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Here is a complete step-by-step guide to make a delicate rooster paper-cut. You will need colored paper, a specialist craft knife, backing card and removable/re-positionable glue. You can use the same technique for many paper-cuts that do not require folding.
The paper-cut is of a cockerel or rooster which is a lucky creature because its name sounds the same as jí ‘auspicious, lucky’. It is also one of the Chinese 吉 zodiac animals. There is also a lotus plant which as a sacred Buddhist plant has many positive meanings which give the wish for good luck and prosperity.
1. This is the outline for you to download and print out.
2. The template has been printed in thin yellow 80gsm A4 colored paper - the sort of weight of paper used in photocopiers. Thicker paper or card could have been used but this is more work to cut through. The design is slightly darker than the outline.
3. The next task is to fix the paper temporarily to a piece of cardboard so it can be cut out without the paper buckling. I do this by first spraying the cardboard with temporary/positioning glue which makes it tacky but the paper does not permanently adhere to it. This is available as a spray or as a glue-stick. The traditional method is to place on a waxed card and then slightly heat it so the paper adheres to it. Make sure that the paper can be easily removed before proceeding - it can wreck the paper-cut if it tears while removing it from the backing.
3. The task is now to carefully cut through the paper along the outline with a craft knife. A DIY ‘Stanley’ blade is too bulky for this work you will need a knife somewhat like this one . This may take an hour or two.
4. Once the cut is complete it is just a matter of peeling the paper-cut away from the card. This needs to be done carefully to avoid tearing. Here just the outer area has been removed.
5. Continue taking away the paper from the inside of the design. You may need to cut away segments that weren't completely linked up.
Chinese paper-cutsChinese people have been making decorative objects out of paper for a very long time. Paper-cuts are often seen at traditional festivals and often have a hidden symbolic meaning. Modern artists are now taking the art-form in exciting new directions. Read more…
6. Eventually the full design is revealed.
7. Lifting the completed paper-cut has to be done with great care to avoid tearing the delicate thin segments as these may adhere too strongly to the card or not be fully cut around. The paper-cut can be used on a window or against a colored background.