Make paper and cardboard as hard as plastic

This post is also available in: Deutsch (German)

The more versatile plastic card

Paper and cardboard in various variations are a popular and versatile material for tabletop terrain construction. It is easy to edit, shape and paint. The downside is its sensitivity. Papers and cardboards are not particularly stable. Stability is generally achieved by increasing the paper thickness / weight.
Paper can be used very well as a structure bar on the yoghurt mug, which then becomes a handsome SF terrain piece. Paper is not so well suited for parts that are exposed to greater or greater stresses in the game. Then thicker cardboard is needed. You can’t build small filigree parts out of thick cardboard.
You have to make paper somehow more stable and harder to be able to build even the smallest parts. With this experiment I show how it works.

From “flat like a flounder” to “stable like jail bars”

For this experiment I cut four 2cm x 2cm small pieces of cardboard from 300g paper. I fold it in the middle to small angles and try to use it as a support for a 1kg weight (the good organic milk from the supermarket).

OK, somehow it worked. The milk carton is on the cardboard sheets. Nothing to see from prop but far and wide. Everything flat like a flounder, are now rather cardboard tiles.

You can change that. Because there is something from all sorts of manufacturers. Exactly, super glue! With superglue you can make paper as hard and stable as plastic.
For this you need simple liquid superglue. The gel-like is unusable here.
You put a drop on the piece of paper and spread it in with the tip of the tube. Be careful not to take too much. Then you put the paper parts on plastic film with the smallest possible contact area. I used a document protection film here. You can also leave small handles on the pieces of paper that you cut off later. then you can set up the parts better or hang them on a wire or similar.
The seconds with the super glue are put into perspective here. You should let the whole thing dry for 10-15 minutes. Then carefully check whether it is really dry.
If everything is dry, you can tell that you suddenly have completely different material in your hand. It is hard, if you press it it goes back to its original shape, it behaves like plastic cardboard. So do the test again with the organic milk.

Yey, that supports! It’s as stable as jail bars. Now the paper is much better protected against pressure and shock. If you think about how easy it is to process paper and what you can do with it, there are endless possibilities. It starts with the mandatory roof shingle strips, which are often shown in tutorials. But you can also make stable small parts out of paper. The aforementioned jail bars or other window frames of all kinds. Shields, weapons etc. for miniatures.
You can harden any kind of paper in this way. Even very thin or fluffy papers such as kitchen rolls or paper handkerchiefs. So you can easily form irregular shapes such as flames or branches.
Thin areas of paper, tents, tarpaulins, cloths. This turns paper into a versatile plastic box.

Care should be taken to ensure that the superglue does not come into contact with XPS foam. The superglue melts the foam and this is usually not desirable. 😉

The superglue I used cost me € 1 for 5 of these tubes, the price is the name of the shop. So the method is also affordable.


The experiment gave a very good result. The change from paper to plastic worked perfectly. If I think all this further, I can think of more and more possible uses.

How did you like the experiment? What do you want to build from hard paper? Write it in the comments and link your work.
Likes and shares are always welcome.

Diesen Beitrag teilen mit ...

This post is also available in: Deutsch (German)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *