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Create a Fabric Design Using a Papercut

28 September 2015 10:00

A while ago, I showed you how you can use paper cutouts to create a fabric design.  Today, we're going to go one step further and make our own papercuts.

I recently attended a workshop run by Poppy Chancellor of Poppy's Papercuts.  (At the Handmade Fair, about which on Thursday.)  It gave me a chance to try making a papercut with some expert help.  It's actually not that difficult to do, once you've got the hang of using a knife, but you do need a good design to cut!  If you don't think you can draw something, then have a scout around on the internet for a suitable design.  (You can only do that for personal use, don't forget!)

I found this design on Pinterest (now on my Pinterest board Inspiration), pinned from

There were lots of designs.  I chose this one as it's a simple repeating pattern, and selected one square.  I enlarged it to a manageable size (about 10cms) and printed it.  It was a bit blurry, but that doesn't matter, as the lines will be on the back of the papercut.

I then cut out the spaces within the lines of the square.

  • Put the design on a cutting board. 
  • Cut round the lines using a sharp paper knife, starting in the middle so that the paper is firmer.  As you cut more away, the paper becomes more delicate.  Carefully lift out the cut away piece with the point of your knife.
  • Cut round the square (use a ruler to make sure the lines are straight.)  Cut so that the design will repeat.

Scan the design into Photoshop or similar software.

As you can see, one of my horizontal lines wasn't quite horizontal.  You can correct mistakes like that in Photoshop.  (Crop close to the design, and fill any gaps.)  You can also, if you wish, tidy up any other small flaws, either where your cutting isn't quite as neat as you'd like, or where there are blurry edges.  You can also change one or both of the colours.  I gave my design a blue background.

Upload your design and select the best repeat.  Order your fabric!