The 1st step is to think how you want the finished toy to look. The more thought you put into this before you start, the better result you will get.
Choosing the right paper is important. I normally use 160g White paper if im test building something or even building a model from another artist. However, as this is a post on how to get the most from blanks, I would suggest to use either 160g Colored paper & for some parts, pre textured/patterned paper, normally used in scrapbooking. This can achieve a completely decorated toy with no effort, & the outcome can look stunning.
There are so many patterns available in craft shops, choosing the right one can take time, but it is time well spent. Another option, is to print an image of your choice onto a white sheet, then use this paper to cut from.
Printing & Cutting
I attempt to include the .PDO file produced via Pepakura when I can. The benefit to this is printing straight from Pepakura can help at the cutting stage. If you are lucky enough to have access to a cutter, for example, a Graphtec Craft ROBO. This can work in conjunction with Pepakura to cut line free templates perfectly & also score them for you. You can use the Craft Robo software to cut out a template, even if it's not from Pepakura, but then scoring will have to be done manually.
If you need to cut manually, I would suggest to use a craft knife & a small pair of scissors, & change between the two for best results, depending on what it is you are cutting at the time.
Ok, so you chose your paper, & the template has now been printed & cut-out. My only building tip is to not rush it, & don't over glue. Take your time to line up the flaps as best you can. The more effort you take to build, the better the result.
Over-glueing can be a messy affair, as this will get on your fingers, & transfer to the outer skin of the model. This is something that I had problems with when I started building, & it's not pretty. It doesn't take long to learn the right amount though.
It may be that the model really could do with some basic facial features. Here are a couple of examples of Paper-toys built following the above process. On the Shrunken Head Template I used a marker pen to add the features, Whereas on the Hex Template, I used a set of Googly Eyes, which are also readily available from craft shops.
Have fun experimenting as I do, & I hope you found this small tutorial useful when it comes to blank templates.