Papercraft is a great hobby to have – but it can be incredibly frustrating when you’re starting out (or even when you’ve gained some experience). Here’s six simple tips to help you get the most out of your models!
1. **Use a knife and a ruler to cut straight lines**
With a knife and ruler you can be sure of cutting a neat, straight line. Most craft stores stock steel ‘safety’ rulers, which have high sides and a finger groove so that you can make firm cuts without fear of dismemberment.
2. **Sharp knives are safer**
It may seem strange, but you need less pressure to use a sharp knife, so you’re less likely to slip and cut yourself.
I picked up 15 assorted knives for £1 in the local bargain shop. The type with snap-off blades are great because you can keep the point pointy and the edge sharp.
Then there’s the option of a craft knife with interchangeable blades – these are widely available, so you can pick up a few at a time. For ultra-precise detail work, there’s a lot to be said for a good sharp blade.
3. **Use scissors to cut curves**
When it comes to nice curvy bits, a good sharp pair of scissors works wonders. I’ve got the best results by moving the cutting hand, and only moving the paper when I can’t turn my wrist any more.
4. **Clear plastic rulers are great for corners**
If you’re cutting at a 90-degree angle, then a clear ruler is fantastic for making a clean cut. Simply line the edge up to the markings on the ruler and the edge is automatically square!
5. **Score the paper for crisp folds**
Don’t be tempted to score your folds with the cutting edge of the knife – you run the risk of going right through to the other side. Instead, use something blunter – the back of your knife, an unfolded paper clip, whatever comes to hand and works for you!
Scoring should be just a very light guide to help the paper fold neatly, deep scoring can weaken the model and make it harder to assemble.
6. **Always use good quality paper**
This is my #1 tip – if you want your models to look good, go together easily, and last, then don’t use cheap paper. Copier paper is good for copiers, but it’s too flimsy for making sturdy models. Spend that bit extra and use some heavier paper or light card stock – the results will be worth it!
I hope you’ll take these tips and go on to create even better papercraft models!
Got any other tips you find handy? Leave a comment below.