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Papercraft Skull Template

By RetSamys

I didn't know I needed a picture book about Orcs until I saw GoblinHood's children's book called "Mein Papa ist ein Ork" (My Dad is an Orc) and the sequel "Mein bester Freund ist ein Goblin" (My Best Friend is a Goblin). I highly recommend it for kids 4+ years, old it's so amazing. And yes, they do work for kindergarten and preschool kids as well as for primary school pupils. (It's also interesting to see how the parents lean in and how well-versed they are in fantasy lore.)

Today, the author and illustrator Rudy Eizenhöfer came to my youth club to read us his stories and everyone had a wonderful time. For the occasion, I provided a time filler and the skulls were a great success. Which was great, because when the little Orc wanted to split some skulls in the second book, we had some ready for him!

I've seen skull templates on dA and elsewhere, but I really wanted to make one on my own and the other ones didn't have quite the mechanism I wanted. It was relatively little work compared to the Orc template that I did first. This was just a nice little extra and because it was less time-consuming, it turned out to be the more popular choice - even though they all admired the Orc I made.

There are two skulls on this template because I needed this print-ready today and I didn't want to waste too much paper. Also, I just like a horizontal template.
Oh - and I'm considering just leaving my name on everything I make. But I won't go back and edit everything in my Gallery until I find something I'm 100% happy with.

Resources used:
Tools used: the Gimp, CreaToon for the model preview in the upper left corner.
Let me know what you think!

Free art - you may:
:iconshareiconplz: Share
:iconremixiconplz: Remix
and use this work in any way you like (even commercially), under the following conditions:
:iconbyiconplz: Attribution (credit me)
Image details
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DoubleDandE's avatar
Hello, I'm from ProjectComment

The skull idea as a filler for the authors that were reading your book was a neat idea. I bet the little goblins had a fun time smashing those skulls, eh? The skull looks great, and since you came up with it that even makes it nicer. Rather than printing from a template, I’d imagine a lot of work went into this? Did you do it traditionally with pencil and paper, or 3D modeled it to get the form? Leaving it free to use is also a great idea, as it’ll allow other artists to use your model and put their own spin on it, and also sending people your way to get the original which helps you get more viewers to your page. The skull looks neat, the lines look neat, and everything about it is neat. They appear straight which will help out when cutting them out.

Speaking of cutting, some people don’t use exacto blades, and scissors don’t cut nice straight lines at times. Having the areas that need to be cut out a tiny bit thicker than the fold lines will help with people just seeing your model and wanting to cut and print it out. It’ll also help hide errors a bit when cutting. The fold lines are great, but I’m not sure what and where the glue and folds go… at first. However be the case, add numbers on the sides near the tabs so people, especially kids and parents, can find out where the tabs glue where. Maybe even add in some simple drawn instructions so they can get a hint.

Overall you’ve done a marvelous job with this. The glue bottle and the dark square next to it is a nice design take in where to add the glue. Almost like a model car. You could add those markers on the dark squares as a precaution for those that may not really understand what that is at the corner, but it’s up to you really. It’s overall nice, and I like how you’ve asked only for credit if people want to redraw a design on it. May I draw something on it? :D

Great job and keep up the good work. :thumbsup: 

RetSamys's avatar
Hello fellow commenter!

Thank you! Oh, it wasn't my book. But it did have a lot of success.
Well, I don't know if you'll believe me, but the skull was quite easy and a matter of only 1-2 days. The orc came first, so I had most of it already figured out when I started designing it - and the skull was just an adaptation from a basic cube (with one or two twists), which is something you learn in primary school. So it wasn't that much work.
The way I did it was drawing squares and rectangles to form the skull's parts in GIMP and then, I printed it out, tested it and made some improvements. Those improvements were made with scissors, so it's kind of traditional, and I made adjustments in my digital version accordingly and it worked like a charm.

I put most of my work out there under a similar license so that people can use it as a free resource. There aren't too many papercraft designs for free beyond personal use, so that might be different.
And yes, you may absolutely draw something on it and even publish it as your own little template, that's what it's for!

When I tried this out with the kids, cutting wasn't too much of an issue. Those are straight lines and apparently, it was intuitive enough for them that only the outlines had to be cut. But you're right that this is a concern for this kind of template in general, I just don't see it as too much of a problem here specifically. The orc is different that way.
Gluing, on the other hand, was a little more confusing. That's why I made the darker tiles quite bright - even if they put the wrong part over another, it won't show too much.
I'm not sure how I can work with numbers, but I have made an instructional video for this one, which I will upload soon. I'm not very adept when it comes to figuring out how to show people how things are done. But I am standing on the shoulders of giants and people have made suggestions (last year, someone suggested I should add an image of what it looks like, so I added a model on the left and this year, I made a video for the skull).

Thank you so much for your comment! I'll try to keep it in mind next time I make something like this.
DoubleDandE's avatar
You're Welcome. 

Ah I see, well that's good to hear. And interesting as well, trial and error always seem to help a bit. 
That will be interesting, I might do if I get some free time, as I like papercrafts. Drawing something on the skull and then crediting it to you is probably what I will do. The more skull and orc makers we have, the better it'll be (and fun as well). 

That's neat to see you've made a video of making the skull. I'm interested in watching it, so I'll be on the look out for it whenever you upload it. 

No problem. 
RetSamys's avatar
DoubleDandE's avatar
Nice, will give it a watch. 
PhillTheFab's avatar
Hello i'm from the group ProjectComment! Were a group that focuses on helping artists of all calibers improve through constructive comments as well as improving ourselves :D

This is amazing~ I simply adore papercrafts like this :D I remember back in my middleschool years I used to decorate my room with hundreds of these adorable crafts! I like the design its simple enough and easy to follow- the shapes are all in unison. The only thing i'd add to it is maybe try branching out and adding splashes of color! White is great cfor skills but maybe get a paint program like gimp to add a bit of flare to the artwork by adding textures like blood spatter or cracks! You've got a great eye for the art of papercraft layouts- and i feel like if you attempted to add textures to the work it'd make yoru pieces pop even more!

None the less i'll be sure to try this out the next time i have access to a printer! Good job and I cant wait to see more from you!
RetSamys's avatar
Hello, fellow commenter! Thank you.

I have GIMP and this was done entirely in GIMP. You're right, I should add some texture or some cracks to the skull. When I made it, I just got it finished for the event, so I didn't bother.

Let me know how it turns out! Thanks again.
PhillTheFab's avatar
no problem :p  it turned out great lol my cat found it though and has mistaken it as a toy //rip shes been batting it around the house and carrying it in her jaws like some type of trophy lol - so yee much approval from hoomans and cat kind alike :D
RetSamys's avatar
Well, that's high praise! Pretty cool. Thanks!=D
PhillTheFab's avatar
lol np :D i'll prob be downloading more of your neato templates!
CrystalPastelKitty's avatar
This looks pretty cool.
RetSamys's avatar
Oh, thank you!
darkaku's avatar
How do you design these stuff? 3D models?
RetSamys's avatar
Oh, I wish. Even with a 3D model, I can't see how everything unfolds without getting in the way of something else. No, I have to do it the old-fashioned way: math and imagination. I have the math. I don't have the required three-dimensional imagination. So it's a mix of trial-and-error and thinking about parts and the whole from one perspective at a time.
I have the advantage that I know how a lot of different paper boxes work. Still, this is very new territory for me.

And then, later on, I actually used a 3D program (well, kind of, it's not really made for 3D) to put the 2D pieces together manually to create the preview. Bonkers.
darkaku's avatar
If you're looking for a 3d software that's really precise with geometry and such, there's Solidworks. It's kinda like autocad (and I think they have some sort of connection) just in 3d and isn't that hard to learn, It's mostly used to design professional stuff. (though you might already know it)
RetSamys's avatar
I've heard about that program. Isn't Solidworks expensive?
darkaku's avatar
Yup but I think they have special stuff for students and others, maybe a trial version, and If you're not against piracy then that's an option too. I believe that as long as it's not professional, and you're still learning, pirating programs does no harm.
Though I don't use pirated programs right now actually, I even have a legal copy of Solid I got from a robotics team Sans Shrug 
RetSamys's avatar
I'm against piracy in that regard because it limits me, morally and in what I can publish, because I couldn't just talk about the program to others or even write a tutorial on a public platform... I'd be too afraid to get caught. So it's not really worth it unless I have something very specific that I want to do... which could happen at any given moment. =) I'll keep Solid in mind, just in case.
darkaku's avatar
Mostly nobody takes piracy seriously unless you're a very famous artist and were obviously pirating, but I see your point, it also feels much better knowing all your stuff is legal.
But if you're a student (or even not, I'm not sure it's even necessary) there's this solid student edition
And if not just keep messing with blender, it's a good program and you will improve, practice is always the way
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