19: Paper Cutting

19: Paper Cutting

Perhaps the simplest paper cuts are paper snowflakes. How About Orange is a blog featuring some a cool DIY selection. By the way, I woke up this morning to fresh snowfall here in Colorado.

DIY Paper Snowflakes by How About Orange

Snowflake pattern and result, by How About Orange

There are paper cutting traditions in many countries. Mexico is famous for Papel Picado, which are cut from tissue paper and are commonly displayed for both secular and religious occasions, such as Easter, Christmas, the Day of the Dead, as well as during weddings, quinceañeras, baptisms, and christenings.

by BY: LOS CACAHUATES, at The Museum of International Folk Art

China was the first culture to make papercuts, which were sometimes used to decorate doors and windows. They were also used as patterns for embroidery and lacquer work.

Chinese Paper Cut Snake, Symbol of the Year 2013

Each country has a distinctive style of paper cutting. Here’s an example of a multi-colored polish paper cut.

There are some amazing artists doing contemporary paper cuts. I tried to find at least one artist to represent each paper technique for my book, Playing With Paper, and I chose Béatrice Coron for paper cutting. She lives and works in NYC and is so prolific that I think she must have an exacto knife instead of a forefinger and thumb. In addition to making paper cuts as illustrations, artwork and artists’ books, she has done many public commissions in which her paper cuts have been fabricated in other materials, such as metal.

Béatrice Coron, The Melody, 2011, metal fences & gym mats, 853 Macy Place, The Bronx

Béatrice also has several products available in her on-line shop as well as an amazing resource page for papercutting.
She also presented for this TED talk where she walked onto the stage in a breathtaking paper cape.

I got to know another paper artist named Gin Flynn when I lived in Portland. She took a papermaking workshop from me way back when I first moved there, and I’ve been following her work ever since.

Virginia Flynn, Witness

The text for Gin’s piece Witness was taken from a poem by Michael Wynn, which appeared in the Oregonian newspaper a few years ago. Gin was deeply moved by the message and inspired to illustrate it. Since then she has collaborated with the poet on another project.
Do you have a unique way of cutting paper, or have you seen one? If so, please share it with me by emailing or leaving me a comment below. P.S. I love pictures!
About the 25 Days of Paper: I’m going to be a crazy blogger in December, featuring cool paper products, projects, blogs, books, or papers each day. Join in the fun by reading along! I’ll also post links on my FaceBook page. Enjoy the season!


  1. Linda K. Fendley says:

    I love papercuts. I have been looking at Hans Christian Andersen papercuts on line. There are so many wonderful papercuts. Thanks for sharing these!

  2. Kyle Olmon says:

    Great post Helen. I love Beatice’s work and can’t wait to see what else you uncover this month. Cheers!

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