Papercut Christmas Tree Picture

Make a unique piece of Christmas art for your home with paper and a craft knife. It's not especially difficult, simple drawing skills and then quite a lot of patience is all that's needed!

Papercut Christmas Tree Picture

I made this picture for our home last year but it was too late to share it with you then as it was almost Christmas day itself by the time I finally finished it! 

If you'd like to make a papercut like this for your home or as a gift, I would suggest starting it now. 

Papercutting is a lovely, almost magically craft. It's very soothing to do, quite meditative but one thing it is not is quick!

To make your own picture you will need:

  • A frame
  • Paper or thin card to fit your frame, one in your main colour and one to go behind.
  • Scrap paper to practice your design
  • A soft pencil
  • A craft knife and spare blades. I have an xacto knife and used 3 blades on this picture.
  • A cutting mat

First you need a design. I sketched a few on scrap paper.


These are just sketched ideas, they need developing into proper designs, but they might spark your imagination. 

Keep it fairly simple, remember the more complicated the design is the longer it will take to cut out. All your lines must touch another line, or when you cut big sections will just fall out. 

Where you have a line, that is what will be left behind. Consider using little joining lines if necessary. 

That's why I introduced the stars and baubles into my swirly design, once I was drawing in the large scale I wanted to join swirls in an interesting way, add another design element.

Once you have decided what you are doing trim your paper or thin card to fit your frame.

I used a 110gsm card, this is a little it thicker than I would normally use for a papercut but it was all I could get in the large size I wanted. The thicker the paper the harder it is to cut and the more blades you will get through.

Now draw you design onto the back of the paper using your soft pencil. I would recommend measuring from the top bottom and sides just to make sure it is central. Use a ruler for straight lines and don't press too hard, you want to rub it out if you go wrong or change you mind.

Take your time on this step, make sure you are happy before you start cutting. pencil lines are temporary, knife cuts are permanent!

Now you just need to cut it out.

Choose a starting point and just work from there. You are cutting either side of the lines you have drawn - to remove the little shapes that are formed between the lines.

Christmas papercut

In real life my pencil lines were not so bold. I could see them easily but the paper has a slight sheen so they didn't show up on the photo. I've done a little post production editing just so you can see them.

As you can see from my close up my papercutting is not awesome. The curves are not completely smooth. I'm ok with that. The finished picture is exactly what I hoped for and no one is looking at it with a microscope.

Christmas tree papercut

The thing I love most about papercutting is how the design appears like magic. It's hard to stop yourself from regularly picking up your work, turning it over and holding it up to the light. It just looks so good as it gradually appears. 

When all the paper cutting is done, I think you should turn your beautiful work of art over and spend at least 10 minutes admiring it! 

All the pencil marks are on the wrong side of the paper so under NO circumstances should you try to rub them out when you are finished. It's just not worth it, no need at all and you risk ripping your papercut. I've done it, it was awful, just don't do it!

Pop it in the frame with a contrast paper behind and you are done.

Christmas tree papercut

I chose the red paper for my papercut but I think it would look good on white paper with a colour behind it too. Maybe even a pattern behind if your paper cut in very simple and have large pieces removed.

I started this last year on 25th November and did it little and often, whilst the dinner was in the oven etc. I finished on 17th December (thank you Instagram for the dates, I shared a little of the process there last year)

Christmas papercut

I'm so pleased with how this papercut turned out, so I'm really looking forward to getting it out again in a few weeks (no Christmas decorating here till December) One day I might paint this frame but I'm not sure if it should be gold or silver. Gold would be nice in our living room, but silver would be better in the dining room (which is where it is in these photos)

What do you think? 


I'll be linking up at these great link parties , where you can find loads of lovely ideas.