Monday, March 25, 2013

How to make a {basic} paper cut

I am working on a collaboration with four wonderful ladies and it involves making a small piece of artwork every month until May. (For more details or possibly participating in your own collaboration, you can check out my Art Collaboration facebook page).   Anyway, one of the things that I did with my piece last month was a paper cut.  I've done quite a few, but I'm not an expert by any means. That saying, here are just a few tips I have for those starting out:

- Use break-away blades. I have worked with Xacto knives for years, and just recently switched to break-away blades. They work great for me, are super cheap (I think I bought 2 for $1) and once they get dull, you just break it off and keep cutting.  Also, you'll need a cutting mat. I use a self-healing mat (like for sewing). Some people say you shouldn't use knives on it, but my mats do just fine.
- Have a pencil drawing on thin paper. Regular printer paper is fine if you're cutting your artwork out of thicker paper, just make sure it's thinner than your artwork. (you can see my cheapo break-away blade here below)

- Using not-too-sticky tape rolls (I use M3 removable tape), tape your template to your paper exactly where you want to cut. Tape it on a part where you won't cut over.

- Cut out the pieces that are fully enclosed first (see picture below).
- Then, work from the OUTSIDE of the paper in. Be sure not to cut (and pull) on a part of the paper cut that is fragile, like a little tiny connecting piece, or it WILL break off.  I've found that working from the outside in is the best way at avoiding this.

- As you work, tear away the template, and remove any cut pieces to make it easy to see.
- Remove the template.  Because I placed my tape only on the outside of my design, when I got to the end, the template wasn't taped down anymore.
Tadaa!  Make a paper cut? I'd love to see it! Email a picture to me!

Also, I've used this basic technique on many of my pieces. Here are just a few:

custom song lyrics artwork- purchase your own here

Boston cityscape, sold-

Family Links-

Mixed media heart, for sale here-

Custom painting (detail), sold

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