At first glance, and maybe even second, the birds in these images look real enough you don’t want to frighten them away. It’s a surprise then, when you find out that they are made entirely of flat pieces of paper, carefully folded and glued together to form precise replicas of real-life birds. Perhaps even more surprising, they aren’t even reproduced from photographs, but are hand-drawn on sheets of paper using tools as simple as colored pencil.
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The birds (from wrens and robins, to kingfishers and little bee-eaters) are the work of dutch artist Johan Scherft, who began creating paper birds at the young age of 14 and hasn’t stopped for nearly 3 decades. Originally he was inspired by the paper mobiles of flying birds designed by the english artist Malcolm Topp. Scherft generously shares many of his model plans online for free, including Youtube instructions for building them (like the wren at the bottom of this article). Other more complex examples of avian life are available neatly printed through his online store.
Scherft doesn’t limit his talents to birds or even paper craft. He has also created models of the bird’s ancient relatives, the dinosaurs, and makes fanciful paintings of tree houses and Waterworld-like boating communities. You can see more of his work on Facebook or at johanscherft.com.
Find the plans and instructions for the wren (above) at johanscherft.com/papercraft.