Layered Paper Art




Introduction: Layered Paper Art

I've always loved art and geometry. After experimenting with other materials, I was interested in how I could use paper to further explore shape, form, and sculpture.

This piece is rather simple in concept. Cut a triangle from a square piece of card stock. Do it over and over again, offsetting the triangle ever so slightly each time. Stack the paper to reveal a 3 dimensional effect.

Step 1: Tools & Materials

  • 200 sheets of 8.5" x 11" card stock
  • Glue stick
  • Craft knife
  • Cutting mat
  • Ruler
  • Pencil(s)
  • Eraser(s)
  • Printer


This project will require between 150 and 200 sheets of card stock. A sharp knife, metal ruler, and mechanical pencils will improve precision.

Step 2: Make Template

This project largely consists of repeated measuring and cutting. Diagramming software like Omnigraffle is helpful to plan these measurements and create a template.

The template indicates a triangle with 5.5 inch sides within an 8.5 inch square.

Each sheet of paper below the first will be offset by 0.0625 inches. The template includes 3 printed rulers with tick marks separated by this amount. These rulers will assist in marking each layer for cutting.

Download the attached zip file. It includes a PDF of the template and the Omnigraffle source file.

Step 3: Print and Cut Template

Print at least 2 templates. You may need to experiment with your printer settings to ensure the template prints as close to the paper edge as possible.

Glue each template on separate card stock. This will give it some sturdiness to survive repeated use.

Cut template shape #1, #2, and #3. These shapes are highlighted in pink above and will help you quickly mark the necessary cuts.

Step 4: Cut Card Stock Into a Square

Measure an 8.5 inch square on one sheet of card stock. Use your ruler and pencil to measure 3 inches down from the top of the card stock and mark a horizontal line.

Use your ruler, craft knife, and cutting mat to follow the pencil line and cut the card stock into a square.

Step 5: Draw a Triangle

Align template shape #1 to the bottom of the square card stock. At the farthest right tick mark, make a light pencil mark. The pencil mark should follow the slanted edge as well as extend the tick mark up. It should resemble a rotated "T."

Align template shape #2 to the top left of the square card stock. At the farthest right tick mark, extend the tick mark down with your pencil.

Connect the pencil marks with your ruler to draw the right side of the triangle.

Align template shape #3 along the line just drawn. Position it so that the printed ruler on the template extends the "T" mark made previously. Make marks along the remaining two sides of the triangle.

Connect the pencil marks to complete drawing the triangle.

Step 6: Cut Triangle

Carefully cut the drawn triangle with the craft knife, ruler, and cutting mat. Erase any visible pencil marks.

Step 7: Make Next Layers

Repeat steps 4 through 6. In step 5, instead of using the farthest right tick mark to position the triangle, use the tick mark second to the right. For each subsequent layer continue progressing to the next tick mark. Consider lightly numbering the layers and marking the template shapes as you go to remember which layers you've made.

Continue to the next step once the triangle moves to a position off the square. This will occur after about 120 layers of card stock have been prepared.

Step 8: Glue Layers

Prepare the piece for framing by gluing the cut layers of card stock together. Position the layers to maintain a uniform 0.0625 inch separation along the right edge of each triangle. Unevenness along the outside of the piece may be hidden by framing.

Step 9: Frame

Frame the piece. Ensure the frame covers any uneven edges along the outside. Consider using museum quality glass to reduce glare.

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