Paper Cutouts - A Book Review

Paper Cutouts - A Book Review

Paper Cutouts
By Helene Leroux-Hugon and Juliette Vicart
Firefly Books Ltd, 2007

Traditional Chinese paper cutting meets contemporary graphic design in Paper Cutouts, a book by Helene Leroux-Hugon and Juliette Vicart. Paper Cutouts is a pattern book that offers 45 actual-size paper cutting designs that you can use immediately to make friezes, framed decor, and accents for folding screens, lamp shades, window panes and more.

The patterns come in three forms, depending on how they're cut: single symmetrical patterns, friezes, and rounds. In single symmetrical patterns, the design is cut from a piece of paper folded in two. In friezes, the design is either traced on and cut from several unfolded pieces of paper and glued together, or traced and cut once from a sheet of paper that has been folded a number of times. In rounds, the design is traced onto a folded paper circle and cut, much like how a paper doily or snowflake is made. For some designs, the paper is folded first and the borders are cut for symmetry; the paper is then unfolded and the rest of the non-symmetrical design cut out.

Whether you're a beginner eager to explore paper cutting, or an advanced user looking for something challenging, you're sure to find a paper cutting project to suit your skill level. Start off with a Beetle or two, a Tree of Doves, or even one of the fishes from the Underwater Frieze, then gradually work your way to the intricate Climb to Mountain Pastures and the impressive Two Dragons.

With each project, you're told what kind of paper to use, including the texture, weight, and other recommended qualities (e.g., untearable, Japanese, patterned, etc.), as well as the tools needed, and additional tips specific to that project.

These are, of course, in addition to the general guide at the beginning of the book which gives an historical overview of paper cutouts; paper, tools, and patterns; and basic techniques such as drawing, folding, cutting and gluing.

If you like the idea of decorating your home with paper cutouts with a modern feel to them, then give this book a try. Just be sure to stock up on paper and scalpel blades because it'll take a while before you run out of projects to make.

Note: I acquired this book with my own funds and was not compensated for this review in any way.

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