Paper Cutting – Moon Moth

Comments Off Written on October 31st, 2011 by
Categories: Paper Cutting

I’ve always admired the art of paper cutting, but I’ve never really explored it. I love the traditional Mexican folk art of papel picado, and I used it as a motif in my Día de los Muertos poster, but that was just drawing meant to mimic the style. There is a mural in the Mission by Swoonthat is a gorgeous example of paper cutting. The mural is wheatpasted to the brick wall, and has been slowly deteriorating over the years.

Photo by Rebecca, Mad About the Mural,


Last week I picked up a book, Paper Cutting: Contemporary Artists, Timeless Craft,  featuring several different paper cutting artists, a few of whom I was familiar with. It’s a gorgeous book and if you have any interest in paper cutting I would highly recommend it. Elsa Mora, one of the artists included in the book, discusses it in depth on her blog.

I was inspired to dig out my x-acto blades and try some paper cutting. I’ve been working on a simple image with a moth and some succulents, and it adapted well for a cut out design. And inspired by this tutorial by Jeffrey Rudell on making paper cut embellished thank you notes, I left part of the sheet uncut so that a letter or note could be written on it.

Moon moth and succulents, paper cutting

I used a 9×12″ sheet of white, acid-free construction paper, strong enough to hold its shape but light enough to not chew through too many blades (I did dull two of them in the process – I’ve since invested in a pack of extra durable blades). The cutting isn’t perfect, it accidentally tore in two places, and I didn’t like my first version of the antennae, so I cut them off and glued on a second set. But overall, I’m happy with my first attempt.

If you like my design and want to try out some paper cutting for yourself, I’ve turned it into a pattern that you can print and cut out! Download and print this pdf onto a sheet of sturdy paper (construction paper, heavyweight inkjet paper, cardstock, etc). Using a sharp x-acto blade and working on top of a self-healing cutting mat or other protective surface, carefully cut away all of areas shaded blue, working from the inside towards the outside.

Obligatory terms of useMoon moth pattern is free to use for personal or non-profit work, please do not resell or use for commercial work. PDF file may not be redistributed on its own or as part of an image/texture collection. Please share the link to this journal entry, instead of hotlinking directly to the download URL. Thanks, and I hope you enjoy!