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Boo&Stu BLOG:

How to Design a 3D Papercraft Animal

Stu character


Posted by Stu

We’ve had the pleasure of working on some fantastic animal welfare charity projects and we absolutely loved working once again with those lovely people at The BUAV (who have now merged with Cruelty Free International); this time helping them with their ‘Our Best Friends’ campaign.


The 'Our Best Friends' campaign is all about ending the use of cats and dogs in experiments here in the UK by raising awareness and putting pressure on the Government to put laws in place to stop it, for good.


The BUAV wanted a fun way to engage with members of the public about the issue and encourage them to take action, so they asked me to create a ‘make your own’ version of their beagle mascot Buddy the Beagle. The brief specifically called for the design to be inviting, cute and interesting; as well as serving as an engaging and positive tool to carry their campaign message.


I’d always really enjoyed making papercraft geometric shapes when I was younger but I’d never had the opportunity to design one from scratch. As it was quite an unusual project I thought it would be interesting to explain the process behind it here...


Behind the scenes – designing a papercraft campaign dog

Step 1: Researching

As with all projects once I had the brief I started off by doing a bit of research, firstly on the campaign itself, then on beagles and paper animals. The research gave me a great insight into what it is possible to create in three dimensions with paper, but it didn’t bring me any closer to uncovering the process behind designing an actual model. So I decided to just take a deep breath and make a start using a pencil, some paper and my trusty designer’s instinct!


Using a few photos of beagles as reference I started sketching some ideas. I knew that the model had to be the general shape of a beagle but it also had to be more geometric in form to allow for the limitations of the paper medium. Children were one of the target audiences for the project so this also dictated that it had to be fairly simple to construct.

about stu

Stu Jones is Boo&Stu's Graphic Designer & Illustrator

Born in the New Forest and now living in Dorset, Stu graduated from Wimbledon School of Art in 2000 with a degree in Fine Art: Painting. He developed a love for illustration and creating characters, and became a Freelance Designer in 2004 and in 2015 officially combined forces with his Web Designer partner Anna to form Boo&Stu. His work has been featured in magazines and the Victoria and Albert Museum London, and in 2016 Stu launched his first illustrated children's book.


Make your own Buddy Beagle sketch

Step 2: Sketching for the Concept Design

I started by making a few basic rough sketches of how the finished model could look, concentrating on using simple shapes and straight lines as much as possible. Once I had a general idea of the overall shape of the model I started to sketch out the different components and how I imagined them fitting together.


I decided at this stage that it would be best to construct the head and body separately and join them later somehow as this would keep the model simpler to build and it would give some flexibility when it came to arranging the flat model template on the page.

Make your own Buddy Beagle sketch

Step 3: Testing Maquettes

Once I had worked up the basic pencil design digitally on-screen, I used a bit of trial and error to make sure everything fitted together snugly and the model was easy to make.


I’d print the design, make the model, mark any areas that needed adjustment, amend the design on-screen, reprint it and make it again. This was probably the longest part of the process but after a lot of work it was starting to function as I wanted.

Make your own Buddy Beagle sketch
Make your own Buddy Beagle sketch

The body was the easiest to design, I wanted the dog to be sitting so the shape pretty much drew itself. However, there was a fair bit of work getting the angle of the front feet right to make sure the head balanced and didn’t tip the whole model forward.


The face was much trickier to design – it needed to resemble a beagle but not be too complex to build. In the end I kept it really simple but added some angles to the face to give it a bit more character and help the shape hold together. The head was designed to slot neatly into the body at the rear. Once the head was in place, a tail, some big floppy beagle ears and a few other rough details were designed and added to complete the look.


Step 4: Final Maquette & Branding for Client Feedback

The layout and branding of the sheet were roughly completed (sticking closely to The BUAV’s existing Our Best Friends branding guidelines), including writing the assembly instructions and adding in the campaign message and the calls to action (in this case visiting the website and sharing the campaign message on social media).


The file of the rough design of the model template was then sent off to the client for approval, along with a photo of the completed model.

Make your own Buddy Beagle macquette
Make your own Buddy Beagle macquette

Step 5: Developing & Making the Final Tweaks

I was really pleased that the client quickly responded saying they loved the concept design. No major changes were requested so I set about refining a few details and tidying everything up.


I made the face slightly shorter to make the model more beagle-like and added in details such as the paws and the name tag; I tided up the pattern of the coat and did a double check to make sure everything lined up when it was constructed. The client asked if it was possible to make the model larger, so I re-arranged it slightly on the page to allow for this.


Lastly, I tidied up the branding, refined the instructions to make them clearer and took a photo of the constructed model to add to the instructions to help people visualise what it would look like once it was made.

Make your own Buddy Beagle Instructions Sheet

Step 6: Delivering the Final Artwork for Print

I sent off the final artwork to the client for sign off and they quickly approved it. Although the artwork was produced in Adobe Illustrator it was also supplied as a Adobe Photoshop file so the client could easily amend and customise certain parts of the text and the background for different events.


The BUAV team were really pleased with the final artwork. So much so that they’re considering having a matching cat in the future too so watch this space!...

Make your own Buddy Beagle Photo

Support the campaign to end cruel experiments on our best friends

It's great to hear that The BUAV have had a great response to the Make Your Own Buddy Beagle from people when they have handed them out at various events throughout the UK.


Despite being an amazing project to have had the opportunity to work on as a designer it’s also really important to remember why this bit of work was commissioned and produced in the first place. Each year hundreds of cats and thousands of dogs are still harmed in dreadful experiments in the UK. Being a nation of animal lovers and big cat fans here at Boo&Stu, this seems inconceivable.


About The BUAV / Cruelty Free International

The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (The BUAV) were established in 1898 and is the world’s leading single-issue organisation campaigning to end experiments on animals. They established Cruelty Free International, the global campaign to end animal testing for cosmetics and pioneered the Leaping Bunny Logo – the only internationally recognized logo guaranteeing that no animal tests were used in the development or production of any product carrying the logo, as of a fixed cut-off date.


In May 2015 they officially joined forces to become Cruelty Free International. Find out more about how to support their work at



some of our related projects:

Music of Life

Hounds Off

Cruelty Free International

Illustration / Print for Charity Timeline Infographic

Branding / Responsive Web for Charity for Young People with Disabilities

Branding / Responsive Web / Print for Charity Resource


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