And finally, readers, we welcome you to PART TWO of our Dalek-making feature! Last time, because official Dalek merchandise is extremely expensive, we showed you how to make your own tiny Daleks using shuttlecocks, electrical tape, and a few other easily-acquired odds and ends from your local shops. However, we did note that there are several other ways of making your own Daleks. In addition to the method on the RMIT University page, there's a pretty cool version over at The Ultimate Dalek Factory. We'll be looking at and improving upon the latter one today, but first another word about the shuttlecock Daleks. Since then, we've discovered that upholstery nails from your local hardware store will work brilliantly for the Dalek bumps. Given the smaller size and requisite modifications to the original Dalek design, you'll likely only need one pack -- where I got them, they were 99 cents for 25 -- so they're about as cost-effective as using the brass fasteners and result in a whole lot less frustration. They also come in a bunch of colors, which can be helpful if you're making multicolored Daleks. Take care to reinforce the shuttlecock interior with duct tape before using them, though; it'll help to hold them in place and keep you from ripping the flimsy electrical tape apart. Also, instead of using another golf tee, screws make nice substitutions for the blasters. And that said, it's once again time to follow in the footsteps of Davros in Genesis of the Homemade Daleks: Part 2!!! Off we go, then. :)
Okay. Whereas last time's shuttlecock Daleks were extremely cute, one thing that bothered me about them was that, while certainly being recognizeable as Daleks, they didn't accurately replicate the Dalek model. Therefore, I continued to search for other methods of inexpensive Dalek creation, embarking upon an online journey that ultimately led me to The Ultimate Dalek Factory. There, you'll find a more or less official way of making Daleks out of paper -- and it doesn't get much more inexpensive than that! (Note that this article only features the final products, as the instructions are all detailed on that page and it's difficult to take a photo and cut paper at the same time. I have made some amendments to the instructions, but these are detailed within the article itself.) However, again, I was somewhat put off. Yes, the patterns looked like they would produce fairly good results in terms of the Dalek shape, but I wasn't exceedingly keen on coloring them in by hand and having a Dalek covered in dotted lines and whatnot. So, like the author of the page mentions having intended to do at some point, I undertook to color in the pattern in my graphics program in the hopes of making something that would produce a more attractive homemade Dalek. Surmising that the directions would be easier to follow if they were in some form present on the image, I mirrored the colored plans, such that the pages could be glued together, back to back, in order to maximize the functional and aesthetic value of my future creations (and yes, don't worry; all of this stuff is available for download towards the end of the article :)). I also purchased manilla folders and photo paper, because I wanted my second batch of Daleks to be strong and sturdy and glossy and bright.
My first attempt (above on the left) didn't go so well. Yes, I realize the eyestalk is upside down, but that is really the least of my problems with that thing. For one -- and get your pens and notebooks ready; I'm about to dispense some useful advice here -- using manilla folders to make the Daleks sturdy does not work well in practice. You have to glue the patterns onto the folders in the first place, and gluing with paper in general is odious because if you want the best-looking results you have to use glue sticks. GLUE STICKS ARE TERRIBLE. Nothing ever stays stuck that was stuck by a glue stick, and the problem worsens when you consider that you'll have to cut the resultant unsticky combination. If by some miracle your pattern manages to stay stuck to the manilla folder by the time you've finished cutting out all of the parts, it'll almost certainly jump off of the manilla folder when you try to fold it. Now I'm stuck with a ton of manilla folders that I didn't really need in the first place, but you can bet that I'll be ready if I ever need to file 96 reports for some inexplicable reason. This paragraph's moral: either don't use manilla folders or don't use glue sticks -- preferably both, though I begrudgingly stuck with the latter throughout the creation process -- when making your paper Daleks.
However, if you use photo paper, you won't really need the manilla folders, as it's fairly sturdy on its own. BUT -- and again, here comes some good advice -- whatever you do, do NOT buy your photo paper from the dollar store. Yeah, that should go without saying, but I'm saying it. The dollar store often has great things. I really like dollar store cookies, for instance, and a number of our Foodstuffs reviews have been dollar store finds. If you look hard enough, you might even find your creepy new best friend in the toy aisle. But when it comes to the photo paper, pass. If you look hard enough at the first Dalek above, you'll see that it appears to be falling apart in places. Look closer and you'll see staples. Yes, that thing is held together with staples and huge pieces of tape. Why? Because the glue wouldn't take -- and not because it was worthless glue stick glue, but because, even after multiple hours of rest, the ink on the "instant-dry" dollar store photo paper was still so wet that by the time I finished piecing this thing together my hands looked like I'd spent the last hour conducting an intensive gynecological exam on Violet Beauregarde. Yeah, I know it may look tempting -- especially given how expensive photo paper is at office supply shops -- but you must resist. Unless you're planning to never ever handle your printouts and laminate them at once, DO NOT BUY PHOTO PAPER FROM THE DOLLAR STORE.
My problems with the first Dalek went beyond these, though. Paper Daleks look fairly good from the side -- which is how I imagine they are intended to be displayed, seeing as how they admittedly seem a little thin compared to the standard Dalek model -- but from the front the eyestalk and arms look terrible. So after purchasing some Kodak photo paper (the three-star gloss matte kind; not too costly at $14.99 for 100 sheets) the next day and ditching the manilla folder idea, I undertook to upgrade my next paper Daleks. I tried different color schemes, modeling one on a dark grey Dalek toy and the other on the Scary-Crayon's plush mascots' colors (pink and red for the Crayon Monster, green for the crayon). And if they look a little dull -- the SC Dalek's base should actually be black -- that's because of another weird quirk that I've discovered. For some reason, at least with my Hewlett Packard DeskJet 970C and Windows XP, selecting "other photo paper" in the printer media settings left me with these oddly washed-out and in some cases just off colors on the printout. (For example, as you'll see below, my "golden" Dalek template came out looking decidedly green when I printed it.) That might just be HP trying to dupe users into believing that their photo paper is of immensely superior quality -- and if that's the case, shame on you, HP -- but in any case leaving the setting on "plain paper" produces the desired results.
My upgrades didn't stop with the color schemes, though! Using the golf tees I had left over from the shuttlecock bunch, I covered their tops with black electrical tape and longer parts with duct tape in order to better match the colors of the Dalek limbs. Inspired by the look of some of the official Dalek toy representations, I used screws in place of the guns. And for the eyestalks, I used that Fix-All Adhesive from last time and glued washers to the tops of flathead screws, placing hole-punched pieces from last time's colored foam sheets inside the washers (as opposed to gluing them directly to the screws' heads) to serve as the eyes. The ring around the eyestalk was also cut from foam. Yes, the official Daleks have multiple rings of varying sizes, but come on. PAPER DALEKS. I wanted more accurate Daleks than the shuttlecock versions, yes, but even I have my limits. :P
However, the pictures above reveal another of my problems with the first wave of paper Daleks. Given the look of the printout, I guessed -- and I think rightly -- that they were originally spread out over two pages, so I divided the image accordingly and printed them that way. The result? Daleks that stand at 5.75 inches. Sure, that doesn't sound all that big -- but considering that the majority of action figures measure in between 4" and 5", that's enough for them to stand above such foes as the Juggernaut (bitch!) and just barely come in below some of the super articulated 6" figures. So they're great if you simply want a cheap Dalek model to decorate your desk at work or display in
Skaro Scary-Crayon promo shots, but if -- like me -- one hopes to display and/or engage them in battle with your other action figures, they're a little on the disappointing side. (Not that the official Dalek toys are likely to be much different in this respect, mind you -- aside from the 5" figures from Character Options's current series line and the 12cm Clockwork Daleks, the more readily available Dalek toys stand at 6", 8", and 12". And the latest Micro Action Daleks are 2.5", but that's just too small!) I had to try again.
After removing some of the white space between the apparent pages and printing the resultant image out on one page, I got Daleks that stand at 4.5". Again, 1.25" may not sound like that big of a difference, but the change really does put the Daleks on a much more appropriate scale for doing battle with the likes of Skeletor and Oroku Saki. They also look better than the larger Daleks in other respects, as the flaws inherent to the paper design -- for example, the domes and rings look much better -- are a lot less glaring on the smaller scale. As you can see, I was really happy with this style of Dalek: so much so that I ended up making seven of them! And admittedly paper Dalek-making is a pretty frustrating and time-consuming process -- I'd estimate that it took me roughly two hours to make each Dalek, though I'm not the fastest artisan in the world -- but I imagine that I'll make even more at some point in the future. Not only are these things great, but they also come with that weird sense of pride that comes from knowing that I (and you, when you make your own) made them! I mean, sweet paper Daleks aren't going to change the world and piecing them together didn't make me any richer or help me with my crappy employment and living situations, but they are kinda nifty. :)
As pictured in the image above, I continued to improve upon the basic paper Dalek design in these smaller versions. With the domes, instead of gluing washers to flathead screws to make the eyestalks, I went to the local Lowe's and purchased some socket head cap screws. The specs on the packages say M5-.80 x 20, Class 12.9 for the first six that I got, which came in two-packs, and 10-24 x 1 (these are slightly longer, but otherwise identical to the others) for a second batch that came in a four-pack. Hell if I know what those numbers mean, but at 80 cents for the two-pack and $1.20 for the four, they're pretty inexpensive and do the job nicely. Also, note the eyes -- apparently someone had a sequin shirt around here that exploded, so I cleverly picked up some of the sequins and glued them into the screw caps to give the Daleks the power of SIGHT. However, because that's kind of complicated, you can also cut out some pieces from colored foam paper and shove them inside the sockets. (See the Dalek with the blue eye above and with the orange eye in this image.) Note that pressing the socket down on a piece of foam paper will leave you with an easily cut-out imprint of the exact size to use!
Then, taking a tip from Paul of RMIT tiny Dalek fame, I fitted the little buggers with LED lights that I got from Radio Shack (10 pairs for just under $3, but only half of them are this size; the others are the smaller kind seen on the most recent shuttlecock Dalek). None of mine are wired up -- although Paul and company have had some success with theirs, all of my attempts with a battery holder ended up blowing the LED lights and, in one case, smoking up and actually scorching the Dalek's paper dome -- but that's always an option if you want a paper Dalek that appears to talk. Not that you have to use LED lights, mind you. I actually added the lights long after the Daleks were actually complete (and given my earlier note about the HP printer media settings, you can tell which Dalek's original dome got ruined in the process), and in one case I found it nearly impossible to make the incisions in the dome in order to insert the lights. So I glued translucent lego pieces to its head instead. I was also sorta disappointed with the paper domes, so in one case I cut a hollow plastic ball from a kids police target-tossing game (again, from the dollar store) in half and used it instead. It's rounder, but now I think I actually prefer the paper versions (!), which admittedly look a whole lot better with the addition of the LED dome lights. Compare them to the 5.75" Daleks above and you'll see what I mean! Before they looked kinda average -- not surprising for paper Daleks, but still -- but now they look quite a bit like the movie versions.
Similar upgrades were made to the torsos of the paper Daleks. I can't tell you exactly what happened with the limbs, since I mostly used random bags of screws that happened to be lying around the house and have no idea what their actual specs are. Note the blaster arm in the middle picture above, though -- it's a hollow cylindrical piece that connects to a small, regular screw, which I used to mount it from the interior. If you can't find any of these, though (and I'd appreciate some info regarding exactly what that's called if anyone knows), regular screws work as blasters too. And for the plunger arms on the right, I used some other mystery screws attached to free spinning 10-24 washered nuts that came in two-packs for 60 cents. I was originally planning to superglue them to the tops of flathead screws and screw them into the body from the outside (screwing things into paper sounds weird, but that's pretty much what you'll be doing!), but the best part about these bad boys is that they easily screwed onto the ends of the screws I had lying around, making glue totally unnecessary. It also means that if for some reason you want to remove the plunger and replace it with something else (say you find a claw-looking attachment of roughly the same size and want to make a movie Dalek), you can easily do so.
And with the bases, whereas the original paper Dalek pattern does include little strips for you to glue around the sides, I chose to augment most of my Daleks with taller bumpers cut from colored foam paper, which (again) makes them look a bit more like the movie versions. You'll generally want to give the Daleks black bases, as that color goes with everything, but depending on the color schemes of your creations you may want to go with less standard fare. (For example, the blue foam paper looks great with the blue and grey scheme, and the orange foam fit perfectly with the Halloween-themed black and orange Dalek. And really, what else was I going to use orange foam paper for?) Other suggestions for improving upon the paper Daleks' nether regions include inserting 25 cent vending machine cars inside the bases to give your Daleks the power to roll about and paring down pullback vehicles of the McDonald's Happy Meal variety in order to fit them inside the Daleks' skirts. I didn't go that route -- rolling mobility isn't particularly important for my purposes -- but do feel free to experiment as you like. They're your Daleks, after all, so how you style them is up to you!
By far, however, my favorite upgrades to the paper Dalek design have to do with the "special" feature that I've added. Remember that Daleks aren't robots proper -- inside each one of those stylish robotic shells is a living, bubbling lump of mutated hate! And for some reason, which is kinda inexcusable by this point, the BBC has never to my knowledge released an official Dalek figure that opens to reveal the mutant therein (though the creator of these lovely hand-made Dalek figurines has created variants that show the creature oozing out of the casing). I mean really -- they've got 12" remote control talking Daleks with flashing lights and whatnot, but they couldn't make a simple Dalek figure with a removable Kaled mutant inside? Priorities, priorities.
Anyway, after I accidentally knocked the dome off of my first completed paper Dalek (hurrah for attaching things with a freaking glue stick), I decided to try modifying the torso to accommodate a Kaled specimen that, per some of the older Dalek serials, would be accessible by removing the dome (which is also pretty cool because it makes the domes interchangeable, as depicted in this pre-dome lights photo). Fear factor stretchy bugs from the local dollar store served as my Kaled mutants -- and while they don't look remotely like the latest iterations of the Dalek mutant, they're certainly acceptable and look quite a bit like the versions found in the fan game Dalek: Dissolution Earth. Not that you have to use the same product for your own Kaled mutants, though -- besides employing plastic spiders, tiny octopi, or even gummy creatures to pilot your Dalek machines (edible lumps of hate!), you could choose to have the interior space inhabited by something entirely different. For example, if you made use of some of the hollow skirt space, you could easily fit one of the miniature Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle figures in there. And hey, they've already got the genetic mutant criterion covered!
Not that you have to go to such lengths to make a homemade Dalek, though -- you could just as easily take the easy way out and simply employ a salt and pepper shaker or an unmodified shuttlecock with golf tees in the role. Who's to tell you how to make your Daleks? Assuming that you do want to try your hand at making a paper Dalek as seen here, though, I've got a few additional tips for you.
As noted, the original pattern and instructions for constructing a basic paper Dalek are available at The Ultimate Dalek Factory, but because some of the steps detailed there that aren't exactly optimal I've drawn up a basic cutting guide for you that I used to make my Daleks. Do not print this and use it as an exact guide, however, as I made this rather hastily using the mouse to draw. The brush strokes are also considerably thicker than the actual incisions you'll be making. Generally speaking, you should follow the outlines and scoring instructions as noted except where I've included red lines to the contrary. For instance, I'm not sure what the heck the makers of this design were thinking by having the skirt connected to the base with those little nubs. It didn't work very well for me at all, so I chose to implement an alternating pattern with tabs that I pulled through larger cuts in the base. I then folded them and taped them on the other side in the interest of avoiding glueing. (Admittedly, however -- despite my attempts to simply tape the dome together from the inside -- glueing is probably the best way to go with the dome. Also note the incisions over the lights, which are only to be used if you intend to add LED lights to your Dalek. If you glue the dome, however, you should make these after you've already glued it, as the paper may overlap in these areas.) Note that I've also recommended making much longer incisions with the neck portions -- I've found that the neck rings can be extremely finicky, so it's good to have more room to maneuver them into place. The longer tabs at the bottom of the neck not only better secure the neck to the bottom ring, but will also provide you with something to anchor the makeshift "peg" you'll need if you go with the removable dome option. (For that piece, I folded a strip of cardboard into a rectangle, positioned it towards the center of the bottom neck ring, and taped the tabs to it. Then, in order to enlist gravity's aid, I placed a screw and a bolt inside the cardboard piece before taping up the bottom in order to weight the dome and keep it on.)
And then, naturally, there are the parts of the pattern that I've scribbled out completely, as I excised them from my Daleks. For example, because I was using hardware for their various appendages, I had no need to cut out their paper equivalents (and, as you'll see, I even removed these from the colored patterns in some cases). Given that I used paper foam to augment the Daleks' bases, I also did away with the template strips. And with our hidden compartment, the top of the torso is an unnecessary addition that you might as well not even bother to cut out. Alternately, you could cut it out and fold it into the open portion, whereupon you would tape it up along with everything else. (I generally covered the torso interiors with tape, as I thought it made for a much more stylish-looking interior compartment. Only the lower-end best for dollar store Kaled mutants!)
COLORED DALEK PATTERNS!!!
So -- finally -- here are all of the templates that I've created. Directly below are the ones that follow the size of the original template found at The Ultimate Dalek Factory. Note that the colored patterns are all mirror images of the original template, as you should print the original to one side of the paper and the colored version to the other. Or you could only print the colored versions and eyeball your cutting and folding. It's not ideal, especially regarding the skirt and the dome, but if your printer's like mine and has a tendency to print things slightly off-kilter (which would prevent the images from lining up directly on either side), you might want to try that route.
| B/W paper Dalek template (639 x 935) | Blue and grey (black and grey torso) |
| SC Crayon Monster scheme (pink, red, green) | Black and gold |
| Dalek Sec (black on black; may not show up too well) | Dark greys |
| Golden | Halloween (black and orange) | Red and black | Sickly yellowish |
| Children of the Revolution (purple, blue, and gold; missing gun arm) |
Note that when I initially printed the patterns, I divided the image into two pages and printed each separately, resulting in the 5.75" Daleks discussed waaaay above. They're a little big for my tastes, but it is worth noting that they're the perfect size for the upholstery nails and brass fasteners -- so if you want larger paper Daleks augmented with 3D bumps, you should definitely give that a try. (Using the brass fasteners on the smaller versions doesn't work so well, but admittedly mine were a bit oversized.) I only saved the divided versions for the three larger Daleks that I made and a "golden" version that I didn't, but I've included them below for your benefit.
Here are a couple of colored patterns that I made based on the older torso design. Admittedly, I haven't had the best of luck with these, as they don't line up too well in the front and may be a little big compared to the other template (in order to make one fit while still looking okay in the front, I had to cut a second seam in the back and adjust it to the size of the skirt). Still, you're welcome to take a look and see what you can do with them!
Below, you'll find my favorite templates -- the smaller ones with 55 pixels of white space removed between the "pages" -- as they result in the optimal action figure-scale Daleks. In order to achieve the desired results, these should be printed to a single page. You may also want to refer to my makeshift cutting guide here especially, as these are the primary models that I used during the process. If you follow these guidelines and my comments above, you may not even need to look at the more involved "official" instructions. And note that some of the images below lack the paper appendages -- given that I used hardware in place of these parts, I did this to save on ink and keep myself from cutting out pieces that I knew I wasn't going to need. By the way, I haven't actually made the Pee-wee Dalek yet, so I'd love to see how that turns out. :)
| B/W smaller template (639 x 880) | Grey and black (sans plunger and eyestalk) |
| Golden | Red and black | Halloween (black and orange, sans limbs and eyestalk) |
| Pee-wee Herman (grey, white, and red; Oculus Orbus helmet dome) |
Aaand finally, if you're interested in modifying my templates to make your own Dalek color schemes, here are some layered files in Paint Shop Pro's default file format that might help you out, assuming you've got a program that can open them. In the first, there are two layers, one of which is a background layer with the bumpless skirt, the torso, and the appendages, the other of which contains the bumps (and three detached alternate bump versions), the ball joints for the arms, and two sets of colored dome lights (the white lights are in the correct position). You'll have to modify the colors yourself, so some graphics skills are necessary. And because I didn't think to layer the torso until it was too late, the second file below has a more involved torso with layer and vector data, which will allow you to modify it more thoroughly by changing the background and raster layer colors and modifying the vector attributes accordingly. Note that you'll have to combine these two sets of images in order to optimally customize your Dalek using these patterns. Best of luck to you! :)
That's all I've got for now, then, fellow Dalek lovers! As I've said, the creation of these paper Daleks was really a process that evolved as I made them, and it's entirely possible that I've neglected to mention certain techniques that I employed in their construction. So if you've got any additional questions that pop up when you're making your own, I encourage you to leave a comment or send me an e-mail to that effect! But more importantly, I'd love to see what you come up with, so do feel free to send me photos of any Daleks that you create, new and improved templates, etc. -- especially if you make further improvements to the general design. Note that when I made my colored patterns, I didn't rotate the shaded Dalek bumps in accordance with the changing angles of the skirt. I'm too lazy to do it now, but that's something you may want to address if you decide to utilize your Photoshopping skills to modify the pattern. Along those lines, some detailed patterns based on the new series Dalek would be fantastic -- and with all of the talented 3D Dalek modellers out there I'm sure someone is up to the challenge. (For that matter, seeing as how having seams in the front isn't exactly ideal, particularly ambitious folks might even try their hands at making entirely new paper Dalek templates!) How far will you go to indulge your inner Davros? The Dalek ranks need new recruits! So get to work, people...