Color the Emotion

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5 Reasons to Enjoy Cutting Paper with Scissors

Fruit Tree, a hand cut collage by Peony and Parakeet

I wrote an article about cutting paper with scissors to the Finnish paper crafting magazine “Paperilla.” The collage shown here was made as an illustration for the article. It is called Fruit Tree. For the collage, I picked some solid colored papers and cut them to pieces. After glueing the pieces, I added a black background and thin decorative lines with black markers. So simple yet effective!

Paper, rock, scissors - by Peony and Parakeet

I have nothing against die cutting machines but still – think about the possibilities of plain old scissors! It is like all the stencils and cutting files of the world are packed inside of them!

There are at least five reasons to enjoy cutting paper with scissors!

1) Hand cut pieces are 100 %  You

People often worry that if they cut by hand, their circles are not perfectly round or their squares perfectly rectangular. I like to call my irregular cuts “organic.” To me, they look unique and full of potential, especially when combined with the other imperfect ones. They are a little bit like my plants – marigolds and geraniums which I grow each year. They might bloom a bit late, and they would not probably be accepted by the finest of the garden centres, but I love them.

Growing plants, by Peony and Parakeet

2) While hand cutting Your subconscious guides You

When you keep on cutting those odd shapes, your imagination begins to work. Sometimes it takes less time, sometimes more, but when that happens it is like reading an interesting book, like taking a personality test … It is so much fun to find out what those scissors reveal each time!

An art journal page by Peony and Parakeet

3) You can repeat Your favorite shapes

Here are the six examples of mine! I have cut them so many time that they come out naturally.  I also know a lot of ways to use them. Because of their familiarity, I can easily make variations from them. Finding your favorite shapes can even create the base of your unique style.

Cutting paper. 6 hand cut shapes by Peony and Parakeet

I also love to decorate the shapes with some doodling. That makes similar shapes look different from each other.

4) You can use Your own papers – or any papers!

As you know I love to make my own decorated papers. They are often as curvy and irregular as my hand cuts but no worry. With scissors I can cut any paper, thick or thin. I can spend time with fabulous papers or make even the ugly papers fabulous when I cut them thoughtfully. (The papers seen here are the best solids I know – my own watercolored papers where I have used several layers of watercolor to increase the color intensity. There’s gel medium in the jar for glueing the pieces.)

Creating a paper collage, by Peony and Parakeet

5) You can always think about hand cutting

You can take couple sheets of paper and the scissors with you wherever you go. Or you can just take the scissors and re-use paper from the magazines, tickets, leaflets, etc. Furthermore, I promise, you will begin to see interesting shapes everywhere. (Feel free to copy that crocus shape – a long stem with an oval shape on the top!)

Crocus flower

6) Bonus! You are one step closer to being an artist!

Just wait, your art journal, card collection or whatever you do with the hand cut shapes will begin to live and breathe. Just keep on adding those elements!

Art journal spread by Peony and Parakeet

Think about how this spread would look if I had cut the shapes using a die-cut machine. Nothing alike! Without even mentioning the differences in the experience of cutting and assembling. Art needs freedom, and your scissors can take you there!

Create more hand-cut collage art: Buy Doodled Luxury!

18 thoughts on “5 Reasons to Enjoy Cutting Paper with Scissors

  1. I am enjoying your blog immensely!

    I am learning new things and I am inspired not only by your beautiful and lively art but especially by your lovely spirit!

    1. Thank you, Rosie! I feel very happy I have been able to inspire and give something back from all the good that spending time with art has given to me! Many wonderful creative moments to you!

    1. Thanks, Lynda! I agree with the slow down, I have noticed that I become happier when cutting paper. Spending time with my own thoughts is very therapeutic.

  2. You are a positive inspiration .i don’t know how you find time to do so much

    1. Jean, thanks! My husband thinks the same: how can I find the time! I watch very little tv and spend most of the free time thinking about new ideas! I also have a weekly routine for creating art.

  3. Once I was showing a group of friends an art book I had made. I had painted roses and also hand made roses made from various papers, etc. One person asked me why I didn’t use a cutting machine. Before I could form a reply that would not offend the person who loved her cutting machine, another friend said: Because she doesn’t want everything to be exactly the same!” And that was the right answer. I don’t like everything all neat and perfect and in a row. I love wild art with abandon! I love everything different and real. If I wanted exact and same, I would ….well, get and use a cutting machine!!

    1. Patricia, thank you for the great story! So well said! Your art book with hand cut roses must be a real treasure.

  4. Thank you! This post really has special meaning for me. I have long believed in creating without having the latest gadget. Not that they are not great but I feel one can be oh so creative by just doing it yourself without all the bells and whistles so to speak.

    1. Thanks, Sharon! To be honest, I have been second guessing my blog post themes so many times. I see trends and gadgets and various mediums and try many, but in the end I always love the simple ingredients the most. I have also noticed that in the commercial world we live in, many people feel that they have to have this or that before they can start creating. But creativity is often fueled by scarcity, not vice versa!

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