Paper Crafts: Create A Geometric, Paper-Cut Art Piece | Kristen Magee | Skillshare

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Paper Crafts: Create A Geometric, Paper-Cut Art Piece

teacher avatar Kristen Magee, Designer, Developer & Notorious Paper Fiend

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

7 Lessons (18m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Gathering Materials

    • 3. Creating the Pattern

    • 4. Cutting the Pattern

    • 5. Coloring

    • 6. Putting It Together

    • 7. Exploring the Possibilities

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About This Class

Explore color, texture, and artful geometry in this class, where you’ll learn how to transform a few basic materials into eye-catching, paper cut wall art for any room. Whether you’re new to paper crafts or an experienced designer looking for a hands-on project to get your creative juices flowing, you’ll find something here to inspire you. You'll walk away from this class with a fully assembled and unique paper art piece. 



Meet Your Teacher

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Kristen Magee

Designer, Developer & Notorious Paper Fiend


My name is Kristen Magee, and I'm a freelance graphic designer, web developer, and unabashed paper fiend. I've been blogging about my love for all things paper over on Paper Crave since 2006, though I've had paper fiend-ish tendencies for much longer than that.

In addition to paper crafts and general web geekery, I also have a penchant for hand lettering, needle and felt crafts, polymer clay, and cooking. And I have a serious soft spot for 80's New Wave music.

I live in a teeny town in the wilds of Western Pennsylvania with my husband and our mischievous cat, Moses.

My design and illustration work can be found at

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1. Introduction: Hi, My name is Kristen and I love paper. I'm a freelance Web designer, developer and crafter, and I'm also the editor of the website. People create four have been sharing my love for all things paper since 2006. There are so many reasons why I think that paper is totally awesome. But the biggest reason has to be that it's so incredibly personal. You can cut it, hold it, score it, press it painted, glue it, decorate with it and deconstructed and reconstructed in a countless number of ways. Pretty much the only limit is your imagination. This class will be creating a faceted geometric art piece made from cut paper. It's a great project to help you explore and expand your creativity through paper, color and texture. No matter your skill level or creative background, I'll take you through all of the stages of creating your own unique art piece, from choosing materials and color mediums to creating a faceted geometric pattern. Using simple tools that you probably already have lying around to cutting, coloring and putting together your file piece. I've also included downloadable templates that will help guide you if needed, and add further dimension and interest to your project. All right, Are you ready? Let's get started 2. Gathering Materials: before we begin, our project will need to gather the supplies that will be using. We have a lot of flexibility with this project, especially with color mediums and papers, So just keep in mind that the medium you will use will determine the type of paper that you use. So, for example, I'll be using watercolors for my project, so I'll need to use watercolor paper. Strathmore is Bristol. Smooth is my go to for water coloring, and it's also an excellent paper from Expedia, pen and ink and lots of other mediums that I'll be showing you in a little bit. But for this project, I wanted to do something a little bit different. So I'm going with Strathmore watercolor paper, which is a bit more lightweight and has a more textured surface than the Bristol. I'll be talking a bit more about papers as I show you some of the possible color mediums that you can use in your project. So let's get to those acrylic paints. The Martha Stewart crafts line of acrylic craft paints has a lot of great color choices, other good and easy to find brands of craft. Acrylics are Americana and folk art. But you can also use artistic early paints, too, if that's what you have. Mixed media paper is great for this type of paint, but honestly, I usually just use a heavier weight card stock. Something £80 weight or heavier wash is an opaque watercolor. It's a bit thinner and a little more translucent than acrylic Pete, and you use the same papers for this as you would with regular watercolor. Other watercolor products are pencils or markers, which give you some more control than a paintbrush. I like the intense watercolor pencils, which are actually an ink and are, as the name suggests, very intense. There are also permanent when dry. I also like thes watercolor markers from Windsor and Newton, which come in many of the same colors. Is the regular watercolor paints colored pencils? If you want more even coverage, use a smooth paper like the Strathmore Bristol that I mentioned earlier. Regular card stock is great, too. Markers. I have co pick markers here, which are an alcohol based marker. Nina Solar White card stock is a great option for these, but there are a number of cards stocks that work well with alcohol markers. You can also use water based markers, and a super smooth paper made for markers is one option. Or you can use regular card stock. You don't have to get fancy, though. A box of Crayolas will work great to if that's what you have on hand. I just wanted to show you some of the options that you have. And as you can see, there are many, and you don't need to be an expert in any of these mediums to create an awesome project. I am certainly not an expert with watercolor. As you'll see later. This is about playing and experimenting and seeing what looks cool. You you don't even need to use a single color medium. Mixing and matching can create some really awesome effects, too, in addition to a color medium or mediums and paper. The other materials that you'll need for this project are a ruler, a pencil and an eraser. Pencils with erasers on them are totally fine, but I like these little clique erasers because they pack a lot of erasing power scissors and or paper cutter and glue. You'll also need a paintbrush or any additional supplies that are necessary for your medium of choice. In the next video, we'll create the pattern for our projects 3. Creating the Pattern: in this video will be creating the pattern that will use for our final project. Before we get started, we'll need to decide how large we want our final piece to be. My piece is going to be eight inches by 10 inches. You can make your is the same size or go with another size, like five inches by seven inches to fit a standard size picture frame if you're planning on framing your piece when you're finished. If not, feel free to make your peace any size or shape you like. Grab some paper for your piece, plus an additional piece of paper for the base. Then take your ruler and a pen or pencil and mark the edges of your piece. Cut both pieces of paper to the final size of your piece using scissors or a paper cutter. I'm using a paper cutter here because it makes the process go just a little bit quicker after you've cut the paper. Set it aside for later. Before I started my final piece, I like to make several practice patterns using inexpensive paper like printer paper. Drawing these practice patterns helps give me a better idea about the direction that I like to go in for the final pattern without having to use the more expensive paper that I'll be using for my final projects. - As you can see, I tried a number of different options, including more uniform patterns like these. But I decided that I wanted to go a little bit looser and more random with my project, like I did in this pattern. If you're not comfortable drawing your pattern FREEHAND, feel free to download any of the patterns that I've included with the class documentation and print them onto whatever paper you've chosen for your project. If you're using watercolor paper, keep in mind that you may have to trim it so it fits into your printer. You can always try drawing a freak and pattern later when you're feeling more comfortable with the process. So we're ready to draw our final pattern. Place the practice pattern that you previously chose nearby to use as a guide. While you're drawing, even though you won't be drawing the exact same pattern, it's good to have on hand as a reference. Place the paper for your final piece onto your work surface and use a ruler and a pen or pencil to draw the lines for your pattern. Since my final pattern is looser and more organic looking lines are laid out fairly randomly, I start with the first line and just go from there if only making the pattern. I see an area where I can connect to lines or segments to make a triangle or more defined shape. I'll sometimes do that, but most of the time I'm just doing a connect the dots or lines in this case in a way that I think looks cool. All right, now that we have our pattern, we're ready to go on to the next step, which is cutting the pattern into pieces. Don't be scared. This part is a lot of fun, I promise. 4. Cutting the Pattern: okay, we're ready to cut our pattern into pieces. I know that taking a pristine piece of paper and cutting it up can be kind of intimidating , But it can also be a lot of fun. And remember that we're using a single piece of paper excluding the base for this project. So if you're cutting veers from the lines you've drawn as you cut out the pieces, it'll still match up in the finished piece. See nothing to worry about. Now, if you're a master, it putting puzzles together, you'll probably have no problem remembering which pieces go where my memory is not that good. So if you're in the same boat as I am memory wise, then here a couple of tips for remembering where your pattern pieces go. As you cut the pattern pieces, place him over to the side laid out just like they are in your pattern. This goes a long way and making sure that you won't run into any. Where does this go situations. When you assemble the final projects to make doubly sure that you know where everything goes, you can take a photo of the pattern before you cut anything. Then if you accidentally, he's on the cut pieces and they fly all over the place. There's something equally unfortunate. You'll be able to look at your photo to see where everything is supposed to go. Also, you'll probably notice some pencil lines on the pattern pieces as you cut thumb. If you're using an opaque color medium, no worries. But if you're using something more transparent, like markers or watercolors and don't want these lines to show, break out your eraser and go to town. I wanted some of the lines to show. I thought it would add a little bit of texture to the final piece, so I only erased some of them. When all of our pieces have been cut in laid out, we're ready to move on to the really fun part. The coloring. 5. Coloring: before we get to coloring, let's talk color inspiration. You can find inspiration in so many places. Maybe you want to replicate the colors that you saw in a beautiful sunset the other evening . Or maybe you're really into a sports team and are inspired by their team colors. You can also use different tones in gradations of a single color, and there's always Pinterest. I created a board specifically for gathering color inspiration, and maybe you have one of those two. The possibilities are pretty much endless. I've decided that I want to focus on pinks, peaches and purposely magenta colors for my project. My watercolors, water and paintbrush are ready to go. I also have some paper towels on hand to absorb any excess water as I work in a piece of scrap paper to place underneath the pieces as I paint them so my work surface will stay clean or at least clean ish. If you're using a very wet color medium like water colors and you really want to protect your work surface, you might want to completely cover it with something like butcher paper or even that craft wrapping paper that you confined with the shipping supplies at the grocery store. When you're surfaces prepped, start coloring one piece at a time, making sure to put the pieces back in its place when you're finished, coloring it so you'll be able to more easily assemble your project later. I'm working with a single medium for my project, but there's no reason that you have to. If you want a watercolor, some pieces and use acrylic paints on others. Go for it or color some pieces and leave others un colored. For added contrast. Have fun with it. An experiment You never know what kinds of course, all seal gets. If you're using a medium that needs to dry, allow all of the pieces to dry completely before moving on to the next step, which is putting our piece together. 6. Putting It Together: Now that all of the pattern pieces are completely dry, we're ready to assemble them. Take the base piece that you cut earlier and place it in the middle of your work area. You can apply the glue with your fingers, always a handy choice, or you can use an old, inexpensive paintbrush to paint it on. Whatever works best for you, once we're ready with the glue, will apply it to the back of the first pattern piece. Assembly goes more smoothly if you start with one of the corner pieces, so that's what I always dio. You can place your pieces onto the base paper when you add the glue, but you'll see that after a few pieces it starts to get a little messy. So I just got out a piece of scrap paper and use that for the rest of the pieces. I also picked up some of the pieces here and there and breast the glue on while I was holding them again. It's all about whatever works best for you. After the first pattern, pieces covered with glue it here it to the base. You may need to press it down for several seconds to make sure that it's solidly adhered, especially if you're using watercolor paper, which tends to warp orbits. Continue gluing and adhering each piece of your pattern. It's kind of like putting together a puzzle. So if you enjoy puzzles, then I think you'll really have fun with us. After you've glued all of your pattern pieces to the base, your art piece is finished. Well, almost sometimes everything doesn't come together perfectly. As you can see here, it could be that the base wasn't cut to the exact same size is the pattern. It could also be that there are a few tiny little gaps between the glued pattern pieces, but it's no biggie. If you go into frame your piece, the frame will usually cover up these small imperfections. If not, you can trim the uneven sides with scissors or a paper cutter, and no one will ever know. In addition, if you noticed, the paper starts the warp a bit as the glue dries, you can play Sethi book on top of it for a few hours or overnight. That usually flattens it right out 7. Exploring the Possibilities: before I go, I want to show you some of the different ways that you can apply the technique that we learned in this class. First up, I created this bright and colorful gift tag. I colored it with water based markers and added a die cut sentiment to finish. And here I've created a fun and funky card using metallic craft ing's. I left several fast. It's on colored for added contrast and finished the design with a die cut high element. Finally, I used one of the printable templates from the class to design an art piece in shades of blue. I used dark blue water color just one color and deluded it and concentrated it in different ways for each facet. I also left some facets unpainted for contrast. I'm so glad that you join me for this class, and I hope that you had a lot of fun playing and experimenting during the process of creating your project. Don't forget to upload a photo of your finished project to the gallery. I'm really looking forward to seeing what you create