Explore the simplicity and elegance of one of our most useful resources - PAPER! This instructable will teach you how to create your own, handmade, 3-D, spinning, papercut ornament!
Step 1: Gather Supplies
First off, make sure you have everything you will need. The great thing about this project is that it is extremely inexpensive!
2 sheets of cardstock or any heavy paper
Computer paper or any plain, white paper (lightweight)
Self-healing mat (can be found at arts & craft stores, also quilt stores)
Thread or Fishing Line
Step 2: Creat Your Design
One of the main goals of papercutting is to create a picture from a single piece of paper by cutting sections away. So when coming up with a design it is important to keep in mind that the images need to connect in some way if they are going to remain stable and together. You can use one of the patterns that I have attached or design one of your own.
When I begin my design, I like to start with a symmetrical shape. Lately I've been using the computer to get my initial shape, that way I know that it will be a perfect match once it's folded. But it is not necessary to do this. Here are some shapes that I have used, you can print them and draw your own design inside the shapes.
(These shapes all fit onto an 8 1/2 X 11 piece of paper - so each image is roughly 4 X 5 1/2in. - but feel free to increase the size to decrease difficulty or visa versa)
Step 3: Attach Design to Paper
Once you have your pattern or design ready, you will attach it to the 2 sheets of paper that you will be cutting (the cardstock or heavy paper).
1. Cut the cardstock so it's slightly larger than your design.
2. Fold your design in half and then fold both sheets of cardstock in half (if you are using one of my patterns or shapes, you will see a line down the middle to help you with folding).
3. Lay your folded design on top of the folded cardstock.
4. Make sure your folds are lined up at both ends and then staple around the design. You will then flatten the paper back out.
Step 4: Cut Out Design
Once your design is stapled to the paper, you can begin cutting.
Lay the paper on top of a self-healing mat and hold your X-acto knife like you would a pen or pencil. You are basically going to be cutting away the pieces that are not a part of the design. For instance, with the patterns that I designed, I darkened the areas that will stay so you can just cut away the white parts. It is also helpful to begin towards the middle of the design and work your way out. I tend to cut smaller areas first and then work up to the larger parts. This just helps to keep the whole thing stable while cutting.
Overall, this cutting can be a little tricky (especially with cutting through two layers of cardstock). If you find it difficult, you can separate the two layers and do one at a time.
Just remember to keep cutting. If your cut does not go all the way through the paper, DO NOT rip the section out, just continue to go over it until the knife goes all the way through.
The last thing you will do is cut the outside of the design.
Step 5: Gluing
You now should have two separate pieces of paper with the same design.
1. First you will refold the creases you made prior to cutting.
2. Then take a VERY small dab of Elmer's glue and lightly spread it out along the fold of one of the pieces.
3. Line up the two pieces of paper along their folds and squeeze them together so the glue holds them together.
4. Let dry (~ 5 mins.)
Step 6: Make Hole for Hanging
Once the glue is dry, take the needle and push it through the top to make a hole for the string.
You want to make sure that you put it through both layers of paper (not between them where the glue is). And also make sure that it is on the fold - this will ensure that it will have a nice spin.
Step 7: Add String
Thread some string through the hole, tie a knot at the bottom and top and then you're done!
You'll also want to squeeze the middle so all the sections are evenly spaced. Here are some pictures at different angles to show you.
I like to use sewing thread to hang the ornament, but fishing line or beading string works well too. I decided to coordinate the colors with these ornaments so the string and paper were the same color.
Step 8: Random Tid-bits
Papercutting is a delicate art form that has been around for over a 1000 years. It can be done by using very sharp scissors or with a sharp knife. I prefer using a knife because I feel I have more control, but it ultimately comes down to personal preference.
If this instructable is of any interest to you, you can learn a lot more about paperctting on the web. I also highly recommend checking out the Guild of American Papercutters and if you like what you see - join the guild! Papercutting is somewhat of a lost art form but is making a comeback. The possibilities are endless with what can be created and the more you experiment, the more you can see how enjoyable it is.
If you have ANY questions about this instructable or the art of papercutting, please feel free to contact me. I am extremely passionate about papercutting and truly love sharing its beauty with everyone.
(I've added some images of papercuttings I've done in the past)