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Sharpen Your DIY Skills With This Inspiring Paper Project

Papercutting is an art form with a long history, dating back thousands of years to China. Final pieces can be intricate and detailed or simple and graphic, perfect for art with a message. Making a papercut is a meditative process, one that’s easy to work on for a few minutes and come back to later, or sit down and lose yourself in. Create your own, or use our template to make this one (inspired by the famous T-shirt by Otherwild), perfect to hang on your wall as a heartening reminder.

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MATERIALS
- One sheet of black 8 1/2” x 11” paper
- Pencil
- Template (print from BUST.com/downloads)
- Tracing paper
- Masking tape
- Hobby knife (like X-ACTO or Excel)
- Sharp blades

Instructions
1. If you’ve never done a papercut before, do a few practice cuts on a scrap piece of paper. Make sure your blade is nice and sharp.

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2. Choose how large you want your papercut to be. First-timers may want to use the entire 8 1/2” x 11” piece of paper; for a smaller one, you can cut it in half.

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3. Download and print out our template. Then, using a pencil and tracing paper, trace over the template, creating bold thick lines.

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4. Place your tracing paper pencil-side down on the back of your cutting paper (the design will be reversed). Secure with a couple of pieces of masking tape. Transfer the design to your cutting paper by scribbling over the back of the design’s lines.

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5. Remove the tracing paper and touch up any lines that need it, or go over them with white pencil for better visibility. When you complete your papercut, you’ll flip over the paper leaving a clean design with no pencil marks.

(Note: If you want to use your own design, you’ll have to draw it in reverse on the back of your paper. This can get complicated if you’re using words, since you’ll have to write them backwards. If it’s easier for you, lightly sketch the words on the front of the paper first and cut them out, being sure to cut outside the pencil lines. Then flip paper over and draw the rest of the design around them. Just remember that all the lines and boxes must connect; if anything is hanging in space, it will end up being cut away.)

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6. Start cutting! With the template design, you’ll be cutting out the shapes you’ve drawn with your pencil, leaving black geometric lines behind. For the word boxes, cut out the letters; the negative space will stay. Take your time and go slowly until you get the hang of it. Don’t worry about perfection. You’re a human being with a knife in hand, not a laser cutter!

When you have finished cutting, flip your papercut over and admire your work, then frame and hang however you want.

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BY ANNA BRONES

PHOTOGRAPHED BY JOHN LAWTON
PROP STYLIST: MAYA ROSSI

This article originally appeared in the August/September 2017 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!

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