Running Pepakura Designer on a Mac to Make Papercraft

Running Pepakura Designer on a Mac to Make Papercraft

Pepakura Designer 3 is a great and popular program for making real world papercraft models from 3D digital models. It folds out the model and adds glue tabs so you can print it on paper and make your model in real life. It’s an excellent alternative to 3D printing, especially for masks and helmets which you can reinforce with fibreglass and resin after they are glued.

But the program only runs in Windows. Can we do something about it? In this article we cover using Wineskin Winery to run what would normally be a PC-only program successfully under Yosemite on a Mac!

Rock, Scissors, Paper

Papercraft is a great way to make prototypes of your 3D models, but the stumbling block for Mac users has always been that the program of choice for unwrapping your models as origami style papercraft models has always been PC-based. This is okay if you have access to a PC, but what if you don’t?


Fortunately, help is at hand with the amazing Wineskin Winery software which will enable you to run simple PC software on the Intel processor on your Mac.


A Little Wine with That?

First, get ahold of Wineskin Winery from this link. Wineskin Winery works on all Mac OS up to Yosemite. This is an acceptable limitation at the time of writing. If you are an early adopter of El Capitan, you are on your own.

Download the latest version of the Pepakura Designer app here. Bear in mind that this program is shareware; You can run it and print other people’s designs, but to do more than that and make PDFs of your own work and save/distribute them, you will have to pay the shareware fee to purchase the license code for the software for $38. You can use it for free with the above limitations as long as you like.

Save the Pepakura EXE file somewhere where you can find it easily, like the desktop.

Run the Wineskin Winery program and you will be presented with the panel to create a wrapper for your PC program.


Add an engine by clicking on the plus button. The one used in this demo was WS9Wine1.7.44, but try a more recent one first in case it works better. Click “Create New Blank Wrapper.” This brings up the Create a Wrapper panel.


Name your wrapper. This will be the name of the “app” on your system, so give it an appropriate name. Click OK.

The busy sign will flash for a while. Depending on the amount of memory you have, this might take quite a few minutes, so it’s not broken; have a little patience. This goes for everything to do with Wineskin. It takes TIME. Just wait.

Eventually you will get a notice that the wrapper “app” has been created. To view the icon, click the “View in Finder” button. If you click on the wrapper app too quickly, you will get a an alert saying the app can’t be opened. If this is the case, wait a few moments and try again.

The first time you run the app, it will open the install panel. Click on the “Install Software” button to install your software.


Choose the setup executable from where you left it before. Click install, and you will see the install process you will recognize from installing other things on Windows.


You will be asked to Agree on the license, so do that. You will then be asked to choose a destination for the software. Go with the default. Watch the progress bar as the software installs. When prompted, remember to uncheck the checkbox for creating a shortcut on the desktop. You have no Windows desktop.

When it’s complete, it will autorun, but you may get an Invalid Operation error. This is normal.


Just click OK, and the program will continue as normal. You will be prompted to check if you have the latest version of the software, but as you literally downloaded it a moment ago, it’s not really necessary.

Once the software is loaded, go to File -> Open (on the Pepakura PC window menus, not the Wineskin menus) and open a file.


Using Models

A good place to start is the Pepakura gallery on the Tamasoft site, and there’s lots here to get started with.


The real strength of Pepakura designer is that you can load any 3D file, and it will not only load it for viewing but enable you to click the Unfold button on the menu to calculate how to unfold it into a single sheet of paper. Try loading your favourite 3D models into the program to see.

Obviously, the lower the polygon count, the better. You can load a model into Pepakura, but it might not be physically makable as a paper model if there are 16 million polygons … hundreds, maybe, but tens definitely.

Have you had some experience making papercraft models with Pepakura? Let us know in the comments below.

Phil South
Phil South

Phil South has been writing about tech subjects for over 30 years. Starting out with Your Sinclair magazine in the 80s, and then MacUser and Computer Shopper. He's designed user interfaces for groundbreaking music software, been the technical editor on film making and visual effects books for Elsevier, and helped create the MTE YouTube Channel. He lives and works in South Wales, UK.

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