Paper Cutout Bookplates

Leafing through a book about the craft of Polish papercutting, which is called wycinanki, I came across some patterns for bookplates. I loved the idea, but was not crazy about the stylized roosters and flowers used in the illustrations, so I went looking for something prettier. In 400 Floral Motifs for Designers, Needleworkers and Craftspeople by Carol Belanger Grafton, I found a big assortment floral motifs, and chose a spray of ivy. By combining the two patterns, I came up with my own custom bookplate.

Watercoloring the image.
After drawing in my rectangles and transferring the ivy design, it was time to watercolor the ivy.
Partially cut image.
The next step was to cut out the image, using a craft knife.
I did the cutting on top of an old catalog. After cutting out the image, iron it so it’s smooth.
I decided to use this bookplate in one of my old gardening books.
To glue, place the cutout facedown on an old catalog. Yes! paste works well for this. Use one hand to hold down the cutout, and the other to spread the glue. Take your time to cover the cutout completely–the glue stays moist for a while, and you can take the time to wash your hands before the next step. Carefully position the glued cutout and press down, smoothly thoroughly.
I also made a daffodil bookplate, pasting it into a book of Longfellow’s poems.
These bookplates are admittedly labor-intensive, but it was a pleasant way to spend a rather grey February afternoon!
Meanwhile, the snowdrops are coming up . . .
and my winter jasmine plant is blooming. Its fragrance is amazing.
The bookplates should be 3-1/4″ x 4″, so you may have to reduce these images on a copier.
Make a tracing using tissue paper, and transfer with carbon paper.
You can transfer the pattern onto copy paper, parchment paper, or any good-quality paper.
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6 thoughts on “Paper Cutout Bookplates

  1. We saw snowdrops fully blooming on Friday in Geneva, Illinois along the Fox River. They were beautiful, but they are here so early it’s a bit unnerving.
    Love the cutout bookplates. Great idea!

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