In this tutorial you'll learn how to make a sweet papercut bauble, perfect for hanging in your window, your favourite plant, or on your wall - baubles are definitely not just for Christmas!
By doing this project you’ll learn how to transfer a design to a piece of paper without leaving any pencil marks on the paper - important when you’re making something that will be seen from both sides.
- Sheet of watercolour paper, roughly 12cm square
- Cutting mat
- Metal ruler
- The downloadable template (printed onto copier paper)
- Extra sheet of copier paper
- Safety pin
- 25cm of 2mm ribbon
- For more information, check out Papercutting Fundamentals: Essential Tools and Techniques
1. Transfer the Design to the Paper
Print out this template at 50 per cent or if you'd like a bigger bauble, print it at a larger size. You'll need a larger sheet of watercolour paper. Click on the image to get the full size template.
Place your watercolour paper on the cutting mat, and place a sheet of copier paper on top. Then place the template on top of the two sheets of paper. The extra sheet of copier paper will ensure that no biro marks make their way through to your watercolour paper.
Use your biro to firmly trace over all the lines on the template. Do this carefully, without moving the paper. It might be helpful to fix the paper in place with a little masking tape.
You need to press hard enough to leave an indentation on the watercolour paper.
2. Cut Out the Bauble
Use this image of the final piece to help guide your cutting, as well as the lines on your watercolour paper.
Start by cutting out the smallest details. These are the insides of the clouds, and the inside of the hanging loop. Leave the bird’s eyes for now.
Work through all the pieces in order of size: after the clouds and hanging loop comes the bird's forehead, the space between its legs, and so on, until you get to the largest pieces. By working through the pieces in order of size you'll find it much easier to cut without tearing your work.
- When cutting into a corner, use the point of your scalpel to cut from the corner point. Start in the point, don't finish your cut there. This makes it much easier to get a neat corner.
- When cutting a curve, turn your paper as you cut instead of your blade.
- Use a metal ruler to help you cut the longer straight lines.
- When you get to the final cuts - or at any time when you feel the cut is vulnerable to tearing - use your finger to support the paper as you cut. By pressing down on the section you're cutting, you reduce the pull on the paper.
- When you're cutting lines which intersect with each other, think carefully before you cut about keeping the flow of the lines. You want your lines to be like the bird's leg on the right, rather than the one on the left.
Once you have cut out all the internal shapes, use your safety pin to create the bird's eyes.
Cut around the outside of your bauble.
Thread your ribbon through the hanging loop.
Hang Your Bauble and Admire
Hang your bauble somewhere for all to admire! Nice job!
In this tutorial you learned how to transfer a design to watercolour paper without leaving pencil marks - a handy skill if you're making a double-sided papercut. You also learned some essential paper cutting skills, such as how to cut around curves and how to navigate sharp corners. You can apply these skills to any papercutting project.
How did you go with this tutorial? Let us know if you have any questions about papercutting in the comments section below.
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