FAQ: Papercraft & Pepakura


Sr Member
As many of you may have noticed, the “Help! for Papercraft and Pepakura sticky was getting a little out of hand. The same questions were being asked over and over, but it was far too unreasonable to sift through the hundreds of pages looking for the answer. So, I sifted through the thousands of posts, looking for the most frequently asked questions. This thread will be that Help! thread’s replacement.

As this is an FAQ thread, every single question ever asked may not be covered. If you have a question, read through the FAQs first. If your question is not answered, then you can submit a post asking that question. When someone answers your question (and anybody can answer), the answer will be edited into the question post by a moderator and all subsequent answers/comments will be deleted. This is part of an effort to keep this thread clean and easy to read over. As such, periodically, the questions asked in later posts will be added to the FAQ section, and the posts themselves deleted.

To make it a little easier to locate a particular FAQ, I’ve broken this thread down into sections: Getting Started, Using Pepakura, Scaling and Building a Pepakura Project (more categories may be added later). Determine which category your question falls into and look in that section. Since there is a 10,000 character limit per post, the first 5 posts have been reserved for FAQ expansion.

If you have a question that someone has already posted, but has not been answered, do not post an “I’m wondering that, too” post; simply wait for the question to be answered.

Now, onto the FAQs; there are a lot of them, but this is a complex hobby. Read them (one hint, use Ctrl+F to find a particular word to make your search easier).

Getting Started

How does Pepakura work?
Pepakura takes the geometry of a computer-generated 3D model, and breaks it down into a series of flat shapes that can be printed onto a piece of paper, cut out, folded and glued together so you can create a physical model of that computer-generated model.

Where do I get the Pepakura program?

Are the files for Pepakura Designer the same as Pepakura Viewer?
Yes. All files opened with Designer and Viewer are .PDO files.

Where can I find Halo/Ironman/etc. files for Pepakura?

When I try to download anything from the 4shared website, I get a pop-up asking me to log in; why won’t anything download?
4shared requires you to have an account in order to download anything. It’s free.

What kind of paper do I use?
110 lb cardstock (200g/m²) is the most common type. Heavier paper will have a hard time feeding through a printer, and lighter paper will create flimsy models. You can find cardstock and most office supply stores, as well as big box stores like Walmart.

I only have XX amount of days/weeks/months before I need to have a full suit finished; do I have enough time?
Deadlines are commendable, but if you only have a few months to create an entire suit, reconsider. It’s a good idea to allot yourself at least a month for each piece or pair of pieces you wish to build. A full suit of Mjolnir armor can easily take a year or more to complete.

I want to build something other than Halo/Ironman/Gears of War, etc and cannot find a file; can someone design a helmet/armor piece for me?
Make this request in the Pepakura Requests Thread

I want to build a suit of Halo armor for airsoft/paintball; can I?
This type of armor is intended for costume use only. It is not safety equipment. As such, the discussion of armor with the intention of using it for airsoft/paintball, or for use in extreme and unusual conditions where safety is paramount, is not allowed in the forums.

Using Pepakura

I use a Mac, not a PC; can I still use Pepakura?
Normally, no. Pepakura is a Windows-based program, so it will not work on a Mac unless you have a way to run a Windows operating system (via Bootcamp or some other method).

I downloaded Pepakura Designer, but I can’t save or export anything. Why not?
In order to save or export anything from Designer, an activation key must be purchased from the Tamasoft website.

I have found one side of a piece of armor (thigh, shoulder, forearm, etc) but when I open the file for the other side, it’s the same as the first piece; where’s the other side?
To save time, modelers typically design and unfold only one side of a pair of armor pieces. To get the other side, all they do is use the “Mirror Pattern” command. In older versions of Pepakura, this would only invert the 2D window items. The late 2013 update of Designer changed so the 3D window is inverted as well. Pay particular attention to the parts in the 2D window, and make sure that they are indeed inverted.

Pepakura is in millimeters! What if all I know is inches and feet?
1” = 25.4mm

I found a Pepakura model of something I’d like to build, but it’s not unfolded; how do I unfold?
Unfolding can be a daunting task, depending on the complexity of the model. Take a look at these two Youtube tutorials…

I’m using a file that has something labeled “Floating Faces”; what are those?
Floating faces are parts that are added later as a detail piece. Usually, these parts are traced onto a thicker material like mat board, styrene or craft foam (depending on the intended thickness of the detail), then attached after the smoothing/bondo process.

What is a sliced model?
A sliced model is a series of floating faces that are meant to build up the basic shape of a piece (usually a weapon) and be further detailed with body filler later. The thickness of each floating face in a sliced model may vary from model to model.

Is there a way I can measure from one point to another in the program before I print it out; like the opening to a helmet?
Yes. If you right click in the 2D window, select the “Measure Distance between Two Points” command. Then, in the 3D window, click the two points you’d like to measure to and from. A window will pop up showing the coordinates of the two points as well as the distance between them.

Pepakura is not printing lines/tab numbers/etc.; what do I do?
Under “Settings” click “Print and Paper Settings”
Leave the default the way it’s been working for you, but select:
“Print Lines Smoothly (Bitmap print)”; and
“Transparency” to 0%.
Updating your copy of Pepakura Designer to the latest update should clear this problem up, as this was a common problem with an older update.

When I open a Pepakura file and look at the 2D window, there are no tab numbers; will it automatically print those numbers, or do I have to add them?
Pepakura will not automatically print the numbers if they are turned off. Make sure that the “Show Edge ID” option under the 2D Menu tab is checked.

When I try to print using Pepakura Designer or Viewer, a window pops up telling me that the size of the paper specified by Pepakura is not the same as the Printer setting; what do I do?
This means that the size of the paper that is specified in the “Printer and Paper Settings” under the File tab do not match the paper size or orientation specified in the print settings. Ensure that everything matches up.

What does it mean when Pepakura asks for a password to open the file?
It means that the model you are trying to open has been password-protected by the creator. Most of the time, it will allow you to open the file without the password, but will automatically try to open with Pepakura Viewer, preventing you from editing the model in any way (including scaling). Contact the model’s creator if possible to get the password.

Is it possible to rearrange parts in the 3D window of Pepakura Designer?
No. In order to edit or change the 3D model, it must be exported to a 3D modeling program.

When I open/unfold a model, the tabs are pretty large/tiny, is there a way to resize the tabs?
Yes. Using the “Edit Flaps” command, you can change which piece the tab sits, or change the size or angle of the tabs.

There is a tiny piece that has small tabs and all the edge ID numbers are bunched up so I can’t read them; is there a way to separate them so I can read them on a small piece?
Nope, just do your best to figure out how the piece folds.

Can I export the file to a PDF?
Yes. Print as a PDF if you have the capability. If not, you can download CutePDF, a free PDF printer.

I’ve seen solid colored lines being used for mountain and valley folds instead of the dashed lines; how do I do this?
Click on the “Settings” tab, then select “Other Settings.” In the window that pops up, you can reassign the linetypes to solid. Then close that window. Click on the icon at the top that looks like three colored pencils (red, blue and green). Check the box corresponding to which line you’d like to change, and the color you’d like to change it to. Then, in the 2D window, click and drag a box over everything. You will notice that the folds you wish to change will highlight. The color will be applied when you release. Repeat for the other fold(s).
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Sr Member

How do I scale armor to fit my body?
There are a few methods. Pick which ever works best for you…


Is there a “standard” scale for [INSERT ARMOR TYPE HERE]?
No. Unless one modeler modeled the entire suit, there is no all-encompassing scale for a particular piece of armor.

Can I scale armor in Pepakura Viewer?
No. Models can only be scaled in Designer.

I don’t have a Spartan body; how do I keep everything in scale if I’m a bigger/smaller person?
It’s best, in this case, to take it one piece at a time, scale it to your body and make any adjustments later on to make it look better, aesthetically. This will be a challenge as it will require you to scratch build much of the time.

I want to adjust the size of a helmet, but when I adjust the height, the width and depth change with it, why?
Pepakura Designer scales models proportionately. So, if a model has a height of 100mm, depth of 50mm and a width of 75mm, and you change the height to 200mm, the depth and width will change to 100mm and 150mm, respectively, to maintain the proportions of the model.

Is there any way to adjust only the height, width or depth without changing the others?
Not in Pepakura Designer. In order to adjust the proportions of the model, it must be exported and done so in a 3D modeling program.

When I rescale a model in Designer using the “Recalculate Parts Layout” command, it lays everything out across dozens of pages; how can I keep this from happening?
Rather than clicking on “Recalculate Parts Layout” use the “Change Scale > Scale Factor” command. This will keep the parts in the 2D window in the same relative location, some movement may be necessary to get everything back onto the pages, but it will be far easier than using the “Recalculate Parts Layout” command.

What is the purpose of the scale factor?
The scale factor tells you how much bigger or smaller the model is as an unfolded model as compared to the 3D model as it was originally created. For example, if a helmet was designed in a 3D modeling program with a height of 300mm, and it was unfolded in Pepakura Designer with a set height of 300mm, the scale factor would be 1; if it was unfolded with a set height of 150mm, the scale factor would be 0.5, etc.

When I rescale a model, some of the pieces no longer fit onto a single sheet of paper; what do I do?
Pepakura Designer allows you to move the pieces in the 2D window. Click on the parts that are falling off the page and drag them back onto the page. If they are too big to fit at all, use the programs “Join/Disjoin” command to split the part into smaller, more manageable sized pieces.

I tried to use the “Join/Disjoin” command to cut a piece down into smaller parts, but it does not split the right way, it’s still too big; what do I do?
If you run into this problem, the best solution is to go into the “Print and Paper Settings” window under the File tab and select “Print Alignment Marks for Multiple Pages” This will print lines in the corners of the pages based on your margin settings. You can use those lines to match the piece up after you’ve printed.

Building a Pepakura Project

How do I cut this stuff out?
The most common method is to use an Xacto knife or a pair of scissors.

After I print off the file, how do I locate where all the parts go?
A good method is to assemble the Pepakura piece in front of your computer with the file open. Using your computer, you can locate where each piece goes and where each piece is located on your print-out.

Where is the best place to start when assembling a Pepakura project (for example with a helmet, do I start from the top, bottom, where)?
Wherever is best for you. There is no “best” place to start.

Do I assemble a Pepakura project in the order the tabs are labeled (start with tab 1 to tab 1, then tab 2 to tab 2, etc.)?
No. Trying to start at 1 and work your way numerically would be impossible. Pepakura Designer assigns numbers seemingly randomly; these numbers are only used to match up sides.

How long does it take to assemble [INSERT ARMOR TYPE HERE]?
It depends on how fast you are. It’s different for everyone.

I’m more of a visual learner; are there any video tutorials?
Tons of them. Perform a search in Youtube for “Assembling a Pepakura Model” or something similar.

What kind of glue is best for Pepakura?
Whatever works for you. The most popular kinds used for Pepakura projects are White/PVA glue, hot glue and super glue. There are definite advantages and disadvantages for each, but use what works best for you.

Is it ok to use tape instead of or with glue?
It’s fine to use tape to temporarily secure a piece, but the tape should be removed before you apply resin to the exterior.

Is it ok to use different colored cardstock?

While building my Pepakura model, I notice that some of the parts don’t go together perfectly and are creating small gaps; is this ok?
A small gap here and there is nothing to be concerned about. When breaking the model down, Pepakura Designer does not take the thickness of the paper into account, so the occasional gap will happen.

If a helmet has a visor designed with it, do I built it with the visor; when do I remove it?
Yes, build it with the visor. The visor will help the model maintain its shape and help to prevent warping. The best time to remove the visor is any time after the hardening process (fiberglassing or rondo stage) using a dremel with a cutting wheel attachment.

When I’m putting together a Pepakura project, I notice that some of the tab numbers are bigger than others, is this normal?
While this is not normal, it’s also not a big deal. The center point of the numbers should still line up.

How do I prevent a piece from warping?
There are a number of methods. If the Pepakura model includes an internal support structure, use it. If not, then you can create your own using a number of rigid mediums (dowel rods, bamboo skewers, chop sticks, foam core, cardboard, etc); just temporarily glue it into the piece in a way that it will maintain the model’s shape until after the strengthening process. The best time to fix a warping problem is before the resin stage.

If a model does have a built-in structure, when is it best to put them in?
As you build the model.

I finished putting together my Pepakura project, I’m sure I scaled it correctly and it looks like it would fit me, but I cannot get into it; what do I do?
Most of the time, an opening in a Pepakura piece will need to be adjusted (most notoriously, a helmet’s neck opening). If you’re sure it’s scaled correctly, move onto the hardening process, then cut the hole larger afterward. If it’s something larger like a torso, the front portion may need to be separated from the back portion after hardening, then strapped back together to be able to wear it.

I finished putting together my Pepakura project, I now have a paper helmet/model; what now?
Move onto the strengthening and hardening process (see FAQ: Resin, Firberglass, Bondo & Rondo)

I just finished putting together a Pepakura model; can I show it in this thread?
Not unless you have an unanswered question and need to post a picture to clearly ask it.
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New Member
New guy here. New to pepakura and costume building. Having a hard time understanding how to scale (I know this is beat to death). I have read through multiple post and want to make sure im doing this right. I already built an iron man helmet and its huge.

Im building the war machine helmet from this thread.


I'm using designer and viewer 3.

I measured my head from my chin to the top of my head and came up with roughly 22cm. Im bumping it up to 25cm for padding and electronics.

So thats 250 mm which I put in height for scale and my scale factor is .89 I believe. Does that sound right?

Also when you print out the patterns, do I print letter or landscape? Thanks in advance for the help. Looking forward to building a full suit.

With the Ironman helmet, you can't add as much space for padding, since it's supposed to be a closer-fitting helmet. Truthfully, a lot of scaling is trial and error. You can read all the tutorials you want, but in the end, you're just going to have to try it, see how close it is and adjust if needed.

Letter has nothing to do with Landscape; it's Portrait or Landscape. It all depends on the way the pages are oriented according to the Print and Paper Settings under the File tab. Whatever is listed in there is the orientation you should be printing.


New Member
Hey everyone glad to be a part of this forum site. So I'm starting my first build which is ODST armor. I've got most of the pep files I need but still lacking the back "butt" plate. I looked on the 405th 4shared site but couldn't find it. Is it really necessary to have or does someone know where I can find the pep file?

The file is there. Look at this file path in the database...

Halo 3: ODST Database > Hugh Holder's Files > Base Parts > ODST by Hugh Fanny_Pack.pdo


New Member
I wasn't sure if this was where to post this but you can move it as needed. The MK VI helmet that I pepped fits nicely…once I get it over my ears(I forgot to mention my ears are huge compared to my head). After I resin it will I still be able to pull it over my ears? Should I cut around the bottom some before resining it?

It's not uncommon for a helmet to need widening so your head (and ears) can easily and comfortably fit in. The best time to widen the opening is either after you resin or after you harden. If you remove the material before the resin process, you run the risk of warping the helmet.


New Member
Just a quick question. I've never done any HALO armor before but am anxious to get started. I wanted to pull off the actual scale of the Master Chief. It is my understanding that he is actually 7 feet tall or better. I was wondering if anyone new exactly how tall he is supposed to be and if anyone has made any armor that would incorporate a pair of painters stilts. Just wanted to get the full effect when I walk down the street next year!

Yes, Master Chief is 7' tall when he dons his armor (a few inches shorter out of it). However, unless you're upwards of 6'-6" or 6'-8", what you're proposing is going to be very difficult to convincingly pull off.


New Member
Help with inside-out file?
I recently tried to build an enclave helmet (fallout) and the helmet pieces, while in pepakura designer, were all grey. Not thinking otherwise, I printed them and cut them all out. Now I notice they would be put together inside out, with the flaps on the outside of the helmet and the numbers on the inside. How do I reverse this? does anyone have a better enclave power armor helmet file?

There are two things you can do with an inside out file.

1. In Pepakura Designer, undo the unfold, click on "3D Menu">"Change Coordinates">"Invert Faces", then unfold it again.

2. If the file is a symmetrical file like a helmet or a torso, simply switch the fold types as you build it (treat mountain folds like valley folds and treat valley folds like mountain folds), and keep the tabs on the inside and the tab ID numbers on the outside; this will essentially flip the pattern inside out. Note though that this will make a mirror copy of the model, so if you're trying to build a right gauntlet, using this method will end up with a left gauntlet.


New Member
To get a feel for scaling I recently loaded all Mk VII pieces by Aztlan then entered my height in mm to get the scale number. I then opened just the helmet, entered the scale number and recorded the mm in the Height bracket. My question is will that height number be the same on another helmet made by someone other than Aztlan? Thanks for any help offered

As long as the height actually fits you, most likely. You can apply the same model height to most Halo-style helmets and they will still fit you, with the exception of a few (such as the Hayabusa helmet or any helmet that has extra vertical features). HOWEVER, the method of scaling you used may not work 100% of the time. The most foolproof way to scale is to scale each piece, individually, to the size of your corresponding body part with a little added to take padding into account.


Jr Member
I resently got a new PC and was wondering how to transfer the software over. I had purchased the pepakura and don't want to lose it.

Open Pep program click on help go to "Version Info" and copy the License Key.


New Member
Ok im new here and i wanna create something new i wanna combine two different chest pieces from reach but idk if some one could design a pep file for me or should i make both pieces and cut the parts off the one i want and bondo them to the other chest?

And i need pep files but its hard the find on e ive never seen one made but i need a pep file for the Operator helmet and for the tactical/ recon chest and the collar grenadier [UA] and for the tactical hard case and also the left security shoulder and the right sniper shoulder and a forarm pice that i can put a nokia lumia 520 in to make a bit more realistic? best place to find these and or easiest way to find them bc the Op helmet i cant find anywhere and im new


New Member
Thank you for this thread! I just learned about Pepakura and I have been trying to understand it, and I make the mistake of using regular paper to print this out. I was wondering what kind of paper I needed and this helped me out a lot! Thank you again!


New Member
I've been having issues printing out files lately... It randomly prints sheets of paper with ink completely covering the page, and won't print the patterns. I tried switching the print settings as mentioned in the first few suggestions, but it still prints all screwy. Also, I know it isn't a printer issue, as it does this for every one of the last three printers I have tried using.