Introduction: Fun With Notan

About: I am co owner of a small gift and craft shop. We have been in business since 1988 although I didn't join the business until 1994. I have been teaching rubber stamping and paper crafts since 1990, and love tea…

Notan is Japanese,  meaning the relationship between light and dark.  This is a fun and easy project for all ages.  When I did this project with 6-10 year olds, we kept our shapes simple and able to be cut out with scissors.    If this is your first experience in creating your own Notan piece, I suggest that you  a).  keep the images simple.  b.)  use a light weight paper, and c.)  make sure your craft blade is new.  Have fun and remember; a mistake is just another design opportunity.  

Step 1: Materials

Materials needed:  
Black paper cut into a square  (for this sample a 5 1/2" square was used)
cutting board
craft knife
detail scissors (optional)
1 larger sheet of paper for mounting the art work on.   ( for this sample a 12 x 12 " sheet of paper was used.  This paper size will vary depending upon the size of the cut outs, and the size of the black square. ) 
Tacky Glue   

Step 2: Your Pattern

Begin by drawing patterns on the square, keeping the images on or as close to the edge of the paper as possible.  Keep the images simple to begin with.  Intricate patterns can be time consuming to cut out.  Remember that to create a line (as in the picture of the sun)  a double line needs to be drawn and connected then cut out.

Step 3:

Once the images are drawn, begin to cut out with the craft knife.   If this is your first experience with a craft knife, try not to hold the knife  too tightly.  This can cause hand fatigue.  Make sure that the blade is being pulled with the blade perpendicular to the paper rather than angled. Finally for safety,  avoid holding the paper with your other hand and pulling the knife towards your hand; rather place the stabilizing hand on the side of the knife path.

Step 4: Finishing

Once all of the shapes have been cut out, it is time to begin assembling.  I have found that if the pieces are first placed on the paper in the desired positions, before gluing; that there is less chance of gluing something in the wrong place.  Ok," it's not wrong, just another design opportunity."  Saying that, I did find that I needed to cut another piece from the center of the sun.

 Notice how each piece becomes the mirror image of the negative space.  Images that are placed on the edge of the paper should touch at the edge.  Once dry placement is done to your satisfaction then begin gluing the pieces in place.  Try to avoid glue that is very watery, as this will wrinkle your paper.  Remember that a THIN coat of glue is less likely to ooze out from under your paper, then a liberally applied amount.  Have Fun!!