While I may not talk about it much, I like making things. I sew, I write, I draw, I paint, there’s a whole list of things that I do creatively. One of my favorite types of crafting projects is papercrafting. The projects are usually inexpensive and there are a wealth of resources available on the internet.
One of the coolest projects I’ve found recently is Mad Art Lab’s Scientist Paper Dolls: http://madartlab.com/2013/07/11/a-sandbox-of-scientist-paper-dolls/. These dolls have both male and female scientists. They can be printed out and colored before being assembled and they seem like the kind of thing I would have loved as a starry-eyed little sprocket.
Some kids are drawn to science naturally, and while there will always be those kids who’d rather do anything else besides studying science, there are other kids that just need some reason to be pointed in the direction of science. These paper dolls are a fun way to spark some interest in not only the history of science, but the people who made that science happen. They may even encourage some independent research if kids start asking about why particular items are included with the paper dolls.
Many sites offer paper dolls, but another popular item offered for download is the paper model. Some of these models get intricate enough to frustrate a full-grown adult. Others hardly require any instruction to put them together.
There’s a great “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” on this website: http://www.papertoys.com/. Other paper models include a simple Tyrannosaurus Rex, several architectural models, and a whole host of other cards. Most of them look fairly easy to assemble.
For the horror fans and monster aficionados out there, you aren’t going to be excluded from the fun. http://ravensblight.com/papertoys.html has several more elaborate paper toys, ranging from mechanical toys to tic-tac-toe games to paper dolls. Some of these projects look like they’re for advanced papercrafters, since they contain multiple pages of parts to cut out and past together along with multiple pages of instructions. Personally, I am thoroughly enchanted with the ray gun on this site. There’s also 19 pages of pretty impressive haunted mansion, as well as some very cool looking ships available to download and print.
The world of paper toys doesn’t have to be just models, there are adorable figures to be had, too. Rommy http://rommy.kamimodel.com/index_e.html has taken a basic figure and made a variety of characters from it. They range from devastatingly cute to a little bit odd but still very cute. Each one takes only a single sheet of paper and, like all the others listed so far, they’re free.
Cubecraft has a wealth of pop culture papercraft figures, with fandoms ranging from Dr. Who to Dragonball Z to The Dark Night Rises. http://www.cubeecraft.com/genre/pop-culture/ is the website. There are even some Princess Bride one.
There’s even an iPad app available to allow you to design and print your own paper models, Papercritters http://www.papercritters.com/ These follow the one basic shape making a variety of characters model. There is a lite version of the app, which is free, and a $1.99 app. Sadly, it doesn’t look like it’s available for any other devices at the current time. I would like to see it made more widely available thought, because there’s at least one great little monster on the open pages.
Nick Jr. has gotten in on the act: http://www.nickjr.com/printables/all-shows/paper-crafts_paper-toys/all-ages/index.jhtml with a whole section of their website devoted to printables. Through the Disney Movie Rewards website, you can get all kinds of free coloring pages, small, simple games, and other papercraft items: http://www.disneymovierewards.go.com/rewards/browse/points/up-to-0?page=1&sort=undefined&cat=_all&pnt=up-to-0&brd=_all. There’s a little bowling game that’s definitely worth looking at, since the pins are familiar Disney characters.
LouLou & Tummies has paper toys with a unique look to them. They definitely reflect the style of the artist that created them. They’re a little bit uniformly odd, but they’re worth a look for papercrafts that look different from the other papercrafts thus far http://loulouandtummie.com/?page_id=254. Any starry-eyed little sprocket with inclinations towards sci-fi would probably love the toys available on this site.
That will get us almost all the robots we could want, but we could use a few more dinosaurs. http://paperboxworld.weebly.com/dinos.html has three papercraft dinosaurs to make, including a Triceratops. While they aren’t going to be scientifically accurate, they’re still cute and they don’t seem to require an excessive amount of skill to put them together.
My favorite paper toy website is, without a doubt http://thetoymaker.com/2Toys.html. The artist uses a palette of soft colors to create toys with a distinct look. There are a variety of paper toys on the website, varying between educational, practical, and pure entertainment. The marble mice and bunny bowling are my favorites, If you sign up for the newsletter, you’ll get regular e-mail updates, complete with links to the newest paper toys available on the site.
Papercrafting mostly requires paper, scissors, glue, and patience. It helps if you can read directions well. Not every toy is easy to assemble and, certainly, not every set of directions make perfect sense.
You can save yourself some frustration by getting tape runners in various widths. This will also make your papercrafting less messy. A few glue dots can go a long way towards getting your project done quickly. You’ll have to use your printer ink and paper, though most of the projects will actually fit on a single piece of paper.
When it comes to paper, choose wisely. You can certainly use standard printer/copier paper, especially if you’re trying to get a feel for papercrafting. Any pieces that makes you feel like you’d like to make a more durable model can easily be printed on card stock later on.
Hopefully, you’ll be inspired to try some of these papercrafts and good luck in your efforts to build them.