What you will make:
In this project, Aunt Annie introduces you to the art of paper-cutting
through the techniques of cut-apart and layered paper. Both of these
techniques are simple and well-suited to the computer. These are
techniques that can be used to decorate greeting cards, stationery,
boxes, gift wraps, or any paper craft project. They can also be used to
create mobiles and pictures suitable for framing.
At the end of this project page, read a
brief note about paper-cutting traditions around
Here's what you need:
- Computer paper (white and colored)
- Optional: Cardstock for making greeting cards
or mounting paper-cuts.
This project is rated EASY to do.
How to Make Simple Paper-Cuts
Read all of the steps before starting.
- Step 1: Choose a Pattern and Print It
Choose a paper-cutting technique to try. Download and print the
pattern on paper. The black & white (B&W) patterns can be
printed on cardstock for use as templates when cutting decorative
paper. Each pattern includes a drawing of the finished paper-cut,
shapes to cut, and suggested paper colors. The Christmas paper-cuts
pattern includes templates for both layered paper-cuts and
Bird and Butterfly
Patterns are Adobe PDF files. The
Adobe Reader is available for free.
All of Aunt Annie's project patterns are designed to be printed on standard letter-size paper (8.5"x11" or A4).
When printing from Adobe Reader, you may need to select Auto-Rotate and Center or
Choose paper source by PDF page size to ensure the best fit.
- Step 2: Layered Paper Technique
One of the easiest types of paper-cutting is layered paper, where
different shapes are glued on top of each other in multiple layers.
- Cut a simple shape from a sheet of paper.
- To make another layer, take a piece of paper of a different color and trace around the cut
shape. Now, cut a smaller shape within the traced outline.
- Make 1 to 3 more layers, always using a different color of paper and the previous
layer as a guide.
- Arrange the layers in order from largest to
smallest, and glue in place.
Tip: A layered paper-cut can be used to decorate a card or bookmark; or
combine several layered paper-cuts with other cut shapes to make a picture.
- Step 3: Cut-Apart Technique
The cut-apart technique is very easy to do. It simply involves
cutting a cut shaped into a number of sections.
- Get two pieces of paper in contrasting colors.
- Cut a simple shape from one of the sheets, and
then cut it into multiple pieces.
- Glue the cut shape to the other sheet of paper, leaving space between the pieces.
Tip: Another way to arrange the pieces is to flip some of the cut-apart pieces over.
Leaf Silhouette Cards greeting card tutorial
for an example.
- Step 4: Use Your Paper-Cuts
The paper-cuts made in this project can be used to decorate many
different things. You might use the flowers on a bookmark or the
fish on a greeting card. Arrange several paper-cuts together to make
a picture, and then mat and frame it. Wrap a package with a plain
sheet of wrapping paper and glue paper-cuts on it.
After you are familiar with these techniques, design your own shapes for layered paper
and cut-apart paper-cuts.
That's it! What are your ideas
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About paper-cutting traditions around the world
The first examples of paper-cutting came from China in the 4th or 5th
century. The Chinese have developed paper-cutting into a beautiful and
intricate art called
chien-chih. The most sophisticated
patterns take an incredible amount of skill to cut, and may take months
to complete. The paper-cuts are usually created with very thin red
paper using many traditional designs.
Paper-cutting has developed as an art all around the world wherever
paper is plentiful. The best-known traditions are
scherenschnitte from Germany and Switzerland,
from Japan, and
wycinanki from Poland. Paper-cutting also has
a long and popular history in
Mexico, with the craft originating with
the Mayans in the 6th century. Each tradition of paper-cutting has
developed a unique style that sets it apart from the others. The
styles range from simple silhouettes to wonderfully intricate and