Cut Your Own Paper Shapes for Paper Crafts: Card Making, Scrapbooking, Collage or Mixed Media Art
Free Paper Crafts Tutorial: Making Your Own Faux Die-Cut Scalloped Papers Using Quilter’s Templates or Random Other Shapes
Die-cut shapes and papers are trendy right now, but they also tend to be expensive. A die cutter (which is a machine for making die cuts) is expensive, and it also takes up a lot of space. If you’re an occasional crafter, you might be having a hard time justifying that expense. But even if you want to just buy some die-cut shapes, those cost a small fortune, too. A pretty sheet of die-cut paper often costs $2.00 or more! Yikes!
So how do you cut paper shapes if you don’t have a die cutter? Well, that’s totally easy — and it’s also reasonably affordable to do. It takes a little more time, but the results are lovely, and much less expensive than buying premade die-cut papers. Plus, once you know how to do it, you can use any paper you like, which gives you many more options than you’d have otherwise. I will show you the secret!
This tutorial teaches you step-by-step how to cut shapes like hearts, stars, circles (etc) using your own hands and a few cheap, low-tech tools. In the tutorial, I show you how to make a piece of scalloped paper shaped like a heart. Once you have the basic idea, you’ll be able to do this with other shapes and decorative edges as well.
First, choose a shape you want to make. The easiest thing to do is to choose a quilter’s template or a chipboard shape made for scrapbooking or paper crafts — but those aren’t your only possibilities. You could use a clothing hang tag with a cool shape; a stencil from your kids’ stencil set; a plate from your kitchen; or even your own hand. Anything that has a cool shape and can be traced around is fair game. However, the one caveat is that it is ideal if the shape isn’t too detailed, at least for your first attempt at this.
You’ll also want to select a piece of patterned paper or cardstock, and a darker marker that coordinates with your paper.
For this tutorial, I chose…
- A page from the Clear Scraps heart-shaped acrylic album
- Pink Sharpie marker
- Affectionate Flowers paper from the Be Loved Collection by My Mind’s Eye (This design was discontinued long ago, but you can use any patterned scrapbooking paper for this project).
Full Disclosure: I am a long-ago former Clear Scraps design team member, circa 2009ish, and at the time I was compensated by them for this tutorial — they gave me some (but not all) of the products I used for making this. The company has changed hands since I was on their design team, but I am still a huge fan of their products. I wouldn’t recommend them to you otherwise!
Take your shape or stencil, place it on the paper and trace around it with the marker. Remove the shape.
Use scalloped scissors or other decorative scissors to cut around your outlined shape. I used Fiskars Paper Edgers in the Heartstrings design to create my scalloped edges. There are lots of different decorative edges available on these scissors, so you can choose the design you like best. These are cheap; at the time I just checked (8-15-2021) Dick Blick has them for sale for less than three dollars each. At that price, you can buy a bunch of them, and it’s still waaaaayyyyyyyyyy cheaper than buying a die cutter!
Take your marker and color in the area between the outline you drew, and the scalloped edge of the paper.