Designing Paper Models


Active Member
Mar 9, 2018
I'm relatively new to card modeling and I'm having fun with it. This week I found myself customizing a card model prior to printing it. I changed some colors, created som panel lines and added names, emblems and logos. It was pesty but fun.

My question is how do people go about designing their own? What programs do they use? Is there any tutorials out there?

Signed, Curious...


Researcher of obscure between war vehicles...
Staff member
Jan 28, 2013
New Mexico USA
Start with this guide...HERE

The best thing to make stuff is always something FREE... though not for the faint of heart BLENDER is THE BEST free software out there and version 2.79b has a paper model plugin built in!
I know a lot of people that have dumped 3dstudio Max and Maya for Blender!
...Sketchup Free Version Ummm I HATE but others LOVE it also has unfold plugins... I don't like Online software... you could download SketchUp make 2017 ...
You will also need something to color-texture your models, eventually... and GIMP is a way to get started.
Later you might find that if you export out of blender as an SVG file and need to edit add color etc Inkscape will do the job! It is FREE also!
That should get you started at least!
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Nov 18, 2007
This has me curious as well. I haven't been able to model in 6 years (taking care of family members worse off than I) and am itching to get back to it. There is much I would like to build (like the Harriers that fly over my house every Friday) but my inclination is to scratch build out of wood instead of building a card model. I've been thinking I would use a card model as a base and do it my way, but designing my own base materials would really help.

As Gerald Windgrove said, it's all just flats and rounds.


Staff member
Aug 1, 2009
@subnuke , I can imagine! I'm in a similar situation. Family and work are eating up so much time and energy that I barely find any time for building. There are so many unfinished projects begging for completion. But rest assured, I always finish what I begin. Even if it takes some extra time. ;)


Right Hand Man and Confidant
Jul 11, 2013
It's really hard to unfold the models once you draw them in a CADware program, without buy a whole software program. google sketch is ok for drawing a model in 3D, Metasequoia is good, Papakura is ok, some people use Rhino or Corel draw and transfer it to a really expensive lightwave type CADware program. doing it the hard way, in MS paint or at free downloads work, but then you have to use masking tape over a sculpted or plastic model kit part, pull it off, and then snip it until it goes flat, then scan that and then print and glue, and still you have to modify that. Sometimes you can with practice just draw it out and print and cut/glue. The Klingon D7 cannon bell has given me a lot of trouble, but I've come up with several options for that. Compound curves are really hard, and sometimes you might have to go with either innumerable strips, or shading on a part to make it look curved or to actually form a piece by layering with elmers glue, tissue paper and as it laminates, mashing it into form.
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