This Mod Podge-r tries papercutting

roostersI’d like to introduce you to the work of Judy Carrell, an artist from Indiana who created the amazingly beautiful rooster papercutting piece you see above. Through a conversation with Judy about papercutting and how she got started, I was inspired to try it . . . thinking that I could somehow incorporate Mod Podge into this fabulous art form. I like to incorporate Mod Podge into everything I do, including baking. Just so you know, Mod Podge doesn’t make a good non-stick coating. It’s too gummy!

To give you a little history, papercutting dates back to 6th century China, and since that time there have been several variations within several cultures. One of the most popular is Polish papercutting, also known as Wycinanki. German papercutting, or Scherenschnitte, is another popular type. This is the type that inspired Judy, a retired-German-teacher-turned-crafter. Interestingly enough, she began papercutting when the sun ruined a piece that her husband had received as a gift. She thought it was a shame that it had been bleached, so she grabbed some gummed-back paper she had gotten from Germany and (with some little scissors) went to Re-creationville. Since that time she’s created a wide variety of pieces, ranging from flowers to birds to other nature items. Check out the intricate detail of her rooster piece:

roosters insetAll of the papercuts that Judy does are simply gorgeous and inspiring! During my conversation with her, I asked if she could share a few tips with me. Here’s what she said:
-First timers (like myself) should probably try copying something to practice. Judy also looks at the world around her to get inspired (she’s even used postage stamps), and doodles to create backgrounds. I’ll get there eventually!
-Carbon paper is great for tracing designs to paper and then cutting out. She also uses regular typing paper to create templates.
-She uses everyday items for templates, ranging from a dime to a pizza pan. Brilliant!
-For detailed pieces like the above, keep organized with labeling and envelopes. I particularly liked this tip because my usual route would be to spread the pieces around the coffee table and then watch them fly when the ceiling fan goes on. I get hot when I’m crafting!

Following Judy’s advice to a tee, I decided to copy something to practice for my first try. I grabbed a sheet of owl scrapbooking paper and enlarged Mr. Blue Owl on the copier. I made two black and white copies. With some blue scraps of cardstock, one light and one dark, I used the template to cut out the larger dark blue body and the smaller light blue overlay. I even cut out some feathers with my craft knife. The eyes, feet and beak were easy – also done with scissors and scraps of cardstock. A little paint + Mod Podge + papercuts + me = the following:

owl bin 1 owl bin 2Okay bloggers, now I want to hear what you think. Anyone tried papercutting? Do you love it? Do you have any tips? Ever used it with Mod Podge? Please share with me! I’d love to see what you’ve done and hear your opinions as I begin my foray into the world of papercutting.


  1. Vicki says

    My sister does the chinese papercutting, she had a show in Houston at one of the Museums, you should see her stuff, absolutely amazing!

  2. Joanna says

    What a fabulous work of art! Yours is also very cute! I have tried some very simple paper cuts like yours (and I did use Mod Podge), but I don’t think I have the patience for what Judy does!

  3. says

    I cut out shapes from scrapbook paper to incorporate in my art. but they’re always much simpler shapes. sometimes i’ll draw them out ahead of time, sometimes i just go for it and ‘free hand cut.’ i think it adds a lot of interest to incorporate layers with different patterned paper. i don’t think i’d have the time and patience to create something so intricate, but i do admire and appreciate all the work that goes into it.

  4. Sara says

    Yay I love the owl! Papercutting is my art of choice. I haven’t gotten down to the tiny Tiny detail stuff…but I love it. It’s like drawing with scissors. Look at my gallery, under ‘cards’

  5. Carrie says

    I have never tried this, but it is beautiful! The rooster is so intricate! I’d imagine it took hours… Your little owl is so cute, too! Great job, and especially for your first try. :)

  6. KristyRichardson1 says

    This has becomme my latest art form I’ve been dabbling in. I’m almost finished with a 8 1/2 by 11 bird desin that I’ve been doing in a similar style to Judy. I’m hoping to make some christmas presents. I’m curious as to how she added the color, is it colored slips of paper behind the black, or colored pencil?

    Your owl is way cute! I bet you could make some awesome scrapbooking pieces with the layered paper style.

    Btw, I love your blog, I just found it the other day!

  7. Flat Creek Farm says

    Your papercutting looks fantastic! I’ve tried it, and wore blisters on my fingers. I was slow and I didn’t like doing it (impatient me) :) So I went out and bought a Cricut. Yes, I’m a cheater but I love that machine! My sister does beautiful scherenchnitte by hand – and she’s fast! -Tammy

  8. Victoria says

    I love papercutting, I remember we made the whole film about chinese folk tales using papercut figures, we tried to make it look like Chinese theatre. and it was great! I still want to do something like that, for now I tried to cut the decoration for miniature windows in dollhouse, but I didn’t like the result.:(

  9. Lindsay - Paint Me A Picture says

    I must tell you I had a fight with my Modge Podge today. It almost RUINED 3 of my paintings…they were fixed, but [sigh] it was rough!

  10. Valerie says

    I too would love to know how she added the color. I’ve never tried papercutting, but it looks like something I need to put on the list of things to check out when I have a little time to kill. I love intricate, laborious crafts. Dunno why, but I do!

  11. says

    When I was a kid my family traveled to Paris and we paid a sidewalk artist to create a papercut silhouette of me. I was so fascinated by how fast the artist’s scissors snipped away! I wish I could find my silhouette, but I fear it’s long gone. Thanks for this post, it brought back a great memory for me! Judy’s work is so amazing.

  12. Amber says

    I just made a card and used mod podge to put the card together. I have pics and I think it turned out well. I can send them to you if you’d like. :)

  13. Jerene says

    I spent most of my winter last year doing scherenschnitte! It is totally awesome, and I loved drawing my own design and then cutting it out!