How to make cool 3D stuff out of paper

Updated April 17, 2017

Paper is a universal medium. It can be used in drawing, painting and even sculpture. Creating 3-D paper art can be a challenge sometimes, but the end result looks interesting because it gives the viewer a new perspective from every angle. It is something that not many artists can or will do because it may appear intimidating, but with a few pointers, you can be on your way to creating works of art with paper too.

Buy quilling supplies at your local arts and crafts stores. (If you can't find any, try online - see resource 1). You can also save some money by purchasing card stock paper (the paper used in scrap booking) and cutting it into thin strips with a paper cutter.

Use a toothpick if you did not purchase quilling supplies (if you did, use the slotted or needle tool, which looks like a toothpick with a small slot in the end). Place the end of the strip of card stock on the toothpick (or in the slot of the tool) and begin to roll the toothpick forward, bringing with it the strip of paper. In this way you will roll the strip.

Pull the strip off when it is rolled to your liking. Depending on what you are trying to make, a small roll may be better than a large roll. Cut off any extra if necessary and save it. You can use that later.

Repeat Steps 1 through 3 with different colours of paper. When you have enough (depending on your shape, you may need anywhere from five to 15), you can paste them on a sheet of paper (use drawing paper for more support) in a design. You can create flowers, for instance, by pasting six or seven "petals" of any colour around a yellow centre. If you need to make something with a tip, such as the end of a flower petal, start by rolling a circle. Then unroll enough from the circle to bend the strip about an inch from the end. This creates the petal's point, with the rolled circle as the inside of the petal.

Mount everything on the drawing paper with a glue that dries clear (such as Elmer's) by directly applying the glue to the bottom of the quilled paper. It may take time and be tedious, but it is better than placing glue on the drawing paper, because that will warp your page.

Find an image you would like to use. For the first time, try to keep it small enough that it's easy to hold in one hand. Print four copies of this image (to save paper, keep them all on one page).

Let the ink dry. Paint a d�coupage finish over each of the four images. After it is dry, cut them out precisely, and do not leave any rough edges.

Bend or curl your images if they need it. For example, if you are trying to create a butterfly, the wings need to be slightly curled. Curl each wing with a small circular device, such as a toothpick, by placing it at the base of the wing (nearest to the body) and pulling it out toward the tip of the wing with some pressure. (This is the same method used when you curl ribbons.)

Bend or curl each part as necessary (using the instructions from Step 3), if there are more pieces that you do not want to lie flat. Using an adhesive, or the d�coupage finish, glue each image one on top of the other. When this dries, add a shiny finish with varnish.

Things You'll Need

  • Card stock
  • Drawing paper
  • Elmer's glue
  • Quilling supplies
  • Toothpick
  • Paper cutter
  • D�coupage finish
  • Varnish
  • Paint brush
  • Printer paper
  • Printer
  • Scissors
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About the Author

Sarah Streitwieser has been writing professionally since 2009, with many articles appearing on various websites. Streitwieser is seeking her Bachelor of Arts in industrial design with a double major in English from Purdue University.