Friday, 12 August 2011

How to make a papercutting template

As some of you probably know already, I've recently started teaching papercutting workshops.  I like to encourage people to design and cut their own papercuts, but sometimes people like to start by cutting one of my templates.  The question that seems to pop up most often is how do I get my design on to a small piece of origami paper?

I thought I would share my method with you.  It's not very sophisticated and a little laborious, but it works for me and as yet I haven't discovered a better way.

So here goes:

Step 1
Scan your black and white image and save it in photoshop.  Then, using the image settings, change the colour of your scanned image to a very light grey and save it.  Make sure the size of the image is the same size or smaller than the piece of origami paper that you want to use (eg 15cm x 15cm).

Step 2
Print the light grey template image on regular A4 printer paper. It doesn't need to be a high res image - although you'll get a crisper looking template if it is.

Step 3
Take your piece of origami paper and lay it colour side down exactly over your printed image.  Oh yes - make sure the origami paper that you use is coloured on one side and white on the other! Tape it in place (top and bottom, or in the corners) with very small pieces of masking tape.  Make the sure the masking tape barely touches the origami paper - you want it to just about hold it in place.  Too much tape on the origami paper will mean that you print on the tape and not on the paper!

Step 4
Place your paper back into your printer and print the same grey template again.  NB: Make sure you know whether your printer prints the front or back of your paper so you know which way to put in the paper with the origami piece taped to it.  I have to put mine in face down in my paper tray with the top of my image towards the rear of the tray.  When your paper emerges from your printer, the image should now be on the origami paper.  You can remove the masking tape and there you go!

Hope it works for you!