Creative Paper Cutting and Kirigami Projects
Hi and welcome to my page about paper cutting!
Paper cutting involves using scissors or a craft knife to cut shapes in paper and turn it into art. There are a few different techniques of paper cutting, including Chinese, Kirigami and origamic architecture, which all sound scary, but they all vary from very basic designs for beginners to amazing sculptures and ornate artwork.
This page contains links to paper cutting tutorials, projects to practice your skills, free patterns and templates, and plenty of inspirational examples of what can be achieved.
This craft certainly needs patience, but the end results can look absolutely phenomenal.
I hope you find the following information useful and inspiring :-)
Paper Crown Profile
Top Paper-Cutting Books
For the ultimate collection of expert advice, inspirational project examples, templates and instructions, then books like these are the best source:
Different Paper-Cutting Techniques
Paper cutting is done with either a craft knife or scissors. Where an intricate pattern is cut out of a flat piece of paper, a craft knife is usually used; but where the paper is folded, small sharp scissors are used instead.
Paper cutting most likely originated in China, and Chinese paper cuts are flat (that is, there is no folding) and are often done in red paper.
Japanese paper cutting is called kiri-e, and kirigami is the application of kiri-e to origami; it combines folding with the paper cutting. In Kirigami, cuts are made on a folded base, and this often produces a symmetrical pattern as a result. This is much the same technique that kids use to make paper snowflakes at school. Kirigami can also create more complicated results, including the creation of a 3D scene or sculpture from a single sheet of paper.
In Germany, paper cutting is referred to as Scherenschnitte, so it's worth Googling that term too :-)
Safety: I know it's obvious, but please be careful when using sharp knives, and remember to only pull the knife, rather than pushing it across the paper.
Amazing Paper Sculpture Video
A Whole Lot of Patience...
Learning to Paper Cut
The following lessons will help you to get started in the world of paper cutting, although to be honest the best thing to do is just get started. Technique is limited with this craft (i.e. it's cutting and that's it), so the best thing to do is practice, practice, practice :)
Make sure you change your knife blades quite frequently to keep them sharp, otherwise you will be pulling on the paper rather than cutting straight through, and this could lead to tears (in more ways than one!)
- Bunny Template Walkthrough
Instructions for guiding you through the steps.
- Tutorial From an Expert
Instructions for an artistic cut-out.
- Tips for Cutting
What to look out for as a beginner.
- Basic Tools Required
Recommended tools of the trade for paper crafting.
- How to Cut Tricky Letters
How to transfer a design and cut it out to make a greeting card.
Tiered Papercut Sculpture
Book Page Art
Simple Cutting For Greetings Cards
- Thank-You Notes
Make a letter to remember with this tutorial.
- Kirigami Greeting Cards
Patterns for folding and cutting your own.
- Framed Symmetrical Paper Art
Elegant kirigami designs to cut out with scissors.
- Create a Stencil
Paper stencils are one use for paper cutting.
- Papercut Portrait
Impressive and artistic make.
- Papercut Flowers
For pretty party decoration.
- Tutorial List
Lots of original paper craft how-tos.
- Pop-Up Placemat
Sweet little placemats for special occasions.
Valentine's Day Template
Here is a free template for the Valentine design above.
Beginner Practice Sheet 1
This is a simple exercise sheet you can print out if you are a complete beginner to paper cutting. It will get you used to cutting lines and curves, and you can print off more sheets if you want another go. Just follow the lines as accurately as you can with a craft blade whilst your paper is on top of a cutting mat.
The "splat" shape and circles are more difficult. Remember to turn the paper rather than the blade in order to follow the lines. Your blade should be pulling towards you at all times, so to create a circular cut you will need to rotate the paper smoothly whilst you pull the blade to get a neat curved cut. You'll get the hang of it!
More Paper-Cutting Tutorials
- Squirrel Valentine's Card
With free pattern to print out.
- Candlelit Skyline
City skyline sections cut out and layered.
- Lotus Blossom
Lovely flower inside a card.
- Geometric Paper Lamp
Impressive lampshade using just paper.
- 3D Paper Snowflake
Decoration made by kirigami.
- Papercut Ornaments
Nature spinner project with template.
- Pencil Holder
Using origamic architecture techniques.
- Paper Strip Art
Cute movie themed art using paper cutting techniques.
- Halloween Lanterns
With pumpkin, mummy and cat templates to use.
See more paper cut art and sculptures from Elsa Mora.
Spooky Paper Art
Kirigami Templates and Cutting Mats
Kirigami templates provide instructions and cutting guides for creating impressive symmetrical patterns in folded paper (like paper snowflakes but more detailed).
Cutting mats are essential for providing a work surface for paper cutting whilst protecting the table/ or desk underneath.
Paper-Cutting Blogs and Inspiration
- Silhouette Gallery
Lots of paper cut artwork to browse.
- Cut Paper Artwork
Lots of different styles and techniques to view.
Personal projects from the forum members.
- Kiri-e Examples
Photos of Japanese 3D paper cutting.
- The Heart of Papercuts
Fab blog all about paper cutting.
- Beatrice Coron Art
Gallery of paper cut-outs.
- Art Contest Entries
A few varied examples of paper cut designs.
Plenty of inspiration and information.
- Hand Cut Maps
Paper maps of different cities.
- Film Based Paper Cut
A design based on a fight scene from the movie 'Inception'.
- Amazing Portraits
With great detailing in the hair.
- Retro Paper Electronics
Amazing retro electronics replicated in neon paper.
- Papercut Animation
A charming video called The Three Inventors.
Painted Paper Cuts
Sweet Stop-Motion Animation Using 12,000 Pieces of Construction Paper
Free Paper-Cutting Patterns and Templates
There are many patterns available which you can find in books, or for sale on the Internet. You could also search for silhouette clip-art on the web, or make your own designs by drawing them or using shapes or profiles in photos or magazines.
The following patterns, though, are free, and are specifically for paper-cutting use.
- Origamic Architecture
24 great starter patterns.
- Chinese Patterns
Lots of free templates to print out.
Pop-up advanced paper design.
- Squirrel Template
Cute design with a how-to video too.
- Winter Scene in a Glass Dome
Template for a beautiful woodland snow scene.
Beginner Practice Sheet 2
Here is a further exercise sheet for you to print out and practice on. Simply use a craft knife (and cutting board) to follow the lines as smoothly and as accurately as you can. See above for tips.
Chinese Paper Cuts
More Creative Paper Tutorials
- Cut-Out Valentine Card
How to cut out a fun message in a cool font.
- Paper Cut Map
Make a momento of your hometown or city.
- Papel Picado Garland
Crepe paper bunting for celebrating the Day of the Dead.
- Papercut Gem Garland
Diamonds and gem shapes are perfect for making using paper cut techniques.
- New Home Greetings Card
Photos showing the process of creating a paper cut card.
- Snowflake Kirigami
Extreme and intricate snowflake cutting.
- Backlit Canvas Art
A floral pattern lit up with fairy lights.
- Two-Tone Flowers
Make simple flower cut-out shapes stand out with contrasting paper.
- Framed Paper Butterfly
Beautiful home décor created using a free template.
- Animal Valentines
Free templates for squirrel and bird heart cards.
Skyline Shadow Box
Peter Callesen Art
Cool Paper Cut Examples and Art Displays
- Roald Dahl Story Scenes
Lovely scenes from Roald Dahl books made using paper.
- Emma Van Leest
Amazing works including paper art installations.
- Jared Andrew Schorr
Amazing fantasy 2D scenes created with paper - I love the Batman one!
- Sarah Dennis
Showcase of beautiful papercut scenes.
- Nikki Rosato
Interesting profiles created by cutting the land areas out of maps.
- Drawing With Scissors
Super examples of art that has been cut out with scissors rather than a knife.
- 25 Top Papercut Artists
A showcase of some very talented papercutters.
Paper Cutting Demos and Examples
Hand-Cut Mountain Scene
Please Leave a Comment!
mike on March 11, 2019:
can you help me with my mobile video background? I am not sure why it is not loading...Https://www.teelish.com
Carolann Duncan on May 13, 2018:
Do you know where to get paper that is black on one side and white on the other for paper snipping.
Jenny Stephen on March 09, 2017:
I currently am a cardmaker/scrapper for family and friends but am trying to get and practice designs in paper cutting. I also do a little quilling. Love learning new crafts :)
sadie e murdoch on August 21, 2016:
love love your cut outs found out it is so relaxing and just cant wait to get started again to see finished
Fiona from South Africa on August 07, 2016:
Thanks for all the links - I have been wanting to try paper cutting for a while now. I found the one that led to origami-type architecture and I am quite keen to give that a try. Great hub.
Susan L Nelson on September 12, 2015:
Wonderful article tho too much to read in one sitting. I'm not sure how to sign up to follow, so I'm gad I saved the name! Can't wait to read again, more!
Rebecca Be from Lincoln, Nebraska on February 15, 2015:
I shared this timeless article on TSU just now...there is so much in here. Gave you thumbs up and other pluses...thanks for writing this. I think I will try to do it. If you would like to see my profile in TSU go to tsu.co/Rebeccabe
wellingtonboot (author) from U.K. on September 29, 2014:
All you need is regular paper sheets, a craft knife (X-acto knife) and a cutting mat to start :)
Heankhoo on September 27, 2014:
I want to take up the hobby but do not know how to equip myself and make a start.Please advise
nathl on July 11, 2014:
amazing lens! thank you for taking the time to detail so much about this!
playulheart on June 15, 2014:
These are really beautiful. I want to try the book pages one.
GEMNITYA5 on May 14, 2014:
Also shared on Facebook :)
tif2pdf on May 05, 2014:
nelchee on April 06, 2014:
Thanks for sharing these tutorials!
I tried paper-cutting but only once so far. I even bought a special scalpel and a plastic sheet to cut on. I'll probably never do as crazy detailed stuff as the examples you picked, but I think I can combine it with my drawing skills to make original kind of art.
glowchick on March 13, 2014:
I'll admit I probably don't have the patience to do this, but i really enjoyed reading about it and looking at all the cool sculptures :)
AnonymousC831 from Kentucky on March 01, 2014:
Very cool lens.
teelover on February 12, 2014:
Great lens and selection of resources!
MissLivvy on January 24, 2014:
So beautiful! I wish I had the patience.
John Dyhouse from UK on January 19, 2014:
I have been looking at some of the easier templates to try out this art.
I have in the past traded ATC's which have featured this art and would love to be able to reproduce something like it
nicey on January 16, 2014:
This is very very very good. I like it!
harrybigg on January 14, 2014:
Beautiful work, very intricate!
PDX tours on January 03, 2014:
Hexadecimal LM on December 08, 2013:
these are awesome! I am doing some Victorian style silhouettes for my bedroom, now I have a whole bunch more ideas =]
Pippin19 on November 30, 2013:
Some of these are truly breathtaking. I must have a go myself! Now where exactly did I leave my patience....?
chrisilouwho on November 18, 2013:
Fascinating, not sure I have the patience to do this myself but I really love how beautiful these photos are.
KidsAdvantage on October 30, 2013:
WOW! I have never really seen anything like this before....my stuff is all for Kids & stumbled across this Lens looking for creative stuff for my websites etc,,,,but I am so impressed! I am so tempted to give it a try but dread to think what a disappointment the beginner stuff will be compared to what is above!!
swirlingjenny on October 06, 2013:
I like this lens sooo much. You brought paper-cutting into a different artsy level. :)
anonymous on September 29, 2013:
I love it.It is some amazing, really want to try it.Hope it works.
jiancara on September 27, 2013:
..really amazing. I want to try it too!
Im2keys on September 25, 2013:
this has some very beautiful works of art! thanks for sharing- makes me want to try paper cutting :)
mariacarbonara on September 19, 2013:
@anonymous: Love this lens. Really like the shadow boxes
anonymous on September 05, 2013:
Wonderful artwork - I must give it a try.
josietook on August 12, 2013:
Beautiful artwork, I will have to give paper cutting a go.
oddobjective on August 10, 2013:
Wow, who knew papercutting was so beautiful and artistic? Great lens and lots of cool photos.
anonymous on August 01, 2013:
What an awesome lens. I love all the art and I may need to look into trying the shilouettes. I truly love those. Thank you for the wealth of info.
mcstacy on July 22, 2013:
Beautiful art and sure it requires a lot of patience. Great lens.
Liz Mackay from United Kingdom on June 21, 2013:
Lovely things here but I think I will just admire!
anonymous on June 13, 2013:
Ellen Gregory from Connecticut, USA on June 05, 2013:
Really nice showcase of paper cutting.
marktplaatsshop on June 05, 2013:
There are quit a lot of impressive art works, in this lens. I like the spooky one and the Tiered Papercut Sculpture the most.
allaneaglesham lm on May 10, 2013:
This is a fantastic lens! I have only seen this used for silhouettes at Disney. I will definitely try this myself!
Margot_C on April 21, 2013:
Wow, some of these are fantastic. Really liked the spooky blue one. I can't imagine how much time and patience is needed for these. Great article.
PinkstonePictures from Miami Beach, FL on March 06, 2013:
karMALZEKE on March 02, 2013:
I love the intricacy of this art form. Nice presentation!
anonymous on March 01, 2013:
I have gone through all he demonstrations and spent about two hours. real thrill ,very interesting hobby. i am an artist and want to change to this form. enjoyed.Thanks. anil, india
funkyn on February 25, 2013:
The hand cut mountain scene is amazing. Great video too! Thank you!
JanaLee LM on February 10, 2013:
Wow! So cool and inspiring! Love the designs.
Ibexing on January 22, 2013:
I've really enjoyed looking at all the pictures of the finished pieces. What an amazing craft, I didn't know about it until I read this lens.
anonymous on January 19, 2013:
I hadn't really seen much on paper cutting before this Lens. Thanks, and I will be watching for more.
May Matthew on January 06, 2013:
Your collection is great! I particularly like the paper silhouettes, book decorations and the paper insects. Lovely! Thank you for sharing.
ArtzeeChris LM on January 04, 2013:
It must take incredible patience to do some of these designs. I am amazed that the detail of some of these examples here. They are just beautiful. Thanks for sharing such a great medium and the potential that is within a piece of paper!
JeffGilbert on December 23, 2012:
I had no idea that paper cutting had evolved this much. The most I knew was about origami. Thanks so much for this lens, it's so educational, and inspirational too. One definitely wants to take up paper cutting and see what one can come up with... :)
John Dyhouse from UK on December 22, 2012:
NIce read and informative
anonymous on November 26, 2012:
@anonymous: Ya, she's right. I love everything that we're posted on this page, but still, I also need more. I love drawing and designing. It's my hobby.
anonymous on November 26, 2012:
I like it! But still, I need more.
MuffinPuffART on November 18, 2012:
Very interesting lens. I've just gotten into paper cutting myself.
anonymous on October 30, 2012:
margarida-lp-7 on October 26, 2012:
Loved your lens!
anonymous on October 13, 2012:
Can't wait to try it!
HopeLabel on October 03, 2012:
So intricate! Just wow!
anonymous on September 27, 2012:
Amazing that people have the patience to make this beautiful paper cutting art!
SomethingInteresting on September 25, 2012:
Thanks for the information. I can't wait to try it
anonymous on September 21, 2012:
love paper cutting!, always looking for new exciting challeging templates/patterns
love your site.
ikrave on September 15, 2012:
Great work!! Thank you!!
Annbulance2000 on September 01, 2012:
Super lense. I will be back to see some more.
anonymous on August 27, 2012:
Really great lens!
supersiva on August 14, 2012:
DMVAgent on August 04, 2012:
This techniques gives me an idea for making my work wonderful.
purpleslug on August 01, 2012:
Some amazing pieces of art!
Craftymoose on July 28, 2012:
Wow those intricate ones are amazing!
Gayle Dowell from Kansas on July 12, 2012:
I can see that this would take a lot of patience. Blessed~
SheilaMilne from Kent, UK on July 05, 2012:
This is wonderful! I am inspired to try something.
anonymous on May 28, 2012:
all the artists are awesome. keep up the wonderful work.
enjoyecigs on May 03, 2012:
great lens! wow, these are amazing!!!
anonymous on April 29, 2012:
love this site it has been inspiring
JoyfulReviewer on April 23, 2012:
The "Tiered Papercut Sculpture" and "Chinese Paper Cuts lady" are absolutely exquisite. I guess one can dream of mastering that level of difficulty. Thanks for compiling all these resources and presenting them so nicely. Blessed!
anonymous on April 18, 2012:
This is a fantastic little page, extremely informative. Thanks.
justin42 on March 15, 2012:
Great lens. It is inspiring me to try something new. Maybe someday I am going to have to come back and vote for "Yes, Sometimes".
SimplyTonjia on March 15, 2012:
Nice lens. Thank you.
btoteva on March 11, 2012:
This is amazing
SmBizGuru LM on March 08, 2012:
Oh wow! Now I know what I want to try my hand at next :)
sweetstickyrainbo on March 07, 2012:
some very creative work!
ArtofRIO on March 07, 2012:
I would love to leave an extensive comment, but all that comes to mind is AWESOME!!! I love this. Thanks!
aquarian_insight on March 07, 2012:
What an amazing lens! I would love to try some paper cutting, but have always thought it looked too complex, so I'm so happy to have come across your lens. I'll definitely be giving it a go soon! Thank you.
Kim from Yonkers, NY on February 17, 2012:
I can't draw well enough to make a design to cut out but I love that 'goth' type one! AWESOME & yes I would NOT have the patience for that other one!
adding to my Favorite Lenses Lens
selink on February 12, 2012:
Paper cutting is an awesome skill that everyone can learn. Having a great passion for crafts can make people become more resourceful. Many ideas can be put into play by the public, and this encourages people to think of more ways to lessen the amount of trash we produce. There are companies like shredding San Antonio that are there to collect paper that is no longer in use and shred it to make it useful again.
PBJasen on February 10, 2012:
Very nice lens, and unusual topis. Thumbs up!
PBJasen on February 10, 2012:
Very nice lens, and unusual topis. Thumbs up!
anonymous on February 09, 2012:
This is amazing, thanks for all those blogs. I just want to start cutting :) ... can you tell me which kind of paper is used for basic stuff? I looked through the blogs but they mostly handle the topic of techniques or tools ^^.
MelonyVaughan on February 03, 2012:
Wow! These are so beautiful! Paper cutting can be very calming and therapeutic.
jimmyworldstar on February 02, 2012:
That tiered papercut sculpture looks awesome, I want to think that most of these were done with stencils and just pushing the paper out, because to have to cut all that out must've taken a long long time.
littletree1524 on January 25, 2012:
This is amazing, it's beautiful, I love it. I always thought you folded the paper I am smarter than I was before. Thanks for shareing.
Kheng LM on January 20, 2012:
Wow this is amazing. Great research and lots of resources. Thank you!
anonymous on January 07, 2012:
Paper cutting is fun, my grandma taught me how to cut paper animals free hand when I was little. I learned how and love doing for someone who is watching. This is a lovely lens! Blessed
prosepine lm on December 22, 2011:
What a brilliant obsession!
jadehorseshoe on December 17, 2011:
davies86 on December 13, 2011:
really good lens.
E L Seaton from Virginia on December 11, 2011:
Those are some incredibly intricate design. These large hands of mine probably won't be good for maneuvering scissors through all those cuts. Very interesting lens!
papermotor on December 08, 2011:
Simply just WONDERFUL! I used to cut paper for paper models. That is a different art but requires manual skill and patience as this. I'll try it surely in the near future... Thanks for this lens!
jvermilion on November 24, 2011:
Great art this is. Thank you for sharing these ideas. I'm glad to see people are still on it :)