Papercraft Tutorial: Papercut Exploding Cube

Today is Release Day of The Art of Papercraft by Helen Hiebert! To celebrate, Storey Publishing allowed me to choose a tutorial from the book to share in full as an example of the array of one-sheet wonders that you'll find within its more than 300 pages.


white paper cube with grassy floral papercut design

I love the look of contributing artist Bhavna Mehta's Exploding Cube... perhaps a rather bold name for something so elegant, but then again, the papercut design does have a strong sense of eruption! It makes me think of spring (which is bound to arrive even though it's all-white outside as I type) with its leafy sprouts and just-opening buds.



DESIGNED BY  Bhavna Mehta


PAPER USED  98 lb. Canson Mi-Teintes


LOOK FOR  White paper is so lovely for this project, but try other colors. This particular paper comes in a wide variety of colors, or any card stock will work.


This design adds a paper-cut element that spans the folds and makes the box explode into a sculpture. You're in charge of the cut-out design on this one - feel free to add colored papers behind the cutouts before you assemble the cube and/or create window flaps.



  • 12" x 16.5" sheet of card stock
  • 1/4" to 1/2"-wide double-sided tape
  • Download the template (click the down arrow found on the lower right side of page; choose original size)


  • Pencil and eraser
  • Ruler
  • Craft knife
  • Cutting mat
  • Bone folder
  • Tweezers (optional)




1. With a pencil and ruler, use the diagram below as a guide for drawing a cross shape onto your project paper. Use a craft knife and cutting mat to cut out the shape, then use a bone folder and the ruler to score the fold lines. Lightly label the top and bottom as shown on the diagram.


diagrammed template of square cube that shows cut and fold lines


 cutting mat on which bone folder, metal ruler, white paper shape, and craft knife are placed

2. Set the cut-out cross on your cutting mat with the bottom closest to you. There are four square surfaces to cut your design into: the three squares forming the horizontal part of the cross and one square above that row (the top). Aim for a design that flows across all four sections, with the paper cut on most edges except the bottom, where it needs to stay attached to the bottom piece. Erase stray marks as necessary.

Tip: Smaller repeated shapes (especially with long stems) work best for the cut-out design. The longer the shape(s), the nicer the explosion.


left hand holding paper in place on cutting mat while right hand uses a craft knife to cut out penciled pattern drawn on white card stock unfolded cube 

3. Pop out the cutout shapes Use a bone folder or tweezers to pop out small pieces.


cut and creased white paper cube with grassy papercut design on four sides displayed on cutting mat waiting to be assembled

4. Apply double-sided tape to the seven tabs on the face-up side of the paper, and assemble the cube.


hands displaying white paper cube with grassy papercut design that is not fully assembled



Bhavna Mehta has engineering degrees from universities in both India and the United States and worked as a software engineer for many years before turning to art. She lives in southern California and works with paper cutting and embroidery to tell stories about relating and remembering, combining figurative imagery with botanical motifs, text, and shadows.

Using paper as skin, and thread as a tool to connect and mend, Mehta cuts and sews to portray exposing and hiding. Her style is influenced by the folk-art traditions of her native India, where she was raised in an extended family surrounded by women who constantly embroidered, knitted, sewed, and created for the home.

detail of all-white grassy papercut design on folded paper cube

Excerpted from The Art of Papercraft by Helen Hiebert. 

Used with permission from Storey Publishing.


I hope you'll enjoy making this dynamic Exploding Cube and will have the chance to peruse the other 39 tutorials that Helen included in The Art of Papercraft.


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Ann Martin
Ann Martin

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