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:
A beautiful 5-star-rated book full of paper artwork photographs to inspire you— created by 26 talented artists.
This book provides a wealth of information and patterns for beginners to the world of paper cutting.
Teach yourself this amazing craft by working your way through the 20 step-by-step projects included in this book.
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.
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.