Asia,  Japan,  TDM,  Travel Journal

Discovering the art of Japanese paper cutting

If I talk to you about “paper” and “Japan”, you will surely answer “origami”. But we won’t talk too much about origami today, but about the art of Japanese paper cutting.

I am a big fan of paper cutting, and even though I assiduously follow the new techniques and artists on Pinterest, I discovered in Japan some absolutely incredible books and new techniques. They are unfortunately not available for sale in France.

Where to buy these books? On Amazon Japan, Rakuten, in large bookstores or in “art supply stores” such as Kawachi. They cost between 1400yen and 1900yen.

Where to buy the tools? Amazon Japan, or the Kawachi store.

What to buy?

  • The “design cutter” to which the artists refer is also sold at Kawachi or on Amazon. The brand OLFA is Japanese and they are the ones who made the first cutters in the world. Mine + spare blades cost 450yen.
  • I also recommend you to buy a cutting board from Vanco (800yen, but nothing like the boards sold in Europe, this one is exceptional) and scissors. The idea is to buy the Japanese brands and the most expensive lol 😀 the quality is exceptional and you need a good material for this kind of manual work (the scissors cost me 3200yen! but I won’t find scissors like that anywhere)
  • Japanese tissue paper, washi paper, blotting paper, origami paper, “do art” branded paper (one side white to print the pattern, and the other side black)… and all kinds of papers you like. It costs between 400 and 500yen.

Hama Naofumi

The first book I discovered was Hama Naofumi’s book. He is currently giving paper cutting classes (6 classes of 2 hours, unfortunately I don’t stay long enough to come to his classes). Hama Naofumi’s creations combine origami and paper cutting techniques. The paper he uses is very thin (thinner than origami paper) and the patterns are very small. More about the author

Nakayama Maki

The second book that stuck with me was Nakayama Maki’s book. It looks like cathedral stained glass, but made with Japanese tissue paper. We cut different patterns with different colored papers and put them together to form the “rose windows”.

The result is magnificent! More about the author

Yumaahi Maki

The “cathedral stained glass” style looks trendy because I’ve seen a lot of books on it. It’s a different way of using blotting paper, which was torn into greeting card designs. Here it is stuck behind the black paper. Here is an excerpt from Yumaahi Maki’s book. More about this author here

Hina Aoyama

She has an international reputation, her style is recognizable between miles.

But this is the first time I see a book of her, which explains in detail the techniques of paper cutting at the CISEAUX !!! I, who am used to cutters, here I am in heaven ! This technique would make it possible to create more difficult patterns and especially to reduce the size of the work. More about the author

The name of the book: 蒼山日菜が教室で教えている切り絵のコツ (玄光社MOOK)

The same author has released another book which is multi-disciplinary: everything revolves around the patterns she created: how to reproduce them on textile, for decoration, for frames… I like it a lot, so I bought it too 😀

Birds in 3D

I’m also super excited when I see a book explaining how to create birds in 3D: かわいい鳥の立体切り紙: 身近な小鳥から世界の野鳥まで45作品 (日本語) Paperback – April 8, 2016

I’ve already watched videos from another creator, who doesn’t offer templates at all, so I know the technique but since I don’t draw well, I need templates to move forward.

This book gives us all this: how to create feathers that are truer than life, and how to give this 3D side to the creations. I’m a fan!

Here is a video from another artist to show you that we can go even further:


Souma did it! So I hurried to buy her book (立体切り絵作家SouMaの 初めてでもできる立体切り絵). It shows how to make paper jewelry and how to cut feathers.

More about the author

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