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Try some hands on some creative papercraft at home

Updated on December 26, 2016

Papercraft is a form of crafting in which paper is used to create three dimensional objects such as models or sculptures. Some people refer to papercraft as pepakura, as a homage to the large Japanese papercrafting community. Papercraft can be large or small, humble or ambitious, and it is incredibly varied.

Unlike origami, papercraft involves cutting up paper or cardboard and gluing it back together, although some folding and bending may be involved. Very basic papercraft is often taught in schools, so that children can bring polygons to life in the form of polyhedra. Simple papercraft does not require extensive maths skills, but it can be used to illustrate basic math, or to get people excited about mathematics. More advanced papercraft can call upon impressive math abilities, which is part of the fun for some crafters.

Paper sculptures can get quite elaborate, running the gamut from replicas of sculptures made from other materials like marbles, to models of things like trains, boats and planes. Really dedicated crafters will sometimes devise papercraft objects with moving parts, which requires a very fine eye and a lot of patience. The structure of the three dimensional object may be supported with stiff paper, cardboard, or even wood, to ensure that it will not collapse, and it may be painted, dyed, or textured with applied materials as well. To prevent wraping, some papercraft is covered in a protective covering which will make it even more sturdier. Freehanding papercraft is challenging, though enjoyable, and it requires good eye for design. Some papercrafters use software design programs which do much of the work for them, by converting a three dimensional object into a flat pattern which can be printed out.

When a papercraft devises a particular complicated pattern, he or she may share with others, in the spirit of co-operation among crafters, and in the hopes of seeing new takes on the design which may integrate more elements or solve design flaws.

The tools for basic papercraft are very simple and affordable. It helps to use a razor or knife to cut, rather than scissors, since the blade can create precise, clean lines. In this case, a firm cutting surface is needed. Tape and glue are also useful, as is thick paper stock. You may also find dyes and stamps useful, along with tweezers and other tools for manipulating very small pieces of paper while you work


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