News / understanding paper models
Have you read "The Magic City" by Edith Nesbith yet? It is one of my favourite childrens' books. Philip, the boy in the story, builds a city out of everything he can find in his new home - he starts off with conventional wooden building blocks, but when they run out, he uses books, ornaments, cutlery, whatever he can find. Then,at moonlight the magic happens:he becomes tiny, the city becomes huge and he walks through these amazing streets he has created.
It inspired me as a child to make miniature townscapes - sometimes with whatever was available in our house, and sometimes outdoors in the forest, on the beach, in the garden. I used to make tiny little stone houses with real cement and stones. I'd build tiny fireplaces and chimneys into them and light real fires inside them and watch the smoke rise out of them. How alive it made them look! Coming home in the evenings I'd smell like someone who'd spent the whole day by a camp fire. My parents were a bit concerned that I'd started smoking - until they found out what I was doing...
Recently, I received an unusual commission: to make models of Dingle Pubs as centre pieces for tables at a wedding! What fun, I thought... what if I could light them up and make them come alive like those little huts of my childhood?
Some of my customers have asked me whether my model kit of Bunratty Castle is very difficult to make. My answer to you is: I have put a lot of thought into making this as easy to understand and assemble as possible - my focus is on fun, not tedium! So whether you're a complete newcomer to papercraft, or an experienced modeller, I think you will enjoy making this one!
I have outlined below the steps you need to take to build my great model of Bunratty Castle:
Before cutting out any of your kit, score all edges to be folded using a ruler and something pointy such as a darning needle or a very hard pencil - or, if you want to be really professional, a metal scribe.
Then start with the south facade:
Cut out and glue the turrets onto themselves and then cut out the white areas as shown. The flaps are folded inwards to receive the floors
Now move onto south facade part two:
I did try to squeeze everything into as few pages as possible to keep it nice and compact - so here is my way of building that tower wall as well as the south facade alcove all out of one piece of paper!
I think, once you've reached this stage you're flying, but do email me if you get stuck...
It only takes me 20 minutes of cleaning my house - and hey presto! - the recycling bin is full again.
Full of cardboard in different thicknesses, shapes, colours, qualities. If you start looking at this waste in a new way, you'll see it for the great craft material it really is!
I recently designed a powerpoint presentation for the LearnCraftDesign website ( published by the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland) on how to do a little papercraft project with primary school children - it's called "Design Your Own Room". Why not have a look and get inspired?
I never grow tired of making paper models: sitting in my studio, listening to a good Audio Book ( at the moment it's "Murder on the Orient Express" by Agatha Christie), while it's drizzling outside... it's one of my favourite ways to spend a rainy afternoon.
Everytime I approach a paper model, I just feel amazed and excited by the ingenius simplicity of this craft. Using a few simple tools, such as a scribe or darning needle for scoring, a scissors or craft knife and some fast drying glue, one can build the most amazing 3D structures. Whatever you can think of - make it with paper!
People ask me whether the models I have designed are too difficult for six year olds? My answer to them is: six year olds and even younger children love my models, because even if they cut them out all crooked and glue things together higgledepiggledee, they still look great! And once they've done a few, they won't want to stop: they'll start building the most amazing models of their own design.
Making a paper model is not really about the perfect thing at the end ( well for some perfectionists it is), but much more about the pleasure of making it - understanding it, seeing the miraculous transformation from 2D to 3D take place beneath our hands.
I hope my models make that miracle happen for you.