This is Sam from Catfriendo with my paper cutting tutorial. I’ve included a supply list, the tutorial, and a tips section. Sorry if this is a little bare bones!
All items can be found easily at a craft supply store or even a stationary shop. That’s the beauty of paper cutting: the supplies are pretty easy to find!
– Original hand-drawn Catfriendo template – provided here.
– Paper of choice – printer paper is great to practice on – it’s thin and easy to cut through, however, it tears pretty easily and isn’t archival grade. Cardstock or another acid-free paper will last longer and look nicer, but it can be more difficult to cut through and dulls blades faster.
– Access to a printer
– Knife of choice – I like to use a swivel kraft knife because I find it easier to control, but whatever knife you have lying around will work fine!
– Cutting mat or cutting board – these keep your blades sharper for longer and help to protect the surface below the piece you are cutting out.
– The bigger you print your template, the easier the design is to cut out! The example shown here is about 5×7 inches. I’ve mirrored the template because the side of the paper you are cutting into is the back of the piece; when you are finished and flip it over, no lines will show and the text will be in the right direction.
2. Start cutting!
– I like to start by cutting out the smaller, more detailed areas of the design. For example, here I cut out the inside of the letters and the delicate parts of the border. Loops are a great place to start as they are usually the most finicky areas and when the surrounding paper is still there tears are way less likely to occur.
3. Bigger Pieces
– Once the detailed pieces are removed, move onto the bigger areas. I like to start in one area and move across the piece. Here I started in the lower left of the piece and moved across and up. I find it easier to break down the areas I remove – smaller pieces are easier and less difficult to extract and are less prone to causing the piece to tear if they get caught!
4. Moving across the piece.
– Keep moving upwards on the piece. In really delicate places, I use my index finger on my non-cutting hand to stabilize / keep the paper tight in order to avoid tearing.
5. Cut off excess.
– Almost done, all that’s left is to cut out the surrounding paper. You can do it!
6. The reveal!
– Time to flip over your new piece of hand cut paper art! Thanks so much for following along with my little tutorial; I hope you had a blast!
– thicker paper is more durable and less likely to tear, but will dull your blades faster
– if your paper of choice will not go through your printer, print the piece on regular paper and use carbon copy paper to trace the design onto the paper you want to use. Carbon copy paper is pretty easy to find at stationary or office supply stores.
– if you are drawing your own design and it includes text, make sure to write the text backwards to get a way cleaner design in the end. Try holding a mirror up to the backwards text to make sure that all of your letters face the right way!
Sam of Catfriendo is a hand cut paper artist based in Calgary, Alberta. Sam sells her paper creations at local markets as well as through her Etsy shop.
“The process of cutting out a lace like image from a single piece of paper using only an Exacto knife has not lost any of it’s charm. I’m still just as excited now, almost 5 years after my very first papercut , every time I start a new piece and see the light behind the very first subtractive cut.”