How to Make Paper Art


When you hear the term "paper art," you probably imagine origami--those cute little animals and birds made from folding a sheet of paper into intricate folds, creating the image of a living being. Origami may be the most widely known paper art, but there are many other forms of paper art that you can enjoy.

Things You'll Need

  • Patterns
  • Paper
  • Scissors
  • Paper mache
  • Water


  • Choose a design that appeals to you. There are patterns available for many different designs that come with full instructions for folding the paper.

  • Purchase origami paper. This paper is designed for use in creating origami. It is thin and lightweight and folds easily. It is available in many different sizes and colors, often with each side of the paper a different color.

  • Follow the instructions for the design you wish to create. If you are new to origami, it is best to choose a simple design for beginners. Be patient as you learn this new art form. Your skills will develop as your practice folding and creating designs.

Paper Mache

  • Consider paper mache for creating 3-D art forms out of paper. Paper mache can be used to create elaborate and detailed sculptures and other pieces of art. Although you may think paper mache is just for kids, you are mistaken. Some truly wonderful designs are possible with nothing more than some paper and a little glue and water.

  • Shred newspapers into strips 1/2-inch by the length of the paper. These pieces will be used to develop the base of your project.

  • Mix plain white school glue with warm water. Add enough glue that the water feels slippery and smooth to the touch. It does not have to be gooey and sticky.

  • Soak the paper strips in the glue and water mixture until they are soft and well saturated. Do not leave the strips in the water for long periods as they will dissolve.

  • Cover the object you are using for a base to your project with strips of paper mache. Smooth them with your hands to remove and wrinkles or bumps. You can create a base with inflated balloons, chicken wire or any other lightweight material.

  • Allow to dry overnight. Add layers to your piece of art by using newspaper and the glue mixture. To build up areas, you can use finely shredded newspapers that have been nearly dissolved in the glue and water mixture. Squeeze out excess water and apply to the area like sculpting material.

  • Paint the finished project.

Paper Models

  • Choose a design that appeals to you and purchase or download the appropriate patterns and instructions. See the resource section for free patterns for paper models.

  • Follow the instructions for creating the 3-D model. These are similar to origami, but are made from multiple pieces and are not folded from one sheet of paper.

  • Be patient and don't get discouraged. Building 3-D paper models is difficult and requires time.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you are new to paper art, choose designs for beginners. There will be plenty of time to move on to more complex projects. It is important to learn the techniques before attempting projects with intricate details.

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