Paper cutting

Paper cutting 101 – Basics guide

Isn’t it exciting to start something new?

I’ve been quite busy lately with drawing paper cutting templates. It’s quite a fun journey, discovering all things I’d love to see as a papercut, but people often ask what paper cutting templates are and how to use them. New to paper cutting? Here is what you need to know to create a template.

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  1. Draw something.

Yes, it can be anything. And yes, either good old paper and pencil or a computer software work. It’s best to try out both – you never know which one suits you better. I do most of the work on PC, but intricate designs are a bit easier to draw, even if you aren’t the new Picasso.

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       2. Make all lines thicker and focus on grouping and connecting, the finished papercut is often a single piece.

Connecting parts of your artwork is sometimes very hard, but you’ll feel better as soon as you see how beautiful the papercut will turn out if you pay attention to details when designing. Once I’m satisfied with the drawing, I flip it over in case there is some text and print on 120gsm paper. Slightly thinner and thicker paper will work, but anything different will be hard to cut by hand.

3. Gather cutting supplies: a craft/utility knife, your template, a shallow container to put all cut out bits and pieces and a cutting mat.

I generally prefer glass mats, even though there is a variety of self-healing mats on the market right now. You’ll have to experiment to find out which blades work for you and I can recommend using an utility knife for a start. I’ve been cutting for about a year now and I discovered that surgical scalpels worked best on self-healing mats while craft knives were much better with glass boards. Using appropriate cutting surface is crucial because it can extend (or shorten) your blade’s life. You’ll probably need spare blades but their amount can be significantly lowered by using the right mat.

Please keep in mind that all craft knives, surgical blades and such are extremely sharp so use them with caution.

4. Cut, cut, cut!

Nothing but experience will make you a better cutter. Practice with simple shapes first. Learning how to bend the blade and the right amount of pressure is vital, it is not the same as when you need to cut curves or sharp edges.

See the pattern as a guide, feel free to change things as you go and alter the look. Not only does it boost your confidence, but it also helps you improve your technique and skill.

If you don’t have time to dive into designing templates, I invite you over to my Etsy shop where you can find them for a low cost. What’s even better, you can request a template just for you! Isn’t that awesome?

A new series of videos that will cover all paper cutting secrets will soon be released. The links will be available here once it’s live.

In the meanwhile, I’d love to hear what your paper cutting routine looks like. Cutting can be quite intimidating, but once you get the basics and practice with a couple of templates, you’ll hardly be able to stop making these gorgeous art pieces.

Here are several examples of my papercuts:

*Update in September 2016:

The Paper cutting Basics video series has been launched! Here are the videos that explain all you need to know about this technique.

 

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