Hand-Held Hubble: Paper Model


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Difficulty: Somewhat difficult
Durability: Low
Detail: Moderate

This intermediate-level paper model is made of cardstock and construction paper. It consists of about 30 pieces and can take approximately four to eight hours to build. This model is to scale and has more detail than the PVC model, including a three-dimensional optical telescope assembly equipment section. It is also easier to cut out and fold than the expert paper model.

This model reflects the state of the telescope after Servicing Mission 3B, which took place in March 2002. For more about the changes that were made to Hubble during the mission, visit the Servicing Mission 3B page.


Important — Printing the Pattern Sheet

You may need to adust your printer options in order to print the pattern sheet at the correct size. Look at the bottom of each page for the gauge that allows you to check the printout’s scale. (You will need a ruler.) If it doesn’t measure up, make the following adjustments in the Print dialog box:

  • If you’re using Adobe Reader 6 or higher, set "Page Scaling" to "None."
  • If you’re using Acrobat 5, deselect "Shrink Oversized Pages to Paper Size" and "Expand Small Pages to Paper."
  • If you’re using Acrobat 4, deselect "Fit to Page."

Print out the directions and the pattern sheets on the right. The pattern sheets must be printed out on card stock or cover-weight paper, but the directions can be printed on regular paper. In addition to these printouts, you will also need supplies from your local craft or hobby shop.

  • model pattern printed onto cardstock/coverstock
  • instructions printed on regular paper
  • white or clear craft glue and/or a gluestick
  • sharp scissors
  • 1/8" wooden dowel
  • medium-weight sandpaper
  • black construction paper
  • ruler, preferably with a metal edge
  • pencil
  • black marker or paint and paintbrush
  • silver or gray paint
Optional (but very helpful) materials:
  • butter knife or flathead screwdriver
  • flat toothpicks or small paintbrush (for applying glue)
  • gluestick (make sure it’s not "repositionable")
  • sharp craft knife and cutting board
  • aluminum foil (or some other shiny material)
  • black, silver, or gray paint
  • paper towels or moist towelettes to keep your hands clean
  • aerosol acrylic clear coat or sealant

See the directions for complete printing instructions and supplies.


This model requires the use of sharp instruments. Please exercise caution when making this model, and supervise children who attempt this model.


This model is a modified version of a more detailed paper model made by Ton Noteboom.

Noteboom describes himself as a “space age kid.” Growing up in the Netherlands, he followed the progress of the space program, hearing about Sputnik on the radio, and watching Neil Armstrong take his first steps on the Moon. But what really fascinated him was the technology – the technology that got the astronauts to the Moon, the technology that brought the journey back to people around the world.

“The force of the rockets, the hardware part – that was what interested me,” he said. “It was amazing to see pictures on the television screen, especially in that time, that came all the way from the Moon.”

He got his first cardboard model of a boat when he was 11 years old, as a present from Sinterklaas, the Dutch version of Santa Claus. The model joined his already extensive collection of plastic models, but after a short time that phase gave way to a period of model-train building that he shared with his father. And that was it until the day about five years ago, surfing the Web, that he started finding plans for elaborate paper models online.

Lured by nostalgia, and with both training in silversmithing and job experience in construction engineering under his belt, Noteboom thought he’d give the paper models another shot. “I said, ‘Well, let’s try it,’ and it stuck,” he said. When he couldn’t find a model of the Saturn V rocket, he decided to design his own. “I didn’t start with an easy one,” he noted wryly. “You just put your teeth together and go. It took a lot of patience, paper , ink and time. It’s fascinating to see a model taking shape.”

His love of technology and engineering is evident in both the level of detail and the painstaking attention to structure and precise construction in the 35 paper models Noteboom has designed and shared online with the world. One of the greatest compliments he’s received, he says, is from a model builder that praised the way everything about his models “fit together.”

The allure lies in constructing something three-dimensional out of a flat piece of paper, Noteboom said. “It’s intriguing to make something very sturdy out of something that isn’t. I treat the piece of paper as a piece of metal, though metal is easier because you can shape it into intricate forms. With paper you can’t.”

In addition to designing paper models, Noteboom is a licensed radio amateur hobbyist specializing in television transmissions. He lives in the small village of Rozenburg, near Rotterdam, with three cats, and handles facility operations at a local school.

 More of Ton’s models can be found at The Paper Model Giftshop.