In this article, I will show you how to make awesome Dungeons and Dragons Paper Miniatures or D&D minis for short. The same idea could be used with Pathfinder or Warhammer. Or any other type of role-playing game that uses minis, not just D&D minis.
I love playing Dungeons and Dragons. I grew up playing D&D with my brothers and still play the popular role-playing game today with friends and family members. We play at least twice a week, although my current group plays Dungeons and Dragons online with Roll20 we still like to get together in person and play once in a while as well.
With the YouTube show, Critical Role, becoming more and more famous, and recently their Legends of Vox Machina cartoon, based on their exploits, being released on Amazon, that group has helped Dungeons and Dragons become popular again. It was a bit taboo when I first started playing it in the late 1980s.
My idea for a perfect group date would be getting some couples together and playing D&D, haha.
There are some awesome D&D miniatures that you can buy which usually cost anywhere from 3 to 4 dollars to 60 to 100 for dragons, etc. If you are running an adventure with very few monsters, it may not be too expensive to spend some money and buy some.
I always have tons of monsters and characters in my adventures/campaign so I wanted to create Dungeons and Dragons paper miniatures so it was lighter on the pocketbook. I have made so many of these now, like nearly 300 or more. They do take a little bit of time, but most of that time can be spent working in front of the TV, so you can kill two birds with one stone. Dungeons and Dragons paper miniatures are easy to make if I can make them, you can make them, let’s get started!
Watch my Dungeons and Dragons Paper Miniatures Video Tutorial
Step 1: Things you will need to make Dungeons and Dragons Paper Miniatures at home
There are a few different styles of Dungeons and Dragons paper miniatures I will show you how to make each option. Then you can decide what works the best for you.
In order to make D&D miniatures at home out of paper you need a handful of supplies:
- paper (thicker stock will hold up a little better, but you need to be able to fold it)
- packing tape
- scissors or exacto knife
- glue stick or spray adhesive
- hot glue gun
- photo editing program (I use Photoshop)
- bingo chips or another type of base
- paper mini base holders (I use the one from my Dead of Winter Board Game)
NOTE: The above links are affiliate links. As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn on qualifying purchases.
You won’t need everything above, it just depends on the option of D&D paper miniature that you want to make.
Step 2: D&D Artwork for the paper minis
First, we need to create our paper with the monsters and characters. There are a variety of photo editing programs you can use. I always use Photoshop for these. It is the program I know the best. You don’t have to shell out tons of cash for a photo editing program. There are plenty of free programs that will give you similar results as Photoshop.
If you have Photoshop, here is the approach I take. You can take a similar approach to create the artwork for your DnD paper miniatures with whatever photo program you decide to use.
D&D Miniatures Photoshop Tutorial
In Photoshop, create a new document. Make the document 8.5 x 11 inches so it will match a full sheet of paper. Then grab the rulers and add four guides. These will be the bleed areas. We don’t want to place any artwork past these lines, otherwise, they may get cut off when printing.
Now let’s add some D&D artwork and resize it. There are three different methods I use for creating paper minis.
The first is where you have only a front side and it is glued to cardboard and then you use a stand, which is the easiest. The next is where you have a front and a back of the character or creature that look the same and you fold them over and glue them to a base, the last way and probably my favorite is where you have a front and a back. But the back of the creature is blurry and black and white, so it is obvious it is the back unless you happen to have the artwork for the back of your character.
*Caveat about the artwork, for personal use only. These are all copyrighted images, it is probably fine to grab whatever images you want and use them. But do not use any images that you don’t have the rights to, if you plan on selling them…lol 🙂
I will just do a search online for let’s say a Bullywug. I find the image I like and save it to my computer. Now we grab that image and drag it over and place it on our document.
Resize it by holding the shift key and scaling it down. You can use whatever scale you want, the standard scale for D&D minis is 25/28 mm or about 1 inch tall for a 6-foot human. Now we have our artwork placed you can fill up the page with more of them however you like.
This is all you need to do for the first Dungeons and Dragons paper miniatures option. Then just print the paper or take it to a place like Staples and have it printed.
Style 2 D&D paper minis
Now let’s do another style of D&D paper mini.
Duplicate the creature, then go to “Edit” “Transform” “Flip Vertical”. Then drag the character up and align it. Now you have a mirror image on top so when you fold it they will match. You have a front and a back. You can leave it as is or do the next step.
I like to blur the backside out. With the top layer selected go to “Filter” “Blur” “Gaussian Blur” Then select a range of 4 to 5 pixels which is usually pretty good. Again you can leave it like this or do the next step, which I always do.
With the top layer selected go to adjustments and apply a saturation adjustment, and bring it all the way down so it is black and white.
Now this adjustment will affect everything below it, so we need to apply a clipping mask. Select the adjustment, right-click, and select “Create Clipping Mask”. And there you go. Again this is my favorite style for the artwork. I like that my D&D miniatures have a front and back with artwork on both sides. But it isn’t necessary.
Now fill in the rest of the sheet with monsters and characters, however, you want the style to be, by themselves, front-back, etc.
Once you have a full sheet you can print them out. Again, I usually just go to Staples and have them print them on thicker paper that holds color really well. Or you can print them from home too if you have a nice color printer. The choice is yours.
Finishing the Dungeons and Dragons Paper Miniatures
Now I will show you the first option or style.
Cut out one of your creatures that only has a front side. In this case, I am doing the basilisk. Cut out a piece of cardboard that is roughly the same size as your D&D miniature.
Now, glue down the paper cutout with either a glue stick or spray adhesive. If you are using the spray adhesive, make sure you have a large piece of newspaper or painter’s plastic or something on the work surface.
Now trim it with scissors or an Exacto knife. Then you can put it on its stand. I am using stands that came with my Dead of Winter board game, but there are stands available that you can buy online as well. You are done! Look how cool he is, haha ready for your next Dungeons and Dragons adventure or Pathfinder, etc.
Option 2: Cut and Fold the D&D paper miniatures
Time to finish the next option. Take one of the characters that you made a front and back for, in this case, I am doing the beholder. Cut around it so you just have that character. Then fold it over.
Use the glue stick and glue the character and fold it back. Now add some packing tape to the front and back, this will act like a lamination.
The tape will help protect the characters, you know sometimes people get a little messy when gaming, food spills, etc. It will also make them harder to tear.
Next, take one of those bingo chips and apply some hot glue in the middle, have cardboard underneath it.
NOTE: Please BE CAREFUL! Hot glue guns are hot, imagine that, and have caused many a burn. Do not touch the tip or the glue!
Place a dollop of glue in the center of the bingo chip and then place your folded and laminated character in the middle, holding it straight up. Hold it there for a few seconds for the glue to dry a bit. There you go another awesome character that has a sturdy base. Out of all the options, I have made this style the most.
Option three is really just a variation of option two. You don’t use glue to glue it together with the fold. Just add tape to both sides and then fold it over and hot glue it to a base. It saves a step but doesn’t look as cool in my opinion.
Complete set of D&D Miniatures
Now that you have created an army of characters and monsters, time to get playing!! 🙂 Enjoy!
Here is a side-by-side comparison of a D&D miniature and Dungeons and Dragons paper miniatures. It definitely saves money to make these at home, I have since bought a bunch so I have a slew of both kinds of D&D miniatures.
Happy gaming! And thanks for stopping by.
Here are other group date ideas you may like: