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What is Pepakura?


Cosplayers are (or will become) well aware of a piece of software called Pepakura. So have people who like origami but aren’t exactly able to produce their own origami Picasso’s. But what does this mean to everyone else? Is it a niche and powerful tool which we can all rely on for that extra support, or is it another flash in the pan fad by some hobby enthusiasts?

The software is built for Windows, but its viewer software comes free of charge and can be found here. Because it can be used for free of charge, I decided to give it a download and then to use WINE to emulate the software. If you’re a Linux fan, that’s the easiest way for you to use this software.



I am not advocating drinking wine… Unless you want to I guess. This is WINE.


So as I told you, Pepakura is great for the budding origami Picassos but what on earth could I ever mean by this? Pepakura is a paper folding application. It’s pretty intuitive and it allows people to produce some incredibly complex patterns and shapes. All you need to get started it the right file type.

Pepakura can take 3D images and turn them into a much less complex 2D net, much like you would have done back at school when designing a 3D object from paper. It’s really an impressive bit of kit. I was able to find a set of instructions on how to assemble my very own paper Axew (from Pokemon, Generation V). The link there takes you to a PDF file. Please visit Pokemon Papercraft for their amazing work!

Paper is an incredible tool and cosplayers and LARPers find it useful to have software applications like this at their disposal. It’s powerful, it’s convenient and it can help a cosplayer understand what they need when building armour. A relatively well known Pepakura project is that of the Skyrim helmet.

Credit: Instructable

Credit: Instructable

The Pepakura file for the Skyrim Nord helmet allows you to see how it would look in as a 2D net. From here, a cosplayer would simply print out the paper helmet and then they would be able to apply their Pepakura pattern to a material. They would simply cut the origami helmet out, then use it as a stencil to go along on their material of choice.

There’s so much potential for this application, that I’d recommend just going out there and trying it for yourself. Hopefully you’ll find the power to be exactly what you’re looking for and you start building incredible meshes. Have you ever used Pepakura before? Let us know if you’ve used anything like it in the comments below.


One response

  1. Pingback: Cosplay update – Open Discussion | GeekOut South-West

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