How to Make a Paper Balisong

Updated February 21, 2017

The balisong, or butterfly knife, is usually a sharp, self-contained blade that can be summoned quickly and silently for combat. It's also tricky to learn and requires the honing of one's skills before any attempt to use a metal one should be made. If you're interested in the art of balisong but don't want to spend money on a new knife, consider making one out of paper first.

Hold one sheet of paper with the narrower edge facing you, and fold the bottom edge to the top.

Open the fold slightly, and spread glue on an inside half; then press the paper flat. Wait for a couple of minutes for it to dry.

Hold the folded edge so that it faces you, and fold the left side to the right edge. Glue the paper to itself as described in Step 2, and wait a few minutes.

Fold the newly folded left edge to the right side, and glue once more as previously described. Wait for a few minutes for it to dry again.

Crease the paper in half, but don't glue it. Fold the long folded edge of the paper to the opposite side, and press down to create a fold. Reopen the paper, and lay it flat in front of you.

Fold the two outer edges of the paper to the centre crease. This will create two equally thick V-shaped pieces of paper joined together.

Cut along the centre crease.

Leave these pieces to dry for about 10 minutes while you work on the next section.

Repeat the first four steps from the preceding section on the other sheet of paper.

Allow the paper to dry for about 10 minutes.

Center a quarter about ¼ inch above the bottom edge of the piece of paper. Trace the bottom half of the quarter with the marker, and then remove the coin. Draw a pair of hinge-tabs jutting out from either side of that rounded mark, about ¾ inch wide and about ¼ inch in from either edge of the paper. This mark is the base of the blade.

Draw a knife blade onto the piece of paper, stemming from the base. You can make it as simple or ornate as you choose. A balisong typically is a simple, teardrop-shaped blade with a straight point. Usually, only one edge is sharpened.

Use the scissors or utility knife to cut the blade out.

Take one of the V-shaped handle pieces, and cut a diagonal notch into the creased edge, starting ¾ inch from the top. The notch doesn't need to be wider than a ¼ inch.

Repeat Step 1 with the other handle piece.

Slide the blade into the handle. Put the blade in the centre of the crease, and then push until the hinge-tab meets the notch. The knife is in its closed position. Holding the notch in place over the hinge-tab, test that the handle will open 180 degrees to the open position.

Punch a thumbtack through the notched end of the blade handle, then the blade, and then the other side of the handle at the ideal pivoting point. This is the centre point where the handle can swing around unencumbered by the blade.

Stick a piece of eraser over the exposed pin. Wiggle the pieces of paper around the pushpin so that the hole is loosened, allowing the handle to swing freely.


If you choose to make the knife out of cardboard or card stock instead of paper, you can skip the steps that refer to folding the paper in half.


Take care when cutting paper with a craft knife. Craft knives are sharp and can cut you as well as the paper.

Things You'll Need

  • Two sheets of paper or card stock
  • Glue
  • Quarter
  • Marker
  • Scissors
  • Two thumbtacks (flathead variety ideal)
  • Two pencil erasers
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About the Author

Grahame Turner has worked as a freelance writer since 2009 and a freelance reporter since 2010 for Wellesley Patch and Jamaica Plain Patch in Massachusetts. He also works part-time as a bookseller at the Northeastern University bookstore. He is a Northeastern University graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in English.