See more crafts featured in the Handmade Holidays series.
Ruth Groom of Woodbine, Iowa, has found a unique way to bring paper to life for the holidays. For the past four years, she has been doing kirigami, the art of paper folding and cutting. Kirigami is like oragami in that it requires folding paper. She suggests it as a fun and unique way to give beautiful cards for the holidays.
Sturdy card stock (can also use blank index cards)
Kirigami pattern (find these in books at the library or download them online)
Note: Inexpensive tools can be substituted, such as using an extending blade instead of an X-ACTO knife. A simple index card replaces card stock, a compass can stand-in for a piercer and a kitchen knife can result in folds just as sharp as those from a bone folder. Instead of purchasing a “forgiving mat” use a phone book.
The simple kirigami projects pictured below can be found in the Laura Badalucco book “Kirigami: The Art of 3-Dimensional Paper Cutting.” You can also find templates online that can be reduced or enlarged in size for your project needs.
The basic principle of kirigami is to mark the design on the paper and follow the instructions so you are cutting where it needs to be cut to create the design. Ruth color codes her pattern so she doesn't get mixed up. Then, following the patterns, fold the paper either using valley (inverse) or mountain (converse) folds to form the “pop-out” design.
Ruth suggests that whatever tools you use, remember that the most valuable tool can be right between your ears, adding that the possibilities are only as limited as your desire to create something you can take pride in. She also suggests patience and practice to perfect this technique.