It’s a world of laughter, a world of tears. It’s a world of hopes, and a world of fears. Today I am positively bursting at the seams! I’m so excited to finally share this project, in hopes that it will bring you joy. For all my Disney park fans, and paper craft lovers, I present to you: It’s a Small World!
THIS. This is the project that has consumed my life for a full week! While I love to challenge myself, I’ve never put this much time and energy into a paper craft as I did for this one. And, yeah, I’m pretty darn proud.
Even though you can’t visit the parks right now, I hope that this project will help bring a little bit of Disney magic to you, right at home.
Before we get started, I just want to say that, though time consuming, this isn’t the most technically difficult build I’ve created. Most of the challenge is in finding, sorting, and assembling the myriad of little pieces that are layered together to form this intricate structure. So, if you are a puzzle-lover, this design is right up your alley!
- Hot Glue
- Command Tape
- Pens/Markers for embellishment
- Bone Folder (optional)
- A Cutting Machine or X-ACTO knife
- My Free Template
How to Make
1. Use your cutting machine or X-ACTO knife, along with my template, to cut out all of the many It’s a Small World pieces.
Note: If you are using the SVG files that includes the score lines, don’t forget to set them as such in Cricut Design Space and attach them to their shapes before sending through your cutting machine. I used a lime green color to mark the score lines and a bright pink to mark any layered cuts, so hopefully that helps!
Assembling the Back Wall
2. Buckle up, and bring your puzzle skills, because this is definitely the most time-consuming step!
First, simply glue your two large, back wall pieces together using the long tab attached to the right side piece.
Next, sort and assemble all of the small and teensy tiny pieces of the back wall structure. You can use both the silhouettes of the shapes along the top of the design as well as my photo below to help guide you.
I recommend using hot glue for the back layers, and layers of Command Tape for the layers that overlap. This will give your back wall some beautiful, complex dimension!
Note: Feel free to add any embellishment you see fit as you go along. At this step, I also added some gold accents to the tops of a few of my buildings using a gold Sharpie Paint Pen.
Assembling the Front Wall
3. Using the same techniques as you did in the pervious step, assemble the front piece of your It’s a Small World wall. I added some hand drawn embellishments to more closely match the original structure, and you can do this as well, if you’d like.
Then, piece together the toy soldiers, children, and time pieces.
Fold and assemble the receded window boxes.
Attach two toy soldiers in each white window box, and one more on the inside of each flap (using either hot glue or Command Tape). Attach two children to the inside of of the arched window pieces and the other ones to the inside of each curved flap. Draw numbers of your time pieces, and attach them to the inside of your off-white window box.
Glue the window boxes to the back side of the wall in their respective places.
Build the Base
4. Start by assembling the center base/tunnel piece. Simply fold along the edge tabs and glue them to the inside of the “tunnel.”
Then, assemble the right and left sections of your base. Attach them to the center pice.
Add the corresponding embellishment pieces to the front.
Attach the Walls
5. This part is a little tricky, but just be patient and persistent.
First, fold your front wall so that it forms a half-hexagon shape. Then, insert the tabs into the slits in the back wall, and tack them down.
Then, carefully, line up each of the wall tabs in the corresponding slits in the base (one at a time). Once they are all inserted, glue them down.
Note: Be sure to insert the back wall tabs into the slits closer to the rear, saving the slits up front for the hedges to come later on.
Create Your River & Greenery
6. Piece together the main lawn and river pieces by overlapping them and gluing down the tabs.
Build your oval topiary by folding the tabs of the long green strip, and glueing them to the inside of the oval piece.
Assemble the hedge pieces as seen in the second photo using hot glue and Command Tape.
Attach the dolphin topiaries to the oval hedge by inserting the tabs into the slits and glueing them to the inside. Insert your elephant, giraffe, and spiral topiaries into the slits in the lawn, and glue them to the back side as well. Using the 4 tabs on the oval hedge, fold them down, add some glue, and attach the completed piece to the center of the lawn (there are not slits for this, so you’ll just be pressing it down.
Finally, attach your two small rows of hedges to the base of the main structure using the slits provided.
Build Some Boats
7. Fold up the side and back pieces of your boat. Curve the front pieces, and glue down the tabs. Add the liner into the bottom. Then, fold your three rows of seating, and glue them in place.
Enjoy Your Masterpiece
There it is! It’s a Small World in all its glory. I personally love this ride: it’s 15 minutes in a relaxing air conditioned building, with lots of charming things to look at along the way! As a kid, I would always pay close attention to the dresses the dolls had on and decide which one had the prettiest outfit (it’s always a close call between Cleopatra and the dancers from India).
No matter how you feel about the ride itself, you can’t help but admire the beautiful facade, marvel at the awesome topiaries, and smile when the figures come dancing out of the clock every 15 minutes.
I really tried not to cut any corners when it came to this design. I’ve wanted to create an “It’s a Small World” piece for some time now, and I knew it just had to be something extra special. Heck, I even included intricately designed buildings that go behind the font wall.
I use Adobe Illustrator for all of my designs, and a Cricut Maker to bring my creations to life. For tips on creating fun paper cuts like this one, see the FAQ section on my website. Also, be sure to check out the other awesome 3D projects available on my blog!
I could go on and on about this design and what it means to me, but I’ll just leave it in your hands now. I hope you enjoy putting my It’s a Small World diorama together as much as I did!
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**All Disney-inspired designs on this site are unofficial, fan creations and not associated with the Disney corporation.