Paper modeling, like any hobby, has its own terminology which can be confusing to new people. Many items should be recognizable to most but may have a specific meaning in regards to paper modeling.
Paper is of course the most important part of paper modeling. We are not talking about just ordinary paper you use to write your school notes.
Standard 110lb. card stock (180gsm) is sturdy and most commonly used in buildings, terrain, and large figures. It’s also inexpensive. The downside is that card stock does not yield the best printing results. Printer ink tends to bleed and the end result is a somewhat blurred image. Use card stock if you are concerned about price and quantity is more important than quality.
Cover stock is also an option when needing more durability. 80lb. cover stock (200gsm) is a bit more sturdy than 110lb. card stock and has a finish that improves color brightness and reduces bleed. Care must also be taken so as not to smear the ink when working with the model. Cover stock will improve your prints but does cost a more than card stock.
Photo matte paper offers exceptional print quality but it costs a fair amount more than card stock. You will also sacrifice some rigidity of the paper and should not be used for large models. Photo matte paper is recommended for paper miniatures.
Hobby knife: A cheap utility or hobby knife will cut details better than scissors and is the most used tool in paper modeling (aside from paper). Make sure to get one with a comfortable grip. X-Acto with #11 blades is the most well known but Fiskars and Olfa also make high quality hobby knifes.
Straight Edge: A ruler with a metal edge or better yet a metal ruler with cork on the back. We suggest a large ruler that can go the length of the models you will be assembling as well as a smaller ruler to speed up cutting of smaller pieces.
Cutting Mat/Pad: A surface to cut on so that you won’t ruin your table or your knife. You could go with something as simple as a piece of chipboard off the back of a notepad. A self-healing mat is ideal as it will prolong the life of your knife blade and make cutting easier.
Markers: Permanent pens are used to edge a model and remove any white areas. A multitude of colors are not required but you should have at least a black, gray, and green.
Glue: A low moisture tacky glue is best when working with paper. White Elmer’s Glue does work but care must be used since the high water content can easily warp the paper. UHU Office Pen, Aleene’s Original Tacky Glue, or Scotch scrapbooking glue all work better than white school glue. Spray adhesive or sticky backed sheets of printer paper can also work. Do not use rubber cement or a hot glue gun.
Scissors, while not the main tool in paper modeling, do come in handy for large, simple cuts.