Papercut how-to. From a beginner.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

And when I say beginner, I mean I've never done this before.

I’ve been seeing beautiful papercuts all over the internet and wanted to try my hand at making my own. I’m drawn to this technique because of the strong contrast of the finished piece. The lines are there and the background isn’t. There is no gray area, no inbetween space, just like the designs that I create for my screen prints. Here is my process, I hope it inspires you to try one on your own! 

All I needed for this project was a piece of tracing paper, a piece of black card stock, an xacto knife with a fresh blade, a little bit of tape, a drawing or sketch to base my papercut on, and a cutting mat to protect my work surface. I started with one of my retro house designs (fabric print to show up soon in my new Etsy shop: vitamodern). I chose this design because it was mostly made up of straight lines (easier to cut!). I drew it out on the trace at about 10” wide with a fat felt-tip pen. I would be cutting out and removing the white space, so I made sure to keep the black lines on the thicker side to help prevent small accidental cuts. 

I also made sure that the black lines connected to other black lines in multiple areas to keep the papercut sturdy. I didn’t want a key piece of the design dangling by a thread so to speak! Once I was done with the sketch, I taped it to the card stock and started cutting! At this point, I was really only tracing the design onto the cardstock with the knife. Most of the cuts didn’t go all the way through the paper. 

After the design was completely transferred, I removed the trace, and got to really cutting out the areas. This took lots of time and patience. I took a few breaks to let my fingers rest. 

Be careful not to cut through small areas. The curved lines were a little tougher to cut – I just took my time with those and cut them in sections. 

Here’s my completed papercut! It’s a retro house with a landscaped breezeway and a detached garage. There are a couple of clouds, trees and shrubs included, too. The shrubs and trees were my favorite part to cut out, but I’m a landscape architect, so that probably isn’t surprising. 

There are areas that could use a little refining and I think I’ll add headlights to the car, but other than that it’s complete. I’m thinking of creating a screen from this papercut and printing the design on tea towels for my vitamodern shop. Maybe I’ll create a tutorial for that process as well!

Overall this was a fun project and I’m already thinking about the next design I want to cut into paper.



Sunday, July 24, 2011

Check out these lovely Etsy finds in cool shades of citrus.

I have all of these lovely items saved in a treasury. Take a look! 


Vintage Etsy Finds.

Monday, July 18, 2011

I just stumbled across these bowls and plates on etsy. How great are these?

Vintage Peruvian plates and bowls with a llama pattern! People are always interested to learn that my family has llamas. Everyone always asks what you "do" with them. Well, if you're not hiking the hills and letting them carry your packs for you, or using their wool to spin yarn, they make really good mowers and can keep your rural hillside from becoming a jungle. Just don't look them in the eye or they will spit at you.

Plates available here, bowls here.


Summer camp and The Parent Trap.

Friday, July 15, 2011

I spent about a week every summer of my youth since about age 7 at Camp Loma in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Getting dirty, making new friends, playing tricks, and making crafts were some of my favorite things about going to camp. Our camp was usually only a few short days long. I so wished to go to one of those all-summer camps with lakes and boats and cabins. I imagined it would be just like the 1961 movie The Parent Trap.

I seriously love everything about this movie. And the dance always seemed like so much fun. I loved those pretty dresses. Oh, and the ginormous cakes!

The cake disaster is one of the best segments of the movie. And what about that incredible house set in the Carmel Valley (in my hometown area of the central Californian coast)?!

When can I move in?! If you like what you see, take a look at this column from DesignSponge that choses products inspired by the movie. Check out this article about the making of this Disney classic and about the special effects they used to make two Hayley Mills! And, of course, you can buy the dvd on Amazon. Just don't get it confused with the 2005 version...

And now I've got the "Let's get together, yeah, yeah, yeah" song stuck in my head.


Brand new.

Monday, July 11, 2011

I just posted these brand new Mini Caravan sachets in my shop!

I've had the fabric already printed for months now, but never got around to finishing them up until last week. It was so satisfying to finally get these made. And they smell so good! They are available in my etsy shop. I have them in British Racing Green, too!



Friday, July 8, 2011

This fuzzy little fellow, the Isabella moth, is my July calendar guy:

I was so happy to flip the page from the "Scorpion Fly" from June (a terrible looking creature that looks just like it sounds - a scorpion with wings!) to this cute little guy. Doesn't he look like a tiny little buffalo?! The calendar photography is from David Fitzsimmons.

Speaking of wildlife, I can't stop looking at this beautiful photo of a tree swallow from wildlovephotography:

What a little beauty this guy is! I spotted this photo and immediately thought of Charley Harper. It reminds me of his chickadee prints with the birds with the little black masks on their faces. Take a look at the wild love website for lots more beautiful bird photos.

I don't know about you, but I'm thrilled that it's the weekend. I'm looking forward to working in the garden and getting some screen printing projects done. I'm STILL organizing my new workroom - maybe I'll make some headway there, too. Happy weekend, everyone! I hope you get lots done, or nothing at all!



Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July! I've been enjoying the long weekend with a few margaritas, some bbq, and a trip to the beach.

It's so hot here, I could use a dip in the water.

I hope your day is full of fun, sun, and red white and blue! 

*Images from one of my favorite websites, Plan59. They have a wonderful collection of retro advertisements, photos, and illustrations.

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