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Paper cutting and its history

Paper cutting is a type of craft aged hundreds of years, but it is still very popular today. The following brief description will generalize somewhat about the development and history of this art.


History of paper

Before the invention of paper, man has recorded the documents which are figures drawn in the caves or carved on clay tablets, and then in next period people used leather, carpentry to store the document. Since the Chinese invented paper in 105, paper began to be widely used in China, and until year 750, new paper production techniques spreaded to Samarkand through Chinese prisoners in a border dispute. Paper was brought to Europe from the 12th century through the cultural exchange between Western Christianity and Eastern Arabs as well as through Spain in Islamic periods.


Paper Cutting Art


With the introduction of paper, paper cutting art has appeared almost the same time. Soon it became very popular in China, especially in the Song Dynasty (960-1279). The first artist is perhaps the members serving in the court; paper cutting has quickly spread and become a folk art, it was used bu Chinese for various reasons such as decoration for homes, lanterns, festivals, etc. The patterns made from paper are also used as decoration for sedan chairs, boxes, chests, and disk). The model for the Chinese paper cutting is mainly taken from Chinese mythology. Tissue paper (a very thin paper) and parchment are often used for this art.



Follow the footsteps of merchants via the Silk Road, Chinese paper cutting art first came to Austria under the gift to the king in the 15th century and later spread throughout Europe. After being “exported” to Europe, it has become a popular traditional culture, especially in Germany, Poland, Netherlands, Switzerland and some other countries. The initial work is often “palm-sized” and include small landscapes and decorative floral motifs; paper cutting pattern at that time is often used to decorate the interior because it is cheaper than the traditional carvings. In 16-17th century, paper cutting art began to spread out and its name is different depending on the country.

In Poland (wycinanki) paper cutting peaked between 1840 and the start of World War I. The colorful works made with sheep shears. Even today Polish paper cutting is still made with raw sheep shears and mainly for home wall decoration. Most works have the shape of a wheel or square, roosters and hens, the fairy tale in which a number of common motifs. Some artists often use colors in their designs using multiple sheets of paper glued to each other.


In German, paper cutting called Scherenschnitte. Scherenschnitte appeared in Germany in the 16th century and today remains a popular art in the German culture. The work is often inspired by the Bible, the poem, the romance story…

Papercutting art in the United States began with German immigrants in Pennsylvania, as well as others who have taken their craft to the US from Europe. Although this at has never attract large number of participants in the past, recently it has been a revival by paper cutting enthusiasts and collectors who are looking for ancient works .The paper cut Papercutters Guild of America (GAP – www.papercutters. org), is an association of the largest paper-cutting artist in USA with hundreds of members around the world. GAP members includes from amateurs to professionals, and from the beginners to the true artists. There are even a number of participants who do not not cut paper, but only engage in the collection to study tradition papercutting. There is no requirement for members. Everyone is encouraged to start with the talent they have, and develop skills and their art as part of a paper cutting community.



Paper cutting in Mexico called Papel Picado, or “perforated paper” and originated in ancient Mexico. The Aztecs used berries and bark to make a rough form of paper, called ‘Amatl.’ In Mexico, during the mid-1800s, people had to purchase goods from “Hacienda” (a type of form as the subsidized sales in Vietnam) and here they begin to access the paper from China. In recent years, tissue paper has become primarily paper used for Papel Picado. Artisans will create 40 to 50 layers of different colors sheet of paper silmutaneously and they use fierritos (looks like the skew for kebab skewers), or opaque. When completed, the work is hanged on the wire to make long banners used for weddings, religious festivals, and other special events. Designs include birds, flowers, and animals. Skeleton is also used to celebrate the “Day of the Dead,” a special celebration in Mexico.


Papercutting art has become part of many different cultures, including Jews. Traditional paper cutting of the Jews has been used for people to decorate ketubahs (contract prenuptial agreement. It is considered part of traditional Jewish marriage, Ketubahs outlines the rights and the groom’s responsibility, in relation to the bride) and holidays (Shabbat Mitzvah, and Passover, etc.); and is hanged appreciatedly as works of art in the homes of the Jews.



silhouette is the image of a person, animal, object or scene represented as a solid shape of a single colour, usually black, its edges matching the outline of the subject. It is a form of paper cutting. The first silhouette in Germany has been made about 1631. For the first time, the shadow of your loved ones have been preserved. It reflects the desire to capture portraits of people using a simple paper cut.


A silhouette portrait can be painted or drawn. However, traditional methods of creating portrait silhouette is cut from black cardboard light, and mount them on a light background (usually white). A portrait artist will cut the traditional silhouette portrait of a person within minutes.


Japan is one of the countries influenced by Chinese paper cutting art. But the Japanese have developed it into one of the national unique art and culture. The term of kirigami is commonly used for this art. In the Japanese, “kiri” means “cut” and “gami” means “paper. Typically, a kirigami work is started by folding into several parts, the artis would then unfold the paper after bearing the image of a snowflake, symmetric polygons, or the flowers… (the common is that they are symmetric through the center). Such works are called Mon-kiri.



Mon-kiri, differ from the rest of Kirigami is Kirie, Kirie (切 り 絵) is an expression of an image to be cut with scissors or a knife in a black paper. Once completed they will attach the cutout on a white background to create a contrast, which gives the impression to viewers like a real painting. Kirie originally used in Catholic ceremonies in Japan. Today, Hina Aoyamal is the most famous artists of this art. She has published many books guiding Kirie, if you are interested can find purchase on


KIRIGAMI – Easy or Not ????? Level of players

What is kirigami?

Firstly, at the very beginning, let us show you some basic concepts of kirigami.

The term of “Kirigami” originally used in paper-cutting art of Japan (of which the main producing process is folding paper into sections, then trimming to create symmetrical cut paper pattern over 1 center). On 10/12/2010, the fanpage and club of 3D pop up card and paper cutting in VN was established on FB, using the term in refer to all type of paper cutting (perhaps because it is compact, rhyme and easy to read: D). Therefore, term of kirigami is commonly used at present, does not refer to paper cut art comes from Japan only. Because in fact, very few players in Vietnam followed trdiational Japanese style of kirigami (even Kirie – Japanese paper cutting painting, seems not very popular.)


In general, paper cutting art is basically divided into:

          -Bearly paper cutting: or ZERO degree kirigami. There are several sub categories in this type as silhouette, stencil, china paper cutting… This type is considered cornerstone for the latter development into other types.

          -Pop-up cards: 3D cards that can be folded into flat surface. There are several methods to creat 3D cards that can be opend in range from 0 to 360 degree. The content in such cards is ussuallly very abundant, basically devided into smaller groups:

               + Outline cutting: It is popular with cards designed by using triangle method combining slice form or multi layer. Glue is usually used to connect parts of card.

               + Pop up kiri (all motifs are created by cutting, color printing is limited or nod used). It’s common with slice form and multi layer, triangle style is relatively rare. Glue is not used. Latches or interlock links are usually used in such types.

               +OA (origami architechture) is presenting architecture on paper, often used sliceform (180 degree) or multilayer (90 degree). It is considered a typical group in pop up kiri.

So how to conclude? Is kirigami easy or not?

It’s hard to find out a general anwer for this question. There are many players said it’s easy, but no less than than say it’s too difficult, it depends on your own. Thus, this post is mainly to discuss the level of kirigami players, hope that it can be a reference to help you evaluafe your skill yourself. This ranking is for all categories that I presented before, because writer couldn’t have sound knowledge in all of them.

Level 1: Players that can cut based on available patterns.

In kirigami, the card are usually cut out and finished by the author, then there will be 1 cutting template (pattern) provided to people based on that; they then cut the lines on the paper to complete (0 degrees), or then fold to complete based on a sample of finished products (pop-up). It’s pretty easy for you to reach this level, because anyone can cut the lines on paper. Workmanship is classified based on the cutting speed and sharpness of line cutting, ability to folding 90 degree cards, OA, or attach precisely 180 degree pieces sliceform. Proficiency in this level, you have a clear understanding kirigami then. And it also decided your passion to kirigami, you’ll probably give up because it’s too boring, easily, because all you need is simply downloading pattern, printing on paper, then cutting and finishing, (nothing can be easier, right?). But there are also players who learn deeper in this subject, and move on to Level 2.


Level 2 refers to people who can redraw other’s work.

First of all, write would confirm that, redrawing a pattern is not a challenge, it does not require a professional drawing skill, or skillfulness. The only requirement is that the understanding of basic principle of kirigami, to explore the method used by the author, then finish the pattern is too simple. And to understand the principles, avoiding errors in the rendering process, they should have experience in cuttingand proficiency in cutting ability. Once player have mastered this level, usually forwarded to the next level, few people stop at this level without progress further.


Level 3 includes those modifying pattern of others into their style.

Based on available ideas and methods from their predecessors, players can change according to their own ideas. It requires greater creativity than just redrawing of others. With this level, players partly reflect their own self through work, and can also help distinguish themselves between many other kirigami fans.


Level 4: Realize your own ideas.

After redrawing the pattern of other authors, having ability to modify according to their own pattern, then gradually, players can also express their own ideas based on past experience. At this level, the individual mark is expressed most clearly, because it contains the whole idea as your understanding of kirigami, the auxiliary talents like drawing, matching, logic … to achieve this level, then you have one fairly broad understanding of kirigami, for each category, the simple, the complexity of each method, and choose the method and style appropriate for the charcoal. Once mastered it, you can flatten almost the whole world in your way, can produce your own style, his own image in the community kirigami. Among those who express their own ideas through works in kirigami, there is obviously some people that still keep the style  of the author before who they go under, and sometimes difficult to escape from that style, like a trail. But surely, there will be no doubt about love and passion for kirigami of those players 🙂


Level 5: Realize the idea of ​​other people

You may be wondering, why level 4 is not the highest level, which is the highest level. In my point of view, then at level 4, every work is customized to author’s style, thus no matter it’s beautiful or not, it’s still achievement of author. But at this level, on the other, to express the idea of ​​other people, other people’s mark is what left on the paper, combining author’s style and other’s idea into the design is not an easy task, especially when the idea was to not have a deep understanding of this subject. More importantly, when the work is created, others will be given, give damn it, the designer will have to accept this, like it or not. So surely it is harder in comparison with developing author’s own idea.

WAY TO SUCCESS – Pop up card pattern



“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”

Do you take any risks in your life? Do you set your goals high, and then work hard to reach them? If not, how much progress can you be making? Of course, there is always a slight chance that you might fail, but you will have learned invaluable lessons along the way. So don’t be scared to have high expectations for yourself. If you have reached one goal, set another one, one that might be even more of a challenge. For example, maybe you want to run a marathon, but are too scared to make this your goal. You are allowed to start small. Start by just running a local 5k, and then a 10k. Smaller victories along your path will lead to greater ones.

We attach here a new pattern from author Tien Phuong. Hope that you will always keep your passion and strong desire to achieve success in the future.

The patterned is designed and drafted by Sketchup software



For more tutorials, videos or patterns, please follow and check out website at
Our website supply information about the cutting art, wood or paper cutting, free patterns or tutorials for DIY wood/paper cutting. Besides, you can find some articals for design with graphic software (as Coreldraw, photoshop, sketchup, blender….)
AOC Craft


Which paper should be used in pop-up cards making?

I, Some concepts about paper in general


Paper is a thin material produced by pressing together moist fibers, typically cellulose pulp derived from wood, rags or grasses, and drying them into flexible sheets. It is a very versatile material with many uses; whilst the most common one is for writing and printing upon, it is also widely used as a packaging material; in many cleaning products; in a number of industrial and construction processes, and even as a food ingredient – particularly in Asian cultures.

It and the pulp papermaking process is said to have been developed in China during the early 2nd century AD, possibly as early as the year 105 A.D., by the Han court eunuch Cai Lun, although the earliest archaeological fragments of paper derive from the 2nd century BC in China. The modern pulp and paper industry is global, with China leading its production and the United States right behind it.

Besides category by purpose; basically, paper is classified by name and weight:

Name: there are several kinds of common paper and specific paper which will be shown latter in this thread.

Weight: Is the weight of paper calculated by gram per square meter (g/m2). In Europe, and other regions using the ISO 216 paper sizing system, the weight is expressed in grams per square meter (g/m2 or usually just g) of the paper. In the United States, the weight assigned to a paper is the weight of a ream, 500 sheets, of varying “basic sizes”, before the paper is cut into the size it is sold to end customers.

Paper weight is usually variant from 80-300 gram depends on types of paper. Printing paper is generally between 60 g and 120 g. Anything heavier than 160 g is considered cards. The weight of a ream therefore depends on the dimensions of the paper and its thickness.

Normal paper used in photocopying or printing is usually 70-80 gsm.

The thickness of paper is often measured by caliper, which is typically given in thousandths of an inch in the United States and in thousandths of a mm in the rest of the world. Paper may be between 0.07 millimeters (0.0028 in) and 0.18 millimeters (0.0071 in) thick.

All size in the Series A, B and C are rectangle shape with the ratio of 2 sides is the square root of 2, approximately 1.414. The area of A0 paper is 1m².

– The 2 sides of A0 are therefore determined as 841 × 1189mm

– The size of the blocks are in the order determined backward, smaller size has an area equal to 50% of previous size (divided by cutting along the line parallel to the short side).


II, Some common types/brand of paper (typically for pop-up cards making):

Various in weight and texture, paper is divided into several types, suitable for different kinds of pop-up cards:

1, Plain and thin paper (60-90gsm): Ford paper


This type is very popular and mainly used to print the template/ pattern, or only to draw. However, pop-up cards with many details can use this one to make the process easier.

2, Plain but thicker (120-180gsm or heavier):

A, This type can be found easily in any stationery shop anywhere. Typically Kishu paper is most common with a huge range of vivid color and weight. Kishu paper can be bought in Korea or Japan. Due to the variety, this one is useful in almost types of pop up cards


B, Canson also has plain paper products. This type is thicker and can keep the form very well. Thus this is usually used in cards making, no matter the price is a bit expensive. The surface of Canson is also suitable for drawing, sketching, therefore many artists choose this brand. Canson paper sometimes has veins which makes pop-up products look more luxury.


3, Texture paper

A, Conqueror Paper, of which origin in London, England, is another popular brand. Characterized by veins along the paper, this type is good at form-keeping. Being thicker and having deeper color, it’s best fit the cover of a cards. Whilst, some light colors of this brand like cream color is a good choice when cardss made by white paper is becoming uninteresting. However, sometimes vein is the problem due to the fact that they makes your cut not precise.


B, Thai Basil paper is also a special paper with vein along but thicker and heavier. The color is limited and mostly deep but when you need a thick paper to keep the form in 90 degree cards, it is still a good choice.  


90 degrees pop up cards for share

pop up cards

Hi everyone, This is an origamic architecture 90 degrees pop up cards, quick modeling in sketchup. We share you its pattern

90-degrees pop-up-cards-for-share

Pattern full size download here

90-degrees pop-up-cards-for-share-2

How to design this model, please watch this video. Software: Sketchup + Unfold plugin Real time: 46 minutes

For more tutorials, videos or patterns, please follow and check out website. Our website supply information about the cutting art, wood or paper cutting, free patterns or tutorials for DIY wood/paper cutting. Besides, you can find some articals for design with graphic software (as Coreldraw, photoshop, sketchup, blender….)