Chinese paper cutting is a traditional art that can be simple or very complex. You can use scissors for the most basic cuts, some of which are made using folded paper as if you were cutting paper snowflakes. More complex patterns can be cut with extra-fine scissors, such as embroidery or nail scissors. The most challenging designs require the use of a craft knife.
Fold a sheet of typing paper or construction paper in half. Place your hand on it, palm down, with the wrist going off the folded edge. Trace around your hand. Use a compass to draw a circle around your hand drawing, just touching the fingertips; let part of the circle go off the folded edge of the paper, so that the wrist seems to come out of the flat edge. Draw a second concentric circle about a half inch farther out from the first. Cut around the outside of the circle, then cut around the hand, leaving the wrist connected at the fold, and the fingertips connected to the circle.
Just Like Making Snowflakes
Fold the top corner of a sheet of typing paper down until the edges match on the opposite side, forming a triangle. Some of the paper will stick out along the bottom. Cut or tear that part off. Fold the paper again, keeping the folded edges together and the cut edges together, then fold one more time. Draw a design on one side of the folded paper. Cut along the lines you have drawn, then unfold to reveal the design.
Coloring Book Paper Cut
Trace or photocopy a favorite picture from a coloring book or book with line drawings. Use a ball point or marker to emphasize the lines you want to cut along. Make sure to keep objects connected to the background by leaving little connector tabs from the object to sky or ground. Use a pair of pointed scissors that can snip into small spaces and a good regular pair of scissors to make the cuts. Place the picture on a contrasting background to make the design stand out.
Complex Cuts for Teens or Parents
Download or purchase a set of traditional Chinese designs or draw your own design. Carefully trace or transfer the design to tissue paper, wrapping paper or foil paper. Tape the paper along the edges with a few tabs of clear tape. Use a craft knife to cut along the cut lines; leave connector tabs to hold the various items together. Place on a contrasting background.
- YouTube; Chinese Paper Cutting Tutorial; Abby Zhu
- "Amazing, Fun, Easy Crafts for Kids"; Chris Chenoweth; 2008
- "Chinese Paper Cutting"; Diane Feng: 1996
- Henry Gan/Photodisc/Getty Images