Common Techniques

Often times in paper modeling, the same effect can be achieved using different means. Some techniques may give you faster or better quality results. Luckily though, experimentation is cheap and if you are having fun there is no wrong way to enjoy the great hobby of paper modeling.

Cutting is something we all learned to do early in our elementary school career. However we most often used those really dull round scissors so we couldn’t poke our eyes out or cut our hair (or someone else’s). For modeling we use a hobby knife and a straight edge. It will give you more precise cuts and can be faster than scissors. Align the straight edge so that you can pull the knife towards you. Rotate the paper as necessary and use sharp blades since they will be faster and safer.

Scoring is like cutting but only reaching partway through the paper. A score will help fold the paper along a line and give a crisp looking model. You may want to go through a few trial runs on scrap paper to know how much pressure to apply when changing blades. If you do cut all the way through you can use scotch tape but that slows down the process.

Reverse scoring is like scoring but on the back of the printed sheet instead of the front to reverse the fold direction. Scoring a back sheet of paper is a bit trickier but isn’t too hard. Place small cut marks above and below the score line so you can see them on the back of the paper. Then align the straight edge and score as you normally would.

Burnishing is used to solidly glue two pieces of paper together. After applying glue, run something hard and flat like a ruler or spoon over the entire glued area. This will remove any trapped air and make the bond more ridged. You may need a few passes or you can even flip over the glued sheets and burnish again to make certain.

Edging removes the white edge on paper and makes the model look MUCH better. Felt markers work best but you can also use a brush and paint. Simply run along the edges of the model with a marker until the white edge is no longer seen. By holding a marker tip in the hard-to-reach corners, the bleed will eventually remove the white. Black will be the most common edging color but you can try to match the model’s color with different marker colors.