If it’s paper…


If it’s paper… You can make a papercutting with it!

Pretty simple, huh?

If you thought the tools for the art of paper cutting were pretty basic,
the necessary materials are even easier to find!

You can probably find it right in your desk drawer!


Any kind will work.

Two things to keep in mind:
1. Thickness
2. Purpose

Thickness of the paper you use matters… especially if you do multiple-folded papercuttings, like snowflakes perhaps, because as you fold the paper two, three, or more times, it is harder to cut through it neatly with scissors. Generally, the more folds you want to cut through, the thinner the paper you need.

Thickness goes hand-in-hand with Purpose… Snowflakes that will be pasted onto your window can be made from thinner paper than papercut ornaments that you will hang on your Christmas tree, which would need to be pretty sturdy to keep their shape. If your purpose is to paint on the papercutting or to add calligraphy, you need to choose a paper that will accept those mediums.

So I thought I’d give a list of paper resources below!

Paper Resources:

Copy Paper
24 lb. is a good standby paper…
There are lots of nice business papers available too!

Silhouette Paper
Black on one side, white on the other so you can draw or trace a design.

Graphite Transfer Paper
For tracing designs on Silhouette Paper

Origami Paper
For those who want thin, sturdy paper that will fold and cut easily

Scrapbooking Paper
The design possibilities are endless…
…Available at any good craft or hobby store!

Canson Mi-Tientes Paper
Nice and thick… Will accept watercolors, acrylics, and ink.

Parchment Paper
The best surface for calligraphy!

Chain-Laid Paper
Great Texture for historic papercuttings.
Will also accept paint and ink…
Stains well and looks like an antique piece.

Watercolor Paper
Accepts paint well… Smooth textures also accept ink well.
Get the lightest weight possible.
Watercolor paper does NOT fold well… it cracks!

Handmade Paper
Fun for collage work… Test it out if using paint or ink…
… Often doesn’t have “sizing” and watery medium will bleed.

Construction Paper
Great for kids who want to try out papercutting!

Coffee Filters
Perfect for folding into snowflakes!

But seriously…
…Before you go and buy lots of paper,

just pull some out of your drawer at home and 
try your hand at snipping paper!

Tools of the Trade

Paper cuttings can be created with very simple tools…

The basic tools are scissors, knives, and pins.

Here are my favorites…


My fallback tools a vintage pair of Gingher scissors,
a rubber-coated Gordon craft knife with #11 X-Acto blades,
and an old-fashioned dressmaking pin.

Though sometimes I resort to a fancier hole-making method…


This cool hole punch makes the teensiest holes…
…and they are uniform with no frayed edges!

Scissors are really a matter of preference…


I have quite a collection!
(This just scratches the surface.)
I like to have a variety for people to try
out when teaching papercutting classes.
(Sounds like a good excuse for owning 100 pairs of scissors, huh?)

If you’re looking for a pair of scissors, check out surgical scissors,
nail scissors, embroidery scissors, and craft scissors.
Find a pair that feels good in your hands and that fit your fingers well.

There are several types of craft knives too…


The metal ones are super inexpensive, but a little uncomfortable
if you do lots of knife cutting. I use the knife a LOT,
so the rubber coated handle is a must-have for me.

A cutting mat is also helpful to cushion your table from knife scratches.
Any brand, any size… Just large enough for your finished piece to lay on.


I honestly think papercutting is one of the easiest crafts to gear up for.
You can usually begin with the scissors you have on hand,
and slowly search for the tools that work best for you.
For fun, you can peruse the cutting section of your local craft store…
punches, scissors, craft knives…
Lots of varieties to try out, and usually not too expensive!


A little bit of paper cutting history…

Scherenschnitte, the Pennsylvania German form of papercutting, made its way to America in the late 1600’s. William Penn was an English Quaker that was offered a tract of land in the American colonies as payment for a debt that King Charles owed to Penn’s late father. This land was called “Penn’s Forest,” or Pennsylvania. You might have heard of it! :-D

William Penn had two goals for his colony… The first was to be a safe harbor for those facing religious persecution in Europe. He himself had been jailed several times for his Quaker beliefs. Because of that, Penn offered land to the Amish, Mennonites, Lutherans, and many other Protestant groups. Penn’s second goal was that his colony would be successful, and for that to happen, he would also need skilled laborers, so he invited blacksmiths, papermakers, carpenters, and other tradesmen to come to Pennsylvania. These people not only brought their devout religious beliefs and their trades and skills, but also their customs and folk arts. One of these folk arts was Scherenschnitte.

Paper cuttings were used as decoration… The Pennsylvania German people lined their shelves with pretty paper cut edges, brightened their walls with paper cuts, and they used paper cut stencils to decorate cakes. They cut beautiful Valentines and marriage proposals. Paper cutting was combined with fraktur, a form of German penmanship, to create house blessings, wedding certificates, birth & baptismal records, and rewards of merit for good students. Because of their love for color, they often added color to their paper cuts.



Paper Cutting 101

I realized after I linked up the button for the Write 31 Days project
that “31 Days of Paper Cuts” just might be taken the wrong way.


We’re going to be talking about the ART of paper cutting…
…not those miserable little cuts that come from a piece of paper!


This month, we’re going to be exploring a traditional craft called “Scherenschnitte.” That big word is pronounced “Sharon-shnit” and it literally means “scissor snipping.” It’s a Pennsylvania German folk craft that has its roots in Europe… Mostly Switzerland and Germany. Paper cutting actually has roots in many countries around the world, countries like Israel… China… Poland and Mexico. There are quite a variety of styles and methods, and hopefully we’ll get a chance to take a look at some of them!


So… Going to keep today’s post short, because this post is mostly a launching point for the series. All the 31 Days of Paper Cuts links and buttons will lead you here so you can easily find the post you’re looking for! I hope you enjoy the blog this month!

31 Days of Paper Cuts Intro

Paper Cutting 101 & Index of Posts

A Little Bit of Paper Cutting History

Tools of the Trade

Starting over… 31 Days of Paper Cuts

Did you ever have one of those projects that
you just folded up and stuck in a drawer?

I have a few.

There’s an afghan that my grandmother began and I was determined to finish. And those super cute 1980’s-style cross-stitched Christmas stockings for each member of the family. (They have their own families now.) There are numerous scrapbook albums. and there’s last year’s 31 Days of Reading Aloud project. There are probably quite a few more, but I’m just going to leave it at that.

I’m pretty much all about making a Fresh Start.

So here it is… Starting today…

31 Days of Paper Cuts!


Stop by this month for an occasional look into my studio, a bit of history on the art of paper cutting and the various styles, tips about tools and techniques, new stuff in the shop, and some freebie patterns so you can try your hand at paper cutting! Starting tomorrow, if you click on the 31 Days of Paper Cuts button, it will take you to a list of all the posts!


Day # 14 – Books Without Words!

How do you read a book that has no words?

By looking at the picture, of course!

Children’s book illustrators are experts at telling stories through pictures. Most of the time, picture books for young children are limited to about 1000 words, so obviously many of the details of the story must be “told” in the illustrations. Wordless books (or almost wordless) take the illustrations to a whole new level… they tell the entire story! And, they give children an opportunity to make up the story themselves! They are not just for little folks, either, but can even be appealing to older kids!

A few favorites…

Written by Shutta Crum and illustrated by Patrice Barton

Yes, this (almost) wordless book was “written!” Even though the only word in this book is “Mine,” the author still needed to create a storyline for the illustrator to follow! Mine! is a fun little story about sharing. (Or not.) Toddlers and preschoolers will enjoy seeing what happens when someone yells, “Mine!”

Good Dog, Carl
CarlWritten and illustrated by Alexandra Day

Good Dog, Carl was one of our girls’ favorite books. Nana Mel had this and several other “Carl” books (there are sequels!) in her book bin, and the girls read them over and over and over! In this story, Mama is heading out the door, and says “Look after the baby, Carl. I’ll be back shortly.” And Carl, a big gentle Rottweiler, does exactly that. Baby climbs out of his crib onto Carl’s back, and the adventure begins! Of course, none of us would actually leave our little ones in the care of the family dog, but the story sure is fun!

Written and illustrated by David Weisner

Tuesday, by David Weisner, is another fun almost-wordless book. The story was actually inspired by a magazine cover that Weisner did for Cricket Magazine in 1979… Evidently folks were so intrigued by the illustration of frogs floating on lily pads that David Weisner finally wrote a story to go along with it in 1992! The story begins with “Tuesday evening, around eight,” and takes the reader through the night, only occasionally documenting the time. this fun book will appeal to elementary age kids, who will be old enough to see the subtle humor and the hint at the end of the book as to what happens “Next Tuesday, 7:58 P.M.”

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photo 7


The Arrival
ArrivalWritten and illustrated by Shaun Tan

The Arrival is an incredible wordless book written for ages 12 and up. I can personally attest to the fact that even adults are fascinated by it! Shaun Tan’s sepia-colored pencil drawings are intriguing… Their mixture of fantasy and reality give the reader a hint of what it must feel like to immigrate to a culture completely different from your own. The story progresses from the feelings of leaving everything that is familiar, to the experiences of strange new places, and then finally to reuniting with loved ones. I think it would be a great addition to learning about Ellis Island!

As you can see, wordless books are fun for any age!

Do you have a favorite?

Attempting a Comeback… And Read-Aloud Day #13!


The past few months have been rather eventful.

I think I may have typed that sentence several times before on this blog.

But seriously.

Two new grandbabies.
That makes FIVE total !!!!!

(So far!)

Two weeks in California.

A very busy and very sweet little fella living with us.

Finishing up the downstairs house remodel.
(I almost have a finished studio again!!!)

Definitely qualifies as eventful…
…Awesomely Wonderful Events!!!

I’ve been hoping to pick back up the 31 Days of Reading Aloud
series, and hopefully finish it before next October. Just in case I
decide to try this month-long blogging challenge one more time!



Day 13… Alphabet Books!

One of my favorite types of picture books are those that teach the ABC’s!

Especially those with rhythm and rhyme!
I think I could quote this entire book…
“Big A, Little a. What begins with A?
Aunt Annie’s alligator, A – a – A”

photo 4

A new favorite…
“Skit skat skoodle doot,
Flip flop flee…
…I’ll beat you to the top of the coconut tree!”

photo 6

I also love Alphabet books that are
written around a specific subject…
Like this one that takes little folks on a
journey around Colonial Williamsburg!

photo 5

Next time you’re in a bookstore or at the library,
check out the fun variety of Alphabet books!

Maybe I’ll eventually get this one finished…


Do you have any favorites?


To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people
And the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics
And endure the betrayal of friends;
To appreciate beauty,
To find the best in others;
To leave the world a little better,
Whether by a healthy child,
A garden patch,
Or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier
Because you lived.
This is to have succeeded.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson~

Just bumped into this prose by Emerson.
Though I don’t agree with all of his philosophical ideas,
many of his quotes hit home for me, this one included.
If I could tuck in a line or two of my own, they would be…

To love the Lord with heart, mind, and soul,
And let His light shine out to those around.


Before he had finished speaking…

This morning, I read the story of Abraham sending his servant to find a wife for his son from among his family back in Mesopotamia. The servant had to travel many miles and ask a young woman who didn’t know him to go with him to marry Isaac. An impossible task? When the servant arrived in the city, he said a simple prayer, asking for a definite sign from the girl that he should approach. And “before he had finished speaking,” Rebekah, the granddaughter of Abraham’s brother Nahor, was walking toward him. Pretty neat. The Lord already had her enroute to the well to draw water for the servant and his camels.

We pray.

But God already has the answer.

When we are faced with seemingly impossible situations, we need to remember that God’s grace is sufficient. This devotion helps paint a beautiful word picture of how big our God is… Can you imagine a tiny fish being worried that he might drink up the entire river and then go thirsty? How silly. That’s us, thinking we might somehow use up God’s grace.

But he said to me, “My grace is enough for you,
for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
So then, I will boast most gladly about my weaknesses,
so that the power of Christ may reside in me.
II Corinthians 12:9


It snowed last night…

We live in southern Delaware.

Near the ocean.

And do not get much snow.


Every time a big storm blows in from the west, and the media goes bananas and predicts blizzard-like conditions for the eastern seaboard, we suddenly become “The South” and get nothing but slush and ice. Seriously… my friends and family that live 15 minutes north or west get snow. We get freezing rain. And slush. And ice-covered everything. (Which IS actually pretty!)


When the snow comes from the south…

…And the media ignores it until the last minute…

…THEN we get our snow, and it’s a good one!