Scherenschnitte (shear-n-SNIT- a) which means "scissor cuts" in German is the art of papercutting. The art work often has symmetry within the design. The art tradition was founded in Switzerland and Germany in the 1500s and was brought to Colonial America in the 1700s by immigrants who settled primarily in Pennsylvania.

Source: Wikipedia

While I've never attempted this genre of art, I was also quite overzealous in that I picked one of the most tricky designs for my first try. I came across by Heather Moore of skinnylaminx. My first thought was "OMG I have got to try that!" But I could foresee myself making a lot of accidental slashes which would end up in a very frustrated me ripping the paper to shreds, so I strayed from tradition and used craft foam instead.

Unlike in the States or Down Under, the range of craft supplies are really limited, safe for a few specialty stores located too out of the way for me. So when I saw craft foam in basic colors sold rather cheaply at a bookstore, I was delighted and made a grab.

Color Foam Sheets

This could even be funky decorative background or something (that you could easily create with like, MS Paint rather than painstakingly arranging foam pieces, but oh well..):

Rainbow Foam Fan

I also bought a pack of black foam, but who wants to look at a photo of a black rectangle, right?

Anyway, back to my project..

First, I printed out the design on plain white A4 paper, and fastened it to the top of a sheet of black foam with binder clips. I also found it quite useful to staple the two layers at parts that'll be cut out later (in this case, the white areas). Just a few will suffice to keep the layers in place. I guess the thickness of the foam also helped keep the staples snug and tight.

Here's what I had just before I cut the final bit (note the stapled part on the far right).

Almost done

After taking this photo, I realized how similar it was to Heather's, except her papercutting turned out perfect and my foamcutting..erm, not so much.

After messing my desk and floor with a horrendous heap of paper and foam bits, this is the result, placed on yellow foam:


The only reason why I survived this was because foam, although thicker and more resistant to the force of the blade, is also less likely to tear or crumple due to those same characteristics. My paper layer got creased and torn as I moved on working from one section to another. Papercutting takes real skills and patience, and I'm only just learning to maneuver the scissors properly, so I'll stick to foam sheets for practice for the time being. The 3D effect of foam is great too.

So there you go, my first Scherenschnitte. Now I'm hooked!


Snippety Gibbet said...

You cut scherenschnitte in foam???? Wow. I can only imagine that it was phenominally more difficult to cut, but you did a wonderful job!

illuminette said...

Thanks! I think it was the sweet design that made me persevere.. :)