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Paper model

Paper model of Mount Vernon

Paper models, also called card models or papercraft, are models constructed mainly from sheets of heavy paper or card stock as a hobby.



It may be considered a broad category that contains origami and card modelling, with origami being a paper model made from folding paper (without using glue), and card modelling as the making of scale models from sheets of card on which the parts were printed, usually in full colour, for one to cut out, fold, score and glue together. They appear to be generally more popular in Europe and Japan than in the United States.

Sometimes the models can be punched out, but more frequently the printed parts must be cut out with a hobby knife (or a pair of scissors). Edges may be scored to aid folding. The parts are usually glued together with polyvinyl acetate glue ("white glue" "PVA"). One of the features of this kind of modeling is that the models are usually pre-painted, and there is no need to paint the model after completion, although some may enhance the as-built model by painting and detailing. Due to the nature of the paper medium, the model may be sealed with varnish to be able to last longer.


Example of papercraft

Printed card models became common in magazines in the early part of the 20th century. The popularity of card modeling boomed during World War II, when paper was one of the few items whose use and production was not heavily regulated.

Micromodels, designed and published in England from 1941 were very popular with 100 different models, including architecture, ships, and aircraft. But as plastic model kits became more commonly available, interest in paper decreased.


Since papercraft patterns can be easily printed and assembled, the Internet has become a popular means of exchanging them. Commercial corporations have recently begun using downloadable papercraft for their marketing (examples are Yamaha and Canon).

The availability of numerous models on the Internet at little or no cost, which can then be downloaded and printed on inexpensive inkjet printers has caused its popularity again to increase worldwide. Home printing also allows models to be scaled up or down easily (for example, in order to make two models from different authors, in different scales, match each other in size), although the paper weight might need to be adjusted in the same ratio.

Kits can also be purchased inexpensively from dedicated publishers (mostly based in Eastern Europe; examples include Halinski and Maly Modelarz), some of which date back to 1950. Experienced hobbyists often scratchbuild, either by drawing their models by hand, or, increasingly, with software such as Adobe Illustrator. CAD and CG software such as Rhino 3D, 3DS Max, and specialist software, like PePaKuRa Designer from Tama software and Waybe, also exists to convert 3D computer models into two-dimensional printable models that can then be cut out and assembled. Because of this, there is no practical limit to the variety of models available. Ships, automobiles, aircraft, spacecraft (both real and fictional), buildings, and animals are common. In recent years, Japanese subjects such as Gundams and anime figures also start to make an appearance in papercraft.


  • Paper Aeroplane
  • Origamic architecture
  • Paper prototyping
  • Cardboard engineering

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