Easy Springtime Papercuts

image-5-page-001Now that spring is here, craft-wise I look for something easy to pick up and put down as I spend more time out in the garden. So knitting needles and wool are set aside, and a half-finished quilt is folded up and stashed away. Somehow right now, paper cutting calls to me and in an old collector’s edition of McCall’s Needlework & Crafts, I found a group of charming scherenschnitte patterns, one for each season. Scherenschnitte means “scissor cuts” in German. The patterns are often symmetrical designs of hearts, birds and flowers. I traced two of the patterns, transferred them onto some old writing paper, and cut them out with a small pair of scissors. The main skill needed for this craft is patience, but cutting out a design is quite relaxing, and it’s fun to see the cutout emerge.

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Here is more of a closeup of the finished paper cuts:

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You will find the patterns at the end of this post. If you highlight the pattern and print to fill an 8-1/2 x 11″ sheet of paper, the resultant cutouts will be about 5 x 5″ in size, and that’s what I show here. You can also enlarge the patterns.

IMG_8235To make the cutouts you will need some white paper (you can use copy paper, though I used some old Penworthy Real Irish Linen Finish writing paper, which has a slightly textured surface), tracing paper, carbon paper, a sharp pencil, a small, sharp pair of scissors, and an Exacto knife. The scissors don’t need to be a special pair–they can be a pair of manicure scissors or any small pair, as long as they are sharp.

Using the tissue paper, trace the design. Fold your white paper in half, and place a large square of carbon paper on top, flush with the fold. Place your tissue paper pattern over this, also lined up with the fold. Use a sharp pencil to transfer the design.

Begin by using the Exacto knife to cut out any interior shapes. Then use your small scissors to cut out the pattern. I start cutting from the periphery of the pattern towards the center, so that it remains easy to cut for as long as possible. Towards the end, the cutting will be a bit fragile, but you can do it!

Cutout interior shapes first, using an Exacto knife.
Cutout interior shapes first, using an Exacto knife.

Scherenschnitte serves no earthly purpose that I can think of–they are just pretty, and I will be framing mine. I have several more scherenschnitte posts, if you are interested: The World of Papercutting (Feb. 8, 2012), and Paper Lace Shelf Edgings (Feb, 10, 2012).

Pattern:

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Meanwhile, the rhubarb is coming up . . .

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and, as usual, the robin is Monarch of all He Surveys, from his perch on the garage roof. Namaste. Fran

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