Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Paper Cutout Cards

These beautifully rendered floral cutouts look elaborate but are easy to make.

•Paper of your choice, from Martha Stewart Crafts

•Sharp pair of embroidery or cuticle scissors


•Utility knife with replacement blades

•Transfer paper

•Bone folder, from Martha Stewart Crafts

•White craft glue (or spray adhesive), from Martha Stewart Crafts

•Glue stick (if using heavier paper), from Martha Stewart Crafts

•Fine-tipped brush

•Self-healing cutting mat

•Flower templates
These beautifully rendered paper cutouts require only patience, concentration, and a careful hand to make. The materials required for even the most elaborate cutouts are simple and inexpensive -- paper and pencil, scissors and knife.

We used two main cutting techniques to produce our designs. One is to cut a single shape, often drawn along one continuous line, from unfolded paper (like a silhouette); the other method is to cut one or more designs from folded paper, resulting in double images or repeating patterns.

Step 1 : Trace the Templates

To start, use transfer paper to trace the templates, which will keep the design right-facing. For cutting designs from folding paper, do not fold the paper more than two or three times. Score creases with a bone folder for precision. Before you begin to cut, secure the edges of the folds with paper clips, or staple the folds together outside the borders of the design.

Step 2 : Cut the Shapes

Paper is easiest to handle if you begin cutting from the center and work your way out to the edges. Pierce the paper with scissor tips or a pin to gain entry into small spaces. A utility knife is ideal for cutting curved shapes, and central and small areas. Rest paper on a self-healing cutting mat, and apply steady downward pressure on the blade. Guide the knife toward you, holding the paper taut with your free hand. Scissors are best for large shapes and outer edges.

Step 3 : Attach the Cutout

Once you have begun to cut on a fold, never open the paper to check your progress; it is nearly impossible to realign it, and the symmetry of your design will be spoiled. To eliminate the chance of a tear, you'll need to change knife blades whenever the paper starts to pull as you try to cut.

Before pasting a cutout onto paper or another surface, you may flatten it in a heavy book for a couple of days or press it with a cool, dry iron. Mark and measure carefully for placement; even freshly glued cut work cannot be moved without risk of tearing and distortion. Use white craft glue and a fine-tipped brush, or spray adhesive with good ventilation. A glue stick can work for pieces cut from heavier papers.

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