As it’s Chinese New year this week I decided to make a Chinese inspired craftbut there’s no typical dragons or lanterns here – just paper. The art and craft of papercutting is associated with many cultures, Chinese being one of them. Luckily you don’t need to be as patient as Rob Ryan to make one. Papercutting in China is known as Jianzhi and they consist of intricate patterns, often symmetrical, used to decorate interiors. My tutorial is a cheats, easy way to get started on this fine craft.
There are two ways to do a papercut; with scissors or using a craft knife. It depends on the complexity of the design. A papercut can either be the outline left behind from the shapes you cut out, or the shapes themselves. These earrings could have been made by scissors but using a craft knife means you get to keep the outline too, as you’ll soon find out…
First all you need to get your materials together. To make paper earrings you need:
- Scrap paper – any type is suitable. For professional papercutting a coated paper is normally used but for this project, anything goes!
- Glue stick
- Craft knife and mat
- Marker pen
- Round sequin
- Earring finding
For my design, I was reading a magnificent book about hedgehogs at the time so decided to make hedgehog earrings. I started by drawing hedgehog silhouette on the back of my chosen paper and then cut them out using a craft knife. The trick to using a craft knife is keeping it flat, not at a point. And always place a cutting mat underneath to protect the surface.
I then used scissors I cut out spikes from various mixed papers and glued them on using the glue stick– adjust the design according to the animal or object you make. You can use marker pens to draw on features.
To turn them into earrings, make a small hole using a pin at the top. Then the important part. Glue a sequin over the back of the hole to prevent it from tearing, otherwise as soon as you add the earring finding, it will tear through. Leave to dry before adding the earring hook.
Before wearing them paint the front side with a layer of PVA glue to secure the design and give it a gloss.
I used the outline to make a matching bookmark.
Paper crafting and jewellery making couldn’t be more easy - give it ago, you probably have the materials at home already to get started!