Emergency Cuts

Imagine this: you are making your last cut for a commissioned artwork. You’ve been straining your neck for the past 2 hours. Finally, you hold the paper with both hands, raise it to eye level, and admire your hard work for a few seconds. You’re about to give yourself a pat on the back when… Bam! You realize you’re missing an entire line of three words. You’re world crumbles (exaggeration) and you swear to yourself that you did double-check everything when you made the draft. Or so you think.

How in the world of Van Gogh did that happen? You must have been singing along mindlessly to a favorite song. You could have also been enjoying (more than a normal person should) the flawless feel of your prized stone paper against your fingertips. Or maybe, your hands are just faster than your brain at the moment. There could be a thousand reasons for all we know. Never mind the how’s. This calls for an emergency. 

Here are some tips that you can follow when trying to save a “wounded” papercut art:

1. Look at the artwork as a whole. Does the mistake visibly pop out? If it would take a microscope and an overly obsessive compulsive person like you to see it, let it go. Remedying it may just compromise the entire project and you will just waste the hours you’ve spent on the whole thing. Of course, if it’s text that you’re missing, then that’s a different story. In that case, read #3.

2. If you can, try to look for the papercut debris of the part you were making. You must have cut more than you should, and that bit of paper can be attached using an invisible glue or a clear double-sided tape. Emphasis on invisible and clear. A glue stain and peeking tape will just put more attention to the damaged area. 

3. When you miss a word or phrase (try not to do this one!), don’t scrap everything yet. You may still salvage your artwork (but you will only realize this after a few minutes of cursing at yourself). 


 In the image above, I missed the phrase you’ll know it. It was a good thing that there was a line connecting the phrases. I removed everything below that line, recreated it, measured the remaining space, and figured how to fit the rest of the sentence in that space. Finally, I secured it in place with double-sided tape. If you look hard enough, you’ll see (the goal is that you won’t) that the diagonal line holding the additional phrase is on top of the old line.  

For the papercut project below, instead of missing a word, I duplicated the word be. This was easier to fix as it’s as simple as cutting out the extra word. The result was a gap between always and be. It bothered me for a bit, but I was told that It looked like it was deliberately done, so I let it go.   

No matter how good you are or how long you’ve been crafting, making a mistake will always be inevitable. When you do, try not to be too hard on yourself. Mistakes are there anyway to be corrected and learned from. 

The How’s of Papercutting

It was only in July this year when I learned how to papercut through a workshop held by Hey Kessy. Mansy, the girl behind Hey Kessy, was actually the one who suggested that I start a blog of my works. And that’s when Papel de Pinay came to be.

Although I am only an amateur on this newfound hobby, I thought it might be helpful to share the very basics of papercutting on this blog, particularly to those who may also find interest on this hobby.

Papercutting consists of three parts: 1) Conceptualizing; 2) drawing; and 3) cutting.


This part is the one I enjoy the most as I have tons of ideas to do for my projects. However, if you’re only starting out and is still a bit unsure of what to do, why not think of an interesting quote or a line from your favorite song? From there, you can draw a lot of inspirations. If you’re the forgetful type like me, it’s good to keep a notebook where you can sketch your ideas and plan for your next projects. You never know when you’ll get all Dory all of a sudden.



Then comes the part I dread the most — drawing. Why, you ask? Because I seriously suck at drawing. I do. For one project, I even had to google a few cliparts just because I couldn’t draw a freaking owl. Really. The good thing about papercutting though, is that your drawings need not be perfect. So if you’re lame at sketching, don’t lose hope. Just don’t leave out the details as these are what make papercuts intricate and appealing.

Remember also that you will be drawing on the opposite side of the page (this is to keep the paper free from pencil traces), so make sure that your sketch is a mirror image of your project. Otherwise, if your project involves some text, one would need to master the art of reading in reverse to appreciate your work.



Last but not the least — the most important of all, actually — is the cutting part. Your craft knife is your magic wand. If your craft knife is dull, your cuts will not be clean and steady. You wouldn’t want to end up crumpling your work in frustration after spending a considerable amount of time conceptualizing and drawing, would you? That said, I really suggest investing on a good quality craft knife. Craft knives usually come with blades which can be bought in bookstores, specialty shops, and even hardware stores. I haven’t tried other brands aside from Maped, so I can’t recommend a specific brand besides what I’m using now. I have, however, heard good reviews on X-Acto so I might try that out next time.

For the finished product of this papercut, click here.

One more thing: when making your project, never, as in NEVER, cut without a cutting mat or board — unless, of course you’d want to engrave your project permanently on your tabletop and find your mom making a close-to-perfect impression of The Conjuring.

There you go. Just some of the basic things I wanted to share with you on my very limited knowledge on the art of papercutting. Try it out sometime. Who knows, maybe it might pique your interest like it did mine. 🙂