cut to lose or which foldinglines to combine and make one. To me there lies beauty and reward.

The best hint I have is to start a kit with a great idea. To you it should be at least anyway ;)
Wish I could afford the usual Adobe Illustrator / CS3 package, but I found that I could get Corel Draw Graphics Suite for cheap under a "student" purchase--so I use that for my templates.

I like to start with a story or concept. It's not so much the shape at first, but the philosophy or idea I'm interested in getting across. Then a few sketches to tighten up the image, and into the template phase. I like to do the centimeter grids also.

I do scoring with a metal scoring tool--looks like a small ball at the end of a metal stick--and a ruler to keep it in line. For long cuts I usually use "reverse" scissors that have a spring that keeps them open between cuts, and a pointed scalpel blade for more detailed cuts.

On glue, there is an Elmer's white craft glue that is the size of a lipstick tube and has a fine point--works well but takes a while to dry. I got a tip on "Aleene's Premium Original Tacky Glue" a while back and just started using it--it is a superior glue compared to what I was using before, but I might need to apply with toothpicks also.

I try to avoid glossy papers due to glue adhesion problems, but glossy looks nicer.
Yo Sjo!
Blijkt ie gewoon in Enschede te wonen! Ik ben zo'n pötzenbakker van de AKI. But so others may benefit from the discussion back to English. As I'm not a papertoy creator (yet, never say never.), I won't go into the programs you all use, but please do tell. The scoring I do with a very blunt pocket-knife, cutting with a big scissor for more control and a sharp hobby knife for small details. A Pritt stick is the glue I use, but I apply it with a toothpick, or in hard to reach places a sate-stokje (kebab-stick). Due to a miss hap (check the profile x-ray pic), I had to use a computer and printer in a common computer room. So no special paper, just ordinary printer paper, it works and is kind of a challenge. Amazing how strong paper is, especially with big models like Shin's Spiky-walker or Harlancore's Omegafaust X.
If I can't get a blank template, I print the template with an almost empty black cartridge. Draw a design or print a pattern on the back and build it inside out.
Custom Grumm:
I am a long time Illustrator user (20+ years, original beta tester) and I couldn't imagine trying to do this kind of work without it. If you are new to Illustrator and want a good book to show you how to use the software, I would suggest the Adobe Illustrator Classroom in a Book. I use it to teach my high school students how to become proficient in Illustrator.

I teach graphics and have access to a lot of different printing methods. I like to use a laser printer on 90lb card stock for my model building. It is rigid enough to build structurally sound models, even extra large ones. I have tried to print on my ink jet printer, but the uncoated mat paper always looks too fuzzy for me. The laserprinter is nice, but the color cracks on the folds and is not pleasing to the eye. I am curious to know what other artists use to print on. I have tried gloss photopaper through the inkjet, but the ink scratches off when I score it. I would like to know what some of the other artists on this site use to print on, specifically what kind of paper (brand names please?).

Must have tools include a #11 blade x-acto knife with a lot of blades. I also like to use a little "executive" pen x-acto knife with a retractable blade. The blade is very small and doesn't last long and doesn't track along a ruler well, but it is great for cutting sharp curves and small pieces. Another must have tool is a Grifhold Burnisher Set (at which is like an x-acto knife but instead of a blade has a little ball at the end for scoring paper without ripping it. The set has a small ball for sharper folds, a large ball for more rounder folds, and a burnisher head for smoothing down those glued tabs. Of course, a good short ruler is a must, as well as a cutting mat.

For glue, I like Elmer's Clear Craft Bond Paper Glue. It is clear, can be wiped off the paper with a damp paper towel, and dries quickly. It has great strength and requires very little to bond tight. I also like Aleen's Tacky Glue, but it is a bit thick and doesn't spread well, but it is fast. I also like to use scotch tape on the inside of the models to hold the tabs down while they dry. It lets me work a little quicker. I never use it on the outside where it will be seen.

I am new to this, but in the past six months I have built many models. I would like to hear from other builders on their tool choices.

Good discussion.
hello, i have been desperate to learn how to vector, and to use illustrator. I have painted in photoshop, and occasionally use the pen tool to select things. I really need to get my head around vectoring, the pen tool, and how to have different thicknesses in lines. ( i have tried to use the 'simulate pressure' setting and can never get what i want :S

Any tips?

i am also trying to find the book you mentioned.

Thanks. :)
I use tweezers to pinch the paper together. And regular old Elmer's glue. Works like a charm!
I use double sided tape so it sticks instantly.
I have kind of a laborious process. I draw the toy out on paper and cut it out multiple times until I get it right, then scan it into Corel Paint Shop Pro (which just so happened to come with my computer). I kind of like the making it by hand process because it allows me to see past incarnations of the toys and what went wrong with them, and allows me to spontaneously change things without having to print it out and test it later.


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