Saturday, 18 January 2014

Paper Cut 'Dream'

I don’t think I’ve ever looked at a piece of Rob Ryan art and not thought to myself how much I wish I could do what he does.  So beautiful and detailed.  Over Christmas, I bought a ‘Make Your Own Papercut’ poster – only around 12 x 12 inches and £1.00.  
It looked simple enough and you had to cut the white spaces with a craft knife and then the paper cut image would be revealed and could be framed.  After about 2 hours of intricate cutting and a chimney smoke casualty, my fingers were numb.  Completely numb!  They didn’t fully restore for a good two days and I didn’t get even half the paper cut completed in time for the holidays.  However; I’m still in awe at paper cut creations [I have a Pinterest board of some amazing examples here] and determined to teach myself how to do it, so I thought I would simplify the process to start it all off.

If you fancy having a go at creating one too, the basic method I have tried can be adapted to any text or shape, whether a free-hand or digital design.  I'm starting simple, so used the computer to help me.  For the finished outcome, I wanted a simple A4 white paper cut word.
To create a guide of the shape, I started with a coloured background - anything grey would be cut out.  The shape was a simple curved square, created on my computer.  Next, I selected a font I liked [and that would be easy to cut] and changing the size and placement, typed this over the coloured background in white, ensuring that the sides overlapped the background so that they would not be cut away.  I then added a little star detail to give a bit more interest to the design, but without overcomplicating it, again, overlapping the background to make sure it wasn't cut away:
This gave me a clear guideline of what was to be cut away [the grey areas] and what would be left [the white areas] - if you fancy cutting along, right click and save the above file on to your computer to print.

Once happy with the final design, I printed directly on to my white card:
Typing the text and adding stars in white, the same colour as my card and the colour I wanted the finished look overall, meant that I wouldn’t have to worry about any outlines showing up. 
If you are cutting a free-hand or more intrictate design, I would recommend sketching your design on to paper and then drawing over the final lines in black pen.  Flip your paper over and trace over the lines in black pen again to create a reflected template.  Now, trace the reflected template with pencil on to the back of the card you want your papercut to be made on [does all that make sense?].  This will prevent any outlines showing through or being seen.
This method is next on my list, so I'll let you know how I get on. 
Finally, the cutting can begin.  Depending on the design, it is most likely that you will need a cutting mat and craft/cutting knife.  I found both in The Works for a discounted price, so if you have one near you and you need them, it’s worth a visit.

As tempting as removing the large areas are first, try to leave these until last.  They provide the stability and strength you will need your card to have when making the smaller and more intricate cuts – your design wont tear or move about if they are left in place until the end:
As tempting as it is to make each cut in one long swoop, curved areas in particular are hard to cut without either bunching or dragging the paper [you can see this in some areas of my cut] as you go - either take your time with this, making small cuts at a time, or make sure you move your hand, rather than the paper to make the cuts:
Once all the grey areas were removed, I could neaten up any edges and make sure that I was happy with the finished look:
To frame my design, I chose a basic IKEA Ribba frame, but to get the full effect of the papercut, I wanted to have a completely see-through background.  This is easy to recreate, first: use the backboard to mark the size of the frame on to your card and cut away any excess.  Then remove the backboard and folding strips of card to hold the edges of the design in place:
...and then you're ready to display:
P.S - I'm a huge fan of Famille Summerbelle too - I own her papercut 'Map' prints and they bring a welcome pop of colour to my rented beige flat. Do check out her work here.
Have a fantabulous weekend
see you next time x

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1 comment

  1. This looks amazing for your first go at Paper cutting! Thanks for sharing your tips.

    Claire x


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