Papercraft Templates: Ingenious and Alternative Ways To Use Them!

At KaBlackout, we love hearing from our customers about how they have enjoyed creating their beautiful papercraft projects with our templates. Recently we were sent a couple of  pictures showing how our templates can be used in ways we never foresaw when we were designing them.

Novaleesi

Low Poly Rocket Papercraft Image
Novaleesi and her Starship (Image credit: Novaleesi)

Novaleesi hosts her own popular online gaming channel on Twitch. She has made a couple of our Retro Rockets, in fact she built one of them in realtime live on her channel! Our favourite Novaleesi rocket is the “Starship”. This a neon pink rocket Novaleesi incorporates into her shows by marking live interactions with her viewers by sticking star stickers on the nosecone! We’re delighted to see this imaginative use of our papercraft template.

You can follow Novaleesi on Twitter at @Novaleesi and on Twitch.TV at twitch.tv/novaleesi

Marta Kantorowicz

A creator of fantastic cakes, pastry chef Marta Kantorowicz has really amazed us with a spectacular outer space-themed birthday cake using a Retro Rocket template printed on edible wafer paper! We never thought of this tasty use for our template, it shows how imaginative people can be!  The cake must have been the centrepiece of the celebration and I’m sure it tasted as good as it looks!

Papercraft Retro Rocket Cake Image
Marta’s awesome space cake (image credit: Marta Kantorowicz)

Marta believes our papercraft templates offer “endless possibilities” for creative baking, we can’t wait to see what what she comes up with next! You can follow Marta on Instagram at instagram.com/mkamelia/

Thank you to Marta and Novaleessi for letting us share these pictures of their wonderful rocket-building skills on this blog.

If you have used a KaBlackout papercraft template and want to show us what you have made, please get in touch, we’d love to see what you have been up to!

Click the button to visit our Etsy shop and learn more about the Retro Rocket template.

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How to Hang your KaBlackout Trophy Head

KaBlackout animal trophy head templates enable you to create your own faux taxidermy wall decorations in any colour scheme you like. Once you have stuck together your trophy head the next step is to mount the papercraft on your wall for display. Here are some suggestions on how to hang your trophy head.

Hanging a trophy head on a nail or screw.

If there is already a nail or screw protruding from the wall, it is very straight forward. The backplate on our trophy heads is designed with an opening to let you reach inside the trophy. Simply lift the trophy facing outwards to the wall, put the hole over the nail and gently slide the trophy downwards until the top edge of the backplate catches on the nail. Carefully let go and if it seems secure the job is done! If you’re made the papercraft from cardstock of about 210 gsm weight it should be light enough for even small nails to cope with.

This handy removable hook is perfect for supporting your papercraft trophy head.

If there is no handy nail already there, you can pick exactly where you think your trophy will make the most impact and carefully hammer a small nail into the wall at the right location. Alternately if you don’t want to permanently mark the wall you can attach a self-adhesive hook to your wall. Packs of these hooks can be bought in hardware and DIY stores, and some are specifically designed to be easy to remove without marking the wall.

You might think I’m overlooking gluedots as an obvious method to hang your paper trophy but actually I don’t find them very useful for this. This is because it is very difficult to press the trophy firmly enough against the wall for the glue dots to adhere properly without simultaneously crushing the trophy.

Velcro tape is perfect to allow you to adjust the unicorn legs to the correct position.

Our Galloping Unicorn template lets you build the trophy head and the unicorn’s forelegs. All three parts of this sculpture must be hung on a wall for a dynamic display. You can hang the head as I have suggested above, but positioning the legs is harder because you’ll need some freedom to adjust their position until the ensemble looks just right. We solve this by using self-adhesive Velcro tape. Stick some small patches of Velcro on the backplate on each leg, and a larger patch or strip of the “opposite” Velcro on the wall in roughly the right place. The piece stuck to the wall shouldn’t be too big; you want it to be covered entirely by the leg. Then you can try placing each leg where you think it should go, it will hang perfectly from the Velcro, but if you’re not sure it is in the right place you can carefully peel the leg off and reposition it until you are satisfied.

If you have ideas of your own about the best way to hang your papercraft trophy head, please share them in the comments, I’d love to know your thoughts

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Papercrafts: Assembling Templates Using PVA Glue

Sticking together your KaBlackout low poly papercraft is the most exciting stage of the creative process. Once you have downloaded and printed the template and cut out the components, then scored and folded them you will have a stack of card pieces just begging to be joined together into 3D life.  How do you stick them? What kind of glue should you use to stick together the components of your KaBlackout papercraft trophy head or sculpture?

PVA or WHITE GLUE

3D papercrafters mostly use PVA adhesives, sometimes called white glue or carpenter’s glue. This type of glue is available in bottles and pots under many brand names world-wide, Mod Podge and Elmer’s are two of the best-known. It’s usually not very expensive to buy from craft shops or DIY stores. A typical PVA (poly vinyl acetate) glue is a runny white fluid which rapidly dries in air at room temperature to make a firm bond, turning clear as it sets.

How do you use PVA glue to create your paper sculpture? My first tip is not to use the glue straight from the container, because exposure to air causes it to set and if you are working for several hours on your sculpture the glue in a container will thicken and skin over. Instead I suggest you pour just a small amount into a small dish or paint palette, adding more as you use it, then close up the container again.

GLUING THE TABS

My next advice is to apply the glue to the tabs on the papercraft pieces with a small paint brush. Remember with a KaBlackout papercraft template the glue goes on the unprinted side of the component. All the printed lines and number will be on the inside of your finished papercraft. To apply the glue, lift a little with the brush, and lightly spread the glue along the tab. You are aiming to have a thin wet smear along the tab, if the glue is applied too thinly it won’t adhere, if you put on too much it is likely to ooze out of the join and look unsightly. With experience you’ll quickly learn how to put on just enough.

gluing_template_tab_image
Glue on the ‘clean side’ of your template tab.

Bring the glued tab into contact with the surface you’re joining it to. As the glue doesn’t set immediately you have a little leeway to adjust things if you haven’t got it in exactly the right place the first time. This does mean you’ll need to hold the parts together for a moment while the PVA glue catches. You can to this with light pressure with a finger or the blunt end of a paint brush. If any glue is squeezed out you can quickly wipe it away. Squeezing the parts together also helps make the bond stronger.

ADDING STRENGTH TO YOUR SCULPTURE 

With a larger sculpture like an animal trophy head I “paint” a little glue along glued tabs inside the sculpture after they have set just to give a little more strength to the finished papercraft.

Used properly PVA glue is a nice safe adhesive for most people. It’s fume free and odourless so using it shouldn’t cause any complaints about bad smells. While swallowing it probably isn’t a wise thing to do it is not toxic and is harmless if it gets on your hands. Of course, follow the manufacturer’s safety guidelines on the packaging at all times and if you have any safety concerns about PVA stop using it and consult a doctor .

As it is water soluble PVA glue is easy to clean up if you catch it before it sets.  Wipe off spills and overflows with a damp cloth. If it has tried it can be carefully scraped off hard surfaces, while dried PVA can be removed from fabric by soaking it in warm water before rubbing it with laundry detergent.

PVA glue is not the only product you can use to stick your KaBlackout papercraft together but in my opinion it is the best as it’s cheap, safe and easy to use. What do you think? I’d love to hear how you make your papercrafts  in the comments.

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Papercrafting Tools : 5 Must Have Tools for Papercrafters

For any DIY papercraft project, you will need a few simple tools to turn card into an eye-popping  low poly sculpture. Here is my shortlist of the vital tools no 3D papercraft builder should be without. They are all easy to source from stationery, DIY or craft shops.

Papercrafting_Tools_Image

SCISSORS

You’ll need something to cut out the parts from the printable template. Everyone has at least one pair of scissors somewhere in their house. Real papercrafters might have a pair for every day of the week! You don’t need anything too fancy at first, I began with a basic pair of kitchen scissors and you can too, but they need to be clean and sharp. After a while when I started working on more ambitious projects, I invested in specialist craft scissors. These are smaller and very useful for small detailed cutting jobs. I still use a larger kitchen-type pair to make rough cuts, but then use the craft scissors for finer work.

CRAFT KNIFE

No matter how nice your scissors are sometimes you need to make a cut where scissors can’t reach. That’s time to bring out a sharp knife. And I mean sharp. Forget about anything from the cutlery box, or that penknife that’s been at the bottom of the sock drawer since you won it at the fair when you were eleven.  There are all sorts of suitable knives available form craft shops and DIY stores. Common types come as a disposable blade attached to a plastic or metal handle. When the blade gets blunt, you just remove it, carefully dispose of it and clip on a new one.

CUTTING BOARD

Papercrafting is a pastime that needs you to do a lot of cutting and scoring. That is going to be hard on your table top. A cutting mat of some kind is essential to protect your workbench or dining room table. Traditionally these were stiff boards made from wood or a tough plastic and this older type is still available to today as “hard surface” mats. Personally I prefer the more modern “self healing” kind, this a fairly thin mat cleverly designed in flexible vinyl so any thin cuts you make in the mat surface reclose afterwards. Both varieties usually have a grid printed on them to make measuring and aligning tasks easier.

BONEFOLDER

Every papercrafter’s life goes through two stages. There is the early “cut it out, make a few folds, slap on some glue, cross fingers and hope it comes out OK” stage and then there is the day you get your first bonefolder. Suddenly you sit taller and straighter at your crafting table. Now you’re a papercraft force to be reckoned with. No papercraft will be too hard for you! If you haven’t levelled up like this yet, a bone folder is an indispensable tool for making a nice crisp crease in paper or card. It’s basically a flat and smooth stick which you run along the fold while applying a little firm pressure. Once you use one for the first time you’ll wonder how you ever did without it. Bone folders made from animal bone, plastic and Teflon are available.

PAINT BRUSH

Once you’ve cut out the template and folded all the parts, you are usually going to want to stick them together and most people will use glue for this. We’ll talk about glues another time, but now assume you’ve using a PVA glue like I do. Do not, I say again, do not, squeeze glue straight from the bottle on to the tabs on the parts.  Instead use a small “detail” paint brush to lightly spread just enough glue along the tab. Once you are done remember to wash the brush really well or you be looking for another. I also find the brush essential to reach and press on hard to get at internal bits of the sculpture I’m working on, remember to use the blunt end and not the hairy end.

There you have it, these are my choice of essential tools for making your papercraft creation. Always, for safety’s sake, use and store them carefully. If you have any recommendations of your own I’d love to hear from you in the comments section. Until the next time, stay crafty!

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Bone Folder – What Is A Bone Folder and How Do I Use It?

Creating a low poly 3D papercraft from a downloadable template is a nice relaxing way to while away a few hours and by the end you’ll have a cool paper sculpture to display. If you want to get a real sharp geometric look to your papercrafts, you should pay attention to just how fine the folds you are making really are. Luckily there is a simple and inexpensive tool designed to help you get the best out of your papercraft template, it is called a bone folder.

WHAT IS A BONE FOLDER

A bone folder is essentially a smooth and flat stick made from a hard material; usually they are shaped to a slight point at one end.  They are designed to help crease paper or card. Bone folders were once an everyday tool of anyone who had to write out letters and documents by hand on the thick and stiff paper of yesteryear. Nowadays bone folders are more of a hobbyist’s tool and are especially important for making greetings cards, bookbinding and origami and other papercrafts.

Bone folders are needed because the fibrous cellulose structure of paper or card can resist being sharply folded. The fibres in a sheet of paper are relatively inflexible and do not want to be bent. Making a sharp paper fold means you need to bend, stretch and even break the fibres along the crease. When you think of how much permanent damage to the structure of the paper is needed to make a crease, you see why it is impossible to uncrease folded paper.

HOW TO USE A BONE FOLDER

To make a nice crisp fold, score the paper along the fold line to bend and break the cellulose fibre. You can use the pointed end of the bone folder for this, but I prefer to use the back of a craft knife blade. Once you have done this fold the paper along the scored line and force the paper into a sharp crease  by applying significant pressure by pushing down on the bone folder as you run it along the fold. The result should be a beautiful knife-edged fold.

bone_folder_image
Making a sharp crease with a bone folder.

Traditionally bone folders were made from cow or deer bone, ivory or horn. These days they can still be made from cow bone but as not everyone wants to use animal derived products, I am happy to say they are also available in plastic or more recently Teflon.

WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE A BONE FOLDER?

If don’t own a bone folder, you can try using a substitute like metal scissor handles to flatten your creases.  Whatever you use make sure it doesn’t mark the paper. If you enjoy papercrafts I sure you will eventually invest in at least one bone folder, there’s something about them that makes them just feel good in your hand!

Tell me about your experiences with bone folders. Are they essential or have you an alternate way of getting a super-sharp crease? Please drop a comment and let me know!

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