41 weeks and 2 days | How to make a papercut picture

I have mentioned in a previous post that, when I first joined Twitter, I didn’t really understand what it was all about. Following the exploits of various, vacuous celebs isn’t really of much interest to me (which is what I thought it was for).

Initially, I didn’t realise what a fabulous resource — or what an amazing community — Twitter is.

Since joining I have met lots of lovely, like-minded, people. Lots of other mamas whose tweets and blogs are a huge inspiration, plus various other bods who all have lots of interesting or amusing things to say.

There are fantastic industry people tweeting about ‘women in business’ — useful as I have been running my own company for the last 5 years — and some amazingly kind folk who have been so generous with their time, and really helped me to better understand — and cope with — a child with a serious allergy; which was a godsend when we found out about Bertie’s intolerance to eggs.

All of these things, plus a handful of celebs thrown in (Kirstie Allsopp, Caitlin Moran, Jo Whiley to name a few…) for good measure, makes Twitter a very fun place to be.

But one of my absolute favourite things — and something that I still find amazing that it even exists — is an Twitter Craft Blog Club. I never ‘officially’ joined — I just sort of fell into it — but I am most definitely a virtual card carrying member and I absolutely LOVE it.

It’s pretty hard sometimes often for me to join in with the weekly chats, as it always falls on the babies bedtime or our suppertime, but it’s lovely to feel part of a community and fabulous that you are sharing thoughts and ideas with like-minded people.

When the founding member asked us if we’d like to do a craft-stylee ‘Secret Santa’, I jumped at the chance.

I didn’t think it through properly, before sticking my virtual hand up though. These days 99% of my time is spent looking after my two tiny boys, so agreeing to ‘make’ a gift for someone I’ve never met wasn’t one of my cleverest ideas — from a time management perspective — but hey!

It is one of the most fulfilling things that I’ve done this year, that doesn’t involve my babies or husband. An hour out of every day, for a week or so, where I could switch off and enjoy being a little bit ‘crafty’! Absolute heaven. I had almost forgotten how much I enjoyed it.

As my career is a creative one, I’m never short of inspiration, but I rarely create anything by hand these days; pretty much everything I produce is designed on my mac and then printed. It’s rare for me to use my hands anymore – although I’ve always loved to make stuff, given half the chance.

One of the most exciting things was attempting a new craft. I decided I wanted to try something totally different and, having been inspired by something a friend had bought from Not On The High Street, I decided that I was going to make a paper-cut picture.

So after a little bit of head-scratching — and a few hours of graft (not to mention quite a sore index finger!) — this is how to make a papercut picture.

how to make a papercut picture — I created a design on the computer, flipped it, then printed it out...

1. I created a design on the computer, flipped it, then printed it out…

how to make a papercut picture — 2. Taped the image onto another piece of paper and, with a very sharp scalpel, started cutting out the design.

2. Taped the image onto another piece of paper and, with a very sharp scalpel, started cutting out the design.

how to make a papercut picture — 3. And I cut...

3. And I cut…

how to make a papercut picture — 4. ...and cut...

4. …and cut…

how to make a papercut picture — 5. ...and cut.

5. …and cut.

how to make a papercut picture — 6. Until, eventually, the picture started to emerge.

6. Until, eventually, the picture started to emerge.

how to make a papercut picture — 7. This definitely gave me the boost I needed to carry on!

7. This definitely gave me the boost I needed to carry on!

how to make a papercut picture — 8. I got a pretty sore index finger from pressing down on my scalpel, but it was soon forgotten as I saw that little pile of paper cut-outs beginning to stack up!

8. I got a pretty sore index finger from pressing down on my scalpel, but it was soon forgotten as I saw that little pile of paper cut-outs beginning to stack up!

how to make a papercut picture — 9. And I had to change the blade a fair few times, to get the cleanest cut. I definitely would not recommend this craft if you don't have a steady hand!

9. And I had to change the blade a fair few times, to get the cleanest cut. I definitely would not recommend this craft if you don’t have a steady hand!

how to make a papercut picture — 10. Seeing the image emerge was fantastic!

10. Seeing the image emerge was fantastic!

how to make a papercut picture — 11. Not too much more to do...

11. Not too much more to do…

how to make a papercut picture — 12. ...until it was time to cut away my original printout.

12. …until it was time to cut away my original printout.

how to make a papercut picture — 13. And I was left with my final design, face down on the cutting mat.

13. And I was left with my final design, face down on the cutting mat.

how to make a papercut picture — 14. I loved the way that the shadows gave a cheeky glimpse of the finished design!

14. I loved the way that the shadows gave a cheeky glimpse of the finished design!

how to make a papercut picture — 15. Ta-daaaa! That, my friends, is how to make a papercut picture!

15. Ta-daaaa! That, my friends, is how to make a papercut picture!

how to make a papercut picture — 16. Next, I laid my finished paper-cut onto a piece of dry, adhesive covered paper.

16. Next, I laid my finished paper-cut onto a piece of dry, adhesive covered paper.

how to make a papercut picture — 17. And put a piece of paper over the top to protect my work.

17. And put a piece of paper over the top to protect my work.

how to make a papercut picture — 18. Then very gently rubbed over the design, to make sure the adhesive covered the back of the paper-cut.

18. Then very gently rubbed over the design, to make sure the adhesive covered the back of the paper-cut.

how to make a papercut picture — 19. Then carefully stuck it onto a piece of midnight blue card.

19. Then carefully stuck it onto a piece of midnight blue card.

how to make a papercut picture — 20. Et Voila.

20. Et Voila.

My very first attempt at making a paper-cut picture! Perhaps I should have designed a less complicated one for my first go, but all in all I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out!

It’s inspired me to design some more and perhaps even begin selling them on my website.

So, from a hurried acceptance to join a virtual Craft Blog Club on Twitter, making this Secret Santa present has been a gift in itself! It has given me the impetus to learn a new craft and — it’s one I’ve enjoyed so much — I am inspired to continue (and will look into doing it commercially). Designing stuff is in my blood — I’ve made a career out of it — so a new medium to discover is really exciting!

Finally, I mounted my paper-cut again onto an off-white piece of card, ready for framing, and sent it off to my Secret Santa recipient :) Was so excited to receive a tweet to say that it had arrived safely; and really happy that Jess liked her picture! I look forward to seeing a pic of it framed and hanging on her wall, across the pond in the US of A.

But this blogpost doesn’t end there.

Whilst I had been busy creating my Secret Santa gift, someone else had also been very busy… making one for me!!!

Someone — who remains anonymous as they cleverly didn’t give their name (unlike me who forgot that it’s SECRET Santa (the clue is in the name) and enclosed a card, from me, along with my gift. DOH. Am putting it down to baby brain.) — has made me the most beautiful gift. This clever, thoughtful crafter took the time to have a look at my Twitter profile, to see what I like — no prizes for guessing that one of my favourite things are of the feline variety! — and has made me my very own Christmas Cat!

LOOK HOW BEAUTIFUL HE IS!!!

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I LOVE HIM!!!!!

My thoughtful benefactor won’t know this, but my boy and I have been collecting Christmas decorations since we bought our first home, 15 years ago.

Every year, without fail, we buy another couple of decorations for our tree or and  the house and, consequently,  we have a gorgeous, eclectic assortment of beautiful things that come out, year after year. My Christmas Cat will join that collection and every year, from here-on-in, he will sit — pride of place — above our fireplace.

So if my Secret Santa is reading this, I just wanted to say a HUGE thank you!! Thanks for taking the time to make such a beautiful gift — I love my cat — he will be treasured for many years to come!

Caro Davies

Caro Davies art directed fashion and interiors before leaving the world of design to pursue a career in social media. She can now be found chasing the light — and two small twin boys.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Facebook

30 Comments

  1. 29th July 2015 / 8:17 am

    Wow I’m so impressed that you even attempted such a complex design on your first go at a papercut picture! It looks amazing and so effective against that dark background – well done you #HomeEtc

    • 29th July 2015 / 9:11 am

      Aaah that’s SO lovely of you Michelle — thanks so much :) Really happy with how it turned out, although my finger was pretty sore for a while afterwards!! x

  2. 29th July 2015 / 10:30 am

    Wow, you have a steady hand, I’m so impressed! What a lovely thing :) I love how getting in to something like this can be so absorbing, it’s the only time I ever really switch off from everything else and lose myself. You’ve inspired me! #HomeEtc xx

    • 29th July 2015 / 10:48 am

      A steady hand and a VERY sore index finger at the end of it!! ;) It was so worth doing though — nice to see it when it was finished :)

  3. 29th July 2015 / 10:50 am

    Wow your paper cut design is seriously impressive! Not sure I’d have the time or patience…

    Helen x

    • 29th July 2015 / 10:58 am

      Thanks so much Helen — that’s lovely of you!! I was pretty happy with it for a first attempt :) They’ve come on a little way since! Available to buy in the shop on my blog!!! ;)

  4. Betty and the Bumps
    29th July 2015 / 2:24 pm

    I am deficient in the craft gene; there’s a huge disconnect between what I envisage and what I eventually create. My husband can do anything though, so hopefully Gwenn will inherit that from him!

    I have a lovely Rob Ryan print in my kitchen and I’ve always been fascinated by paper cutting. Yours in absolutely beautiful. x

    #HomeEtc

    • 29th July 2015 / 4:08 pm

      Aaah that’s so lovely of you pet!! It’s a curse though because I’m CONVINCED — whatever it is — I can make it!!!! Usually, I can, but it’s a nightmare as I end up with ‘projects’ coming out of my ears!! xx

  5. 29th July 2015 / 4:59 pm

    What a lovely piece of artwork, well done you! And that cat is so adorable too, what a thoughtful and amazing gift, it must have taken a while to make! #HomeEtc

    • 30th July 2015 / 12:23 pm

      Thanks so much Carolyn! I think that’s what I really like about these swap projects. People really make such an effort. It’s lovely to receive something that someone has put so much time and care into x

  6. 29th July 2015 / 5:52 pm

    That is absolutely gorgeous. You clever thing – I love it and this post has made it seem like something I could do too.. . maybe one day ! :) #homeetc

    • 30th July 2015 / 12:20 pm

      Thanks so much Steph! It’s fairly easy — just very time consuming — and you’ve got to be super careful with the scalpel too!! I’ve lost count of the times I’ve slipped and cut myself over the years!!!

  7. 29th July 2015 / 8:12 pm

    Impressive stuff! I’d like to try this but given my carelessness with knives I’d probably lose a finger ! #HomeEtc

    • 30th July 2015 / 12:18 pm

      Yep — you’ve got to be pretty careful when using a scalpel. Even changing the blades can be a little bit hairy at times!! ;)

  8. 29th July 2015 / 9:48 pm

    Oh wow it looks AMAZING! I can’t believe you cut out that design with your hand, you really must have steady hands – I could not do that, or have the patience. Well done! Sabrina xx #HomeEtc

    • 30th July 2015 / 12:17 pm

      Thanks so much Sabrina!! Yeas and years of using a scalpel — at work — to cut my artwork up, definitely has it’s uses!! ;)

  9. 29th July 2015 / 9:58 pm

    Oh, I’d never heard of the Twitter Craft Blog Club before – it sounds ace.

    My word, you must have the patience of saint – there’s no way I could sit and scalpel out delicate pictures without getting extremely sweary.

    I love the gift you got from your secret Santa too – utterly adorable.

    Thanks for hosting #HomeEtc xxxx

    • 30th July 2015 / 12:16 pm

      Thanks lovely! They’re still going but I’ve been SO busy recently, I haven’t joined in with them for absolutely ages. I think they’re still doing their challenges and swaps though — it’s a lovely group to be involved with :) I still don’t know who made the cat for me!! x

  10. 29th July 2015 / 10:43 pm

    Ooh, I LOVE this! I have always wanted to try my hand at paper cutting and was only thinking about it this week. (Thought I might try to do one for my Mum as she is my biggest cheer leader!) What programme did you use to create the template on the computer? Thanks so much for sharing, you’ve just given me the shove I needed! Xx

    • 30th July 2015 / 12:15 pm

      Hi Sue! I’m a designer by trade so I used Adobe InDesign. Canva would probably work just as well too. It’s SUCH a fun thing to do — would highly recommend having a go! Just mind your fingers :)

  11. 30th July 2015 / 7:37 am

    Wow, Caro, that is amazing! I don’t have the patience to attempt anything like that but it’s certainly impressive. Love the little cat, too. What a fab gift x

    • 30th July 2015 / 12:13 pm

      Thanks Rachel :) The little cat is so beautiful!! And to this day, I have no idea who made him for me!!! Total mystery!

  12. 30th July 2015 / 9:07 am

    AMAZING! You are so talented! #twinklediaries x

  13. Fionnuala
    30th July 2015 / 1:11 pm

    You certainly are one talented lady, Caro, and determined too. I bet whoever got your personalised gift absolutely loves it.
    I have been planning to give paper cutting a go for years now. My mother in law’s 60th birthday is a couple of months away. Maybe I could have a go at a card for that.
    Thanks for the great instructions and sore finger warning!
    #homeetc

    • 30th July 2015 / 8:29 pm

      Aah thanks lovely :) They’ve certainly come on a bit since that first attempt — but I’m still really proud of that first one. Particularly as the twins were only a few months old!! As if I hadn’t got enough to do?! ;) Love making work for myself, that’s for sure!! x

  14. 31st July 2015 / 8:14 am

    Wow, it looks amazing but I’m not sure I would have the patience for it. Then again, when you see the finished thing it does look so good! What a lovely gift xx

    • 3rd August 2015 / 8:49 pm

      Thanks darling. You WOULD have the patience!! You have 3 little boys so heaven knows, you have the patience of a saint. TIME on the other hand ;) You wouldn’t have the time!! LOL!! xx

  15. 4th August 2015 / 2:12 pm

    WOW! I literally could not believe how fab it looked! I love these prints and would love to have a go. You inspire me with your crafts so much. Jess xx

    #HomeEtc

    • 4th August 2015 / 3:01 pm

      Aaah thanks lovely! It was such a nice thing to do! Lovely to see it hanging up on her wall when it arrived at it’s destination too! She lives in the states so it had a bit of a long journey! :)

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