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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!

Scroll to Continue

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.