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Free ebook: Fundamentals of Paper Model Design


Angel David Guzmán [PixelOz] has published a 227 page(!!) free e-book on the creation of paper models using 3D software. It focuses on Blender and even includes some sample files and a Python unfolding script.

Angel writes:

This is a free e-book that I just finished writing about how to design paper models (card models). [...] It is 227 pages long and has hundreds of full color illustrations to help you understand the concepts of the e-book better.

The e-book also talks about the many different types of software that can be used to accomplish the task.

The most important thing that I discovered while researching the subject was that where new designers had the most confusion was not in some complex thing of the design process but in some fundamental principles that were not well understood and I set out to explain them carefully to give designers a head start, so here it is, free help for those that are trying to learn this art of paper model design.

I hope that this e-book really helps to make you understand the subject better.


About the Author

Avatar image for Bart Veldhuizen
Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.


  1. wow that's really really great!

    I have been wondering if blender could do much more than papercraft studio can do. this book clearly shown it.
    downloading right now...

    thank you very much Angel David Guzmán !

  2. sorry for double post (because I can't edit it anymore)
    after I read some part of this e-book I realize that papekura designer shouldn't compared with blender.
    sorry for my statement above. it was made before I read it. :-[

  3. I didn't compare Pepakura with Blender in the book, I clearly mention in it that they are two different types of software and I specify what Pepakura is inteded for and what Blender is intended for, I think that Mr. Mpu.Bater must be confused about something.

    Surely Papekura is not to be compared with Blender cause it is not intended in reality for modeling in it cause what you are supposed to do with Pepakura is to take a model that you have created already in other 3D programs (such as Autocad, 3DStudio or perhaps even Blender itself) and import them into it so then you can perform the unfolding process in it.

    That is what Pepakura really is for, Pepakura is a software designed to compliment or to assist other 3D software with the unfolding or flattening process but it really wasn't designed as a substitute for 3D modeling software. You may export something from Blender to Pepakura in one of the 3D formats that it supports but I don't know how well it will work cause the best support that Pepakura has or the 3D program that it is more compatible with is Metasequoia but Metasequoia is designed by another company other than Tama Software.

    Now a better comparison would be to compare Metasequoia to Blender cause Metasequoia is a 3D modeler but of course in that case Blender wins hands down cause Metasequoia is a very simple 3D modeler. The issue with Metasequoia is that it is very compatible in the transfer of the 3D model from it to Pepakura and that is why Tama Software recommends it as a modeler for Pepakura and Metasequoia has two versions, a free LE version and the full commercial program that costs $45.00 but Blender is way more powerful anyway.

    Now, you don't need Pepakura to unfold with Blender of course cause Blender has not only one but two working unfolding scripts as I mentioned in the book, the only thing is that Pepakura also helps in the creation of the gluing tabs automatically and with the Blender unfolding scripts you have to do that by hand but apart from that you can do almost anything with the Blender unfolding scripts once you master them and the manual placing of gluing tabs is not a big deal, it just takes you a wee bit more time.

    Pepakura is better when you use it with other 3D programs that do not have a built in unfolding function such as Blender but you have to check first with the 3D formats to see if it imports your 3D models well enough, if it does then you can take advantage of all of its unfolding features.

    This is from the Tama Software web site (its also in the ebook):

    Supported 3D file formats ==

    * Metasequoia (mqo) (Recommended: Highest compatibility, Free version available.)
    * Wavefront (obj)
    * AutoCAD 3D (dxf)
    * 3DS Max (3ds)
    * Lightwave (lwo)
    * Binary/ASCII STL (stl)
    * Google Earth4 (kml, kmz)
    * Collada (dae)

  4. i got this ebook a while ago and it 'S a great read:)
    very in depth and has cool examples...i didn't start glueing yet but I'm sure this will help alot to avoid issues and learn to do it better,
    thanks for sharing this huge ebook!!!

  5. @PixelOz: that's why I apologize. Sometime we speak before we read and when we realize that we are wrong it will double the shame. You clearly has explain the difference in 3d apps in this book. Thank you again!

  6. To teo_gg: No I'm sorry I can't give you advice related to that cause I have given the for free the models that I have designed so far. I really don't know how this stuff sells, I wonder that myself.

    It would be interesting to know how much money a company like Schreiber-Bogen makes out of all the models in their catalog but I have no idea.

    Anyway if you want any advice on that I guess that the best place to ask for it is in paper modeling forums such as or perhaps on Zealot is about hobbies but it has a lot related to paper modeling in their forum. Take a look there to see if they can help you.

  7. Felicitaciones Angel, muchas gracias por tu contribucion a la comunidad blender. Mis mejores deseos.

    Congratulations Angel, thanks for your contribution to the blender community. All the best to you.

  8. GoingBlender on

    thanks for the book Angel!

    OFF TOPIC: Does anybody knows what happened to Tony Mullen's new book. I'm about to go postal at my local community center.

  9. Thank you Angel for this MUST HAVE tutorial! I keep collecting free paper models for the day I retired and do it as a hobby! Very nice.

  10. An interesting read! Angel - you make some good points. I'm sorry about the infinite search 'feature' - it's a disgrace :-) - I've fixed it in the next version. Also, the overlaps feature was a development/testing function that was pointlessly left-in. Tabs are also on the way, and a better layout algorithm.Unfolder is looking a bit scruffy and needs updating - I'm working on it, but I haven't got much time right now.

    I was particularly interested in the chapter about internal reinforcements. You are the first person I've seen describe this technique. Blender's unfolder *can* handle certain kinds of integrated internal supports. If you model a surface with an internal structure, Unfolder can find unfoldings, but they often take a long time to find as there is a much greater chance of overlaps. For examples see . Such nets are very difficult to fold in real life!

  11. Sorry for the question, but I'm at school right now and can't download the e-book.

    What's papermodeling? What is this book ass about? I'm sure I'd find out once I download it, but some understanding is better than none.

  12. Spencer if you are new to paper modeling and you do not understand anything about it yet I suggest that you take a look at the paper modeling guide that I also have in Deviantart. It will give you links to many places where you can download paper models for free and in those places you can see better many pictures of paper models. Also the guide itself has a few pictures of some beautiful paper models in the last two pages as examples.

    Paper models are models like plastic models but they are made of thin cardboard that has been cut, folded and glued together to form tridimensional objects. You download the pattern files and sometimes the assembly instructions. You print these patterns and then cut, fold and glue them to form the models.

    This link takes you to the guide page directly. On that page click on the Download button to the right and you will be able to see or save the PDF file. This PDF file has many links that you can click that will take you to some of the best places where you can download paper models for free and also for some that you can buy.

    In some of those places you can see many pictures of the assembled models. I suggest that you take a look at the Canon paper models site (all free) cause it has a lot of them with plenty of good pictures of fully assembled models that you can see.

    This is the link to the guide page:

    This free e-book that I wrote is about learning how to design paper models with a computer using different software programs but it is based mainly on Blender. The book is a guide to teach beginner designers the basic principles that they need to understand in order to design paper models like those that you see in the Canon website.

    Also my Ford Hot Rod 32-33 model includes a small tutorial guide in PDF format on how to assemble paper models that can help new people if they are interested in learning how to assemble paper models. but this is for assembly and the book is for those that want to learn how to design them.

    This link will take you to the assembly guide file alone directly (only the Guide PDF instead of all the Ford car files) which is located on the Jleslie48 web site that has a lot of free paper models too, particularly about space:

    The Yamaha paper models site also has a few videos that can help with learning how to assemble paper models. It also has many free beautiful models but the motorcycle ones are for more advanced modelers.

    This is the link to the Yamaha paper models site:

    This is the link to their learning videos page:

    There you have to click on Enter.

  13. Hey hi Matthew! Haven't had the opportunity to talk to you yet. I was able to talk to Czestmyr about his unfolding script a few times and I exchanged a few e-mails with him but as of lately I haven't heard of him again. Last time he communicated with me he told me he was involved in his thesis and that was quite a while ago and the last thing I heard of him.

    Anyway I'm glad that you are thinking about improving the unfolding script. I still think that it is a useful script even though I had to be honest and I though that Czestmyr script was better for some things but that doesn't make your script bad so I still used it for many parts of the book.

    Now for simpler models that have flat quads yours is still pretty good so I explained a lot in the book about using both scripts because I think that both are valuable tools and if you give yours the ability to add tabs then it could become even more valuable.

    I think that it is better to have both cause then designers also have a choice to be able to use that one which they feel is better for them depending on their taste or needs.

    I was wondering also if you guys have any plans to make the script work with the new Blender 2.6 when it is done. Do you plan to update your script later on so it works with the new Blender? I will also like to know if Czestmyr has any plans for that too but like I said I haven't heard of him for a while despite some mails that I sent him. I wonder if he is planing any of that too.

  14. Australian? No I'm USA. I'm from Puerto Rico which is US territory and there are lots of bilingual people here though most people speak Spanish. Why did you think that?

  15. Your ebook is most interesting and informative. We have the Graftec Craft ROBO CC330-20 which we have been using to do the cutting out. I have got this to work on Ubuntu -see my blog under

    On the Windows side, I have been experimenting with Serif Craft Artist, which includes a cutting out facility.
    This is available as a demo download. You can experiment with this program without paying the registration fee, but you can't make it do any cutting out.

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