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Paper-Cutting Tutorials for Beginners

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:

Create

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...

Unbelievably intricate work.

Unbelievably intricate work.

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!)

Tiered Papercut Sculpture

Absolutely amazing!

Absolutely amazing!

Book Page Art

Simple Cutting For Greetings Cards

Paper-Cutting Projects

Valentine's Day Template

Here is a free template for the Valentine design above.

Beginner Practice Sheet 1

paper-cutting-art-techniques-how-to-cut-intricate-patterns-projects-for-beginners

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!

Kirigami Flowers

More Paper-Cutting Tutorials

Paper Silhouettes

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

Painted Paper Cuts

Gouache-painted paper bugs.

Gouache-painted paper bugs.

Laminate It!

Laminating is a good idea to preserve your delicate artwork.

Laminating is a good idea to preserve your delicate artwork.

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.

Soaring Love

Beginner Practice Sheet 2

Papercutting exercise sheet

Papercutting exercise sheet

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

Skyline Shadow Box

Peter Callesen Art

Photo taken at the Manchester Museum of Art.

Photo taken at the Manchester Museum of Art.

Cool Paper Cut Examples and Art Displays

Paper Cutting Demos and Examples

Hand-Cut Mountain Scene

A striking and colorful scene

A striking and colorful 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

cut out

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:

Terrific paper-cutting-art-techniques

Also shared on Facebook :)

Blessings

GEM

tif2pdf on May 05, 2014:

Very,very nice

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:

inspiring!

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:

nice

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:

Wonderful

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:

Fantastic lens.

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.

Eve

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:

Really innovative

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:

WOW!

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 :)

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