Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Paper Cutting Technique & Tips for Decoupage & Photographs

I was a co-teacher for a yearbook class to homeschooled teenagers for a couple of years. (JC Penny's Lifetouch) The below was from a technique hand-out I gave the students . . .
 
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Materials:
Professional stainless steel cuticle scissors with curved blades
Small, straight-bladed, sharp-pointed scissors (embroidery)

"What's worth doing at all is worth doing well."


If you are right-handed, use your right hand only for holding the scissors and opening the cutting blades of the scissors. (Left-handed persons reverse the process).

Scissors are held with the thumb and third (middle) finger in a relaxed manner with curved blade (cuticle scissors) pointing to the right and away from the edge being cut rather than toward the cut out. This will give you more control over your cutting.

Use your left hand (if you are right-handed & visa versa, opposite hand) to feed the paper into the scissors and to guide your paper so that the scissors are cutting just on the line you want. Feed the paper being cut into the scissors, with scissors opening and closing in a steady rhythm, but remaining essentially in the same position. Keep your paper well back into the scissors and use the tip ends of the blades only to cut into a corner before you turn the paper with your left hand.

Holding scissors at a slight angle to bevel the edge so that the top surface is longer (thumb turned to the right slightly & bottom blade to the left under the paper) eliminates the white line that one finds around a cutting and produces a softer result. Cut with the middle of the blade in small slices in an even rhythm rather than with big cuts.

The purpose of cutting in this way is to give you what is called a "feathered" look.  After cutting out a print (or photograph), turn it over and carefully examine the reverse side. You will see that the edges turn it toward the back of the print. This enables you to glue down your prints more firmly. If the edges turn up toward the side with the design, the job of gluing down is made harder.

Cut as close to the design as possible. You must get the little places in between stems and so forth. Cut from the inside towards the outer edges rather than the reverse. This way while you are cutting out all the little hard to get at places you will have the outer edge of the print to hold onto.

When you cut away interior and small spaces of a design, you cut underneath the paper with the scissors, so, prick the middle of the space on top with the point of your scissors  to provide an opening for your scissors to find on the underside of the piece.
 

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