Paper Minis Assembly Tips
Written by Ann Vanture

The key to good printies is in the paper they're printed on. Place a printie printed on typical copier paper next to a printie done on specialty inkjet paper and the contrast will astound you. You will notice fuller vibrant colors, crisper lines and readable text. It is well worth the investment of $.05-$.25 per sheet—think of all the time you invest into making printies!

To find what papers are best suited for your particular printer, do an internet search for specialty paper made by the printer's manufacturer. Paper weight/thickness will impact how parts fold and fit together. Heavy weight/thick paper like cardstock weight works well for girl doll scale (1:3), but not for the smaller scales, i.e., 1:6 and 1:12 scales. Purchase a sample pack of assorted papers in order to do some trial printing.

When you go to print printies, make sure that you have selected the highest quality print settings found in your particular printer's print dialog box. Yes it does use a little more ink this way, but why be a penny wise and pound foolish?! If your print has white bands running through it where the ink did not spray, do not immediately think you need to change that expensive cartridge. Read the printer manual and find out how to clear the print heads. You can imagine that any spray hole that tiny is bound to get clogged now and again. Sometimes you may need to run the “clear” more than once, but do not use this unless you absolutely have to because it does use up ink.

Because my printers' ink is moisture resistant, there's no need to use any type of clear coat prior to cutting a pre-printed Paper Minis kit. However, for the project you print, test it for water-resistance. If it is not water-resistant you will want to spray with clear coating. You must test this first, for some printers' ink will not accept even spray clear coating. Try using clear polyurethane spray paint very lightly in several light coats. It works great and can be found wherever hardware and paint is sold. Prices range approximately $1-$5. Again, test this first before spraying something of value.

Cutting quality is just about as important as paper and print quality. Those tiny little detailing scissor (the kind Grandma kept in her sewing basket for cutting embroidery floss) and an X-acto knife are the best cutting tools. Don't scrimp on the blades! Change a blade at the first sign of dullness. I bought a Nicole Cutting Mat (9"x12") at the sewing store—what a great $9 investment! It gives me smoother cuts and the X-acto blades last so much longer. Cardboard cutting mats tend to shred a printie’s edges and dull a blade very quickly. Have trouble seeing those little parts? Get a pair of magnifying glasses at the drug store and a bright tensor desk lamp.

Paper folds on printies must be crisp and straight. To help, use the edge of a short metal ruler. A cork-backed Westcott metal ruler, for example, is a nice thin-edged ruler. Line-up the printie fold with one hand against the ruler's edge and press to crease with the other hand. See the tutorial titled Ann's Tool Box for further instruction.

The final stage of printie-making is the glue process. For typical gluing I advise a fast-grab, quick-dry, dries-clear craft glue such as Nicole Super Tacky Glue for Crafts and Hobbies. But any brand with that descriptor on the label will most likely do. However, beware of soupy typical craft white glue. Use little artists' brushes to apply the glue. Just squirt a little glue on a piece of waxed paper or aluminum foil from which to work. Keep a little glass of water handy to temporarily store paint brushes...but not too long for the bristles will permanently bend.

For pressing and sealing glued surfaces, I have found that a pair of tweezers, cotton swab and eraser end of a pencil work great and are with me at all times. For forming cylindrical items, accumulate a collection of wood dowels of different circumferences and form the curved items against the appropriate dowel.

For slick surfaced items such as those that are laminated, I suggest using Quick Grip All-Purpose Permanent Adhesive or plastic cement--like clear model airplane glue. Fresh glue sticks better than old bulbous plastic cement. Scruff up the laminated tab’s surface with a fine grit sandpaper. The glue will stick much better.

Paper Minis Miniatures
On-Line Since 2002

Front Royal, Virginia

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held by Ann Vanture, 2003-2013
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