DIYdiy projects

DIY Project: Cut Paper Memento

by Maxwell Tielman

I’ve been seeing papercut projects everywhere recently, and it’s not difficult to see why. Like knitting, crocheting and baking, paper cutting is an activity that nurtures the “slow” lifestyle and offers a welcome respite from the jumbled fast lane that is contemporary life. There’s also something incredibly beautiful about intricate and ornamental designs combined with the simplicity and delicacy of paper. Since I began seeing this particular brand of folk art popping up everywhere from small shops to international art museums, I’ve been eager to try my hand at it. While certain paper-cutting techniques like the Polish wycinanki can take days to master and complete, I was pleased to discover that making beautiful cut-paper art can be easy and fast.

These cut-paper mementos, for instance, take only a few sheets of paper, a brief amount of time and incredibly basic drawing skills — perfect for the beginner paper cutter! Designed to honor favorite places and objects, these lovely mementos enshrine a single object in a wreath of cut leaves. All you need is an object that can be cut symmetrically! For this particular project, we chose to highlight the fabulous water tower that faces our Greenpoint office’s windows!

For full directions to this easy-peasy project, continue after the jump! You’ll be a paper-cutting pro in no time!


  • regular white paper
  • craft knife with a fresh blade
  • pencil
  • glue stick
  • single sheet of colored paper (we chose pink construction paper)
  • cutting mat



1. Fold your piece of white paper in half lengthwise.

2. Draw half of your design on one side of the paper. Make it line up symmetrically with the crease of the paper’s fold. No need to be neat about this, so feel free to scribble and make a mess to get your design right. Our design is pictured above.

3. Once your design is drawn, begin cutting out the negative space. It’s easiest to cut out the smallest pieces first and work to the larger sections from there. To remove the small pieces, simply lift them out with the point of your blade as pictured above.

4. After you’ve cut out your design, carefully unfold the paper to reveal the entire image. Gently apply glue to the reverse side and place it on your sheet of colored paper.

5. That’s it! Tack it up, frame it or mail it to somebody special!

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  • This is an absolute inspiration! I LOVE VIEWS from windows of our home and my Mothers! This is a perfect way for me to ‘go home’to moms when i cannot! LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!! Thank you GREATLY for sharing this idea! I am Very Grateful!

  • This looks like so much fun and a “Blast from the Past”. Can’t wait to try it.
    I think I would iron it before attaching, you think? I iron and reuse wrapping paper and tissue all the time. works great and saves money. =)

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