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The Art of Paper Cutting

Grade Level & Cost

Grade Levels: 5th and up

Length of Program: 1 hour~1 hour 10mins.     

Charge varies depends on the size and number of the workshops




Paper Cutting is one of the most popular folk arts in China. The gaily-decorative cutouts are widely used at festivals, especially during the Chinese New Year period. Pasted on a window, they give the house a holiday air and extend the promise of a happy and bountiful year ahead.

This practice has a long history. In the Tang dynasty (618-907A.D.), the Chinese began to post “Spring Scrolls”: strips of red paper bearing verses of Good Year. This custom evolved into the art of paper cutting. In Chinese these cutouts are called “window flowers.” In the past, houses in Northern China had windows of thin paper made semi-transparent with a coating of Tung Oil. Red paper cutouts were pasted on the windows all year round to give the otherwise bleak rooms a touch of lightness and color. Some families used cutouts to decorate gifts, candy containers, tea sets and table services, especially on holidays. The subject matter of the cutouts is not limited to flowers. It ranges from dragons or grotesque Gods to ferocious animals or anything else fancy suggests. All must be symbolic of good fortune.

About the workshop

With the use of scissors and knifes and multicolored paper, students will learn to create pictures of animals, Chinese characters, flowers and scenes. This activity is an artistic and fun introduction to Chinese Culture. It usually helps the students to build up confidence in learning about the new culture, too. The first thing children will do is to see a variety of finished products from the artist. After working on a paper-cutting project themselves, they find that something that appeared to be so ornate and complicated is actually easy to make!

Chinese paper cutting requires patience and concentration. Through the three-step progress of drawing a design, creating a pattern, and the actual cutting, students find themselves becoming very involved; They begin to wonder what their finished design will look like. Even before they finish, one can observe students shaking their heads, saying, “I can’t believe it. I did a Chinese paper cutting, I did it!” Often one sees a child hold his paper cutting up in the air with a very proud smile. Words of praise come from every corner of the room. This is the highlight of the workshop- children all joyfully supporting one another.

Comments from Students

Paper cutting is a fabulous art that gives a unique feeling of sensation out of seemly ordinary paper. I felt a lovely sensation cutting out plain old paper, to create an unbelievably fantastic new design, filled with the brilliance of the art of paper cutting. It really makes me feel good to create a beautifully gorgeous paper cut out of the ordinary paper. Talya

Paper cutting is so fun that once you start, you don’t want to stop till you are done. I feel that you can express what you feel, in one picture. I really like paper cutting because in the end, all your hard work pays off.  Yitzi

I love paper cutting. It is an art that teaches you many things. It taught me the real meaning of relaxation. It showed me that one can relax but create something beautiful at the same time. Personally, I am not much of an artist, but even my paper cutting looked great. In fact everyone’s paper cutting looked wonderful. Anyone can do this; it’s easy and fun. Hannah Levintova  Grade 6

Chiao Bin is a wonderful person who devotes herself to teach others. Her students admire her cheerfulness and kindness, while she teaches them the history and creation of paper cuts,  Becky Harris  Grade 6 

Paper cutting is very fun and exciting to do. It is not simple to handle. It takes a lot of patients and hard work. When you finish, the result will be even better than you expected. Yan