Monday, 26 January 2015


Today I'm attending an art group where I will be tutoring adults on various arts and crafts.  Interestingly, the classes are to be themed around Commonwealth countries, thus making the choice of crafts a little more challenging!

I figured, seeing as I've never tutored an art class before, that I should start with something I know, so I decided to wade in with papercutting.

Papercuts are an older form of art and can be found in various interpretations all over the world, from China, to India, to England.  The oldest surviving paper cut is from 6th century China, and look a bit like this:

The ready availability of materials needed to papercut is probably the things which has made it so successful as a craft.  Almost anyone can pick up a scalpel, or other papercutting tool (they can be very fancy these days), and a piece of paper and get cutting.

It's very therapeutic too.

I began papercutting after stumbling across a very talented papercutter in one of my craft magazines one day. Paper Panda (or Louise Firchau) is a papercutter based in England who has created her own franchise of papercutting designs based on her own drawings and characters.

The work she does varies from lettering (a favourite of hers), to intricate work detailing houses (including ALL the rooms!), story pieces featuring her now famous bunny and bird characters, as well as some rather cheeky sweary word work.  I don't want to pinch any of her photos to stick up to show you (although I wish I could) because that's a bit naughty, so I'll leave this LINK here instead for you to look at.  You won't be disappointed!

Although, here's a papercut I did all by myself from one of her Paper Panda  template packs which is downloadable and you can keep forever! Great for practicing and making birthday cards out of!

Not bad for a first try, huh?

After reading her blog and having a nosey through the photos on her facebook page, I decided I would give papercutting a try - after all, all I needed was a knife, a cutting mat, some paper and some patience.

I've really enjoyed papercutting - it's a great wee craft which you can be as good at or as bad at as you like!  For those who are not so confident at it, there are various templates which you can download for free and print off, or if you're looking for some more intricate projects, some even sell their own designs for you to try.  Take a look on Pinterest, Etsy etc for inspiration.

One of my freehand papercuts
If you like drawing , you can even draw your own designs - but beware!  You have to think and draw back to front so that when you cut around the lines, you can flip it over to hide the pencil marks.  This is admittedly quite tricky to do! Alternatively, you can scan any front-facing drawing and, provided you have the correct software on your computer, you can easily flip the image and then print it out.

My favourite thing to do is a bit of freehand with a bit of light pencil thrown in.  I've done more than a few papercuts this way and quite enjoy it because it means I can change the image as I go (I am such a butterfly when it comes to these things.  I can never stick with a plan!

Here are a few tips for successful papercutting

Freehand xmas design
  1. Don't panic if you can't get it right first time. It can be really hard to get the hang of tension, pressure and the actual cutting blade.  Try sitting with different kinds of card or paper and cutting out freehand shapes for practice.
  2. Start with something easy. It might be something that looks so simple that it almost looks too easy, but you need to build up to cutting out tiny detailed shapes. You'll get much more gratification from it if you start slowly.
  3. Change your blade often.  The sharper the blade, the better and smoother the cut - and the more likely you'll be able to cut the tiny details
  4. Take it slowly. There's no rush! Papercutting should be something you can concentrate on but enjoy. If you are getting frustrated, stop.
  5. Cut away from your hand! These are sharp, sharp scalpel blades and it's very easy to accidentally stab a finger - and whatever you do, watch your face! You have no idea how many times I've gone to itch my face or my nose with the scalpel in my hand!

It's great fun - why not give it a try? What's your favourite found craft?

1 comment:

  1. One of my favorite children's authors, Ashley Bryan, does papercutting to illustrate his books, and it looks AMAZING. I have always wanted to do it, and maybe someday work up to doing it with vinyl cling-film type of stuff that you can put on a window... I'm well impressed that you just taught yourself to do it! Yours are beautiful!


I moderate my comments before publishing just to make sure there is nothing too naughty or spammy. Comments will disappear initially but don't worry. They just need to be verified before they appear on the page. Genna x

Featured post

That time my Dad left