Art History Lab

Discover the Fascinating Art of Kirigami: Techniques, History, and Benefits

Introduction to Kirigami Art

Have you ever tried your hand at kirigami, the Japanese art of paper cutting? If not, you’re in for a treat! Kirigami is a fun and engaging craft that’s perfect for anyone looking to improve their motor skills, focus, and creativity.

In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the world of kirigami, exploring its origins, materials, and techniques. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, this article has something for everyone!

Definition of Kirigami

Kirigami is a Japanese paper cutting art that involves folding and cutting paper to create intricate three-dimensional designs. While it’s often compared to origami, which involves only folding paper, kirigami takes things to the next level by introducing cutting into the mix.

This often results in stunning designs that spring to life when the paper is opened up and displayed.

Materials needed for Kirigami Art

One of the great things about kirigami is that it’s a relatively simple craft to get started with. All you need is some paper, a pair of scissors or a craft knife, and a surface to work on.

When it comes to paper, there are many different types and thicknesses you can use, from regular printer paper to more specialized varieties like origami or washi paper. Scissors or a craft knife are necessary for cutting the paper.

A sharp pair of scissors will work, but a craft knife can make more precise cuts and help you achieve the level of detail needed for more intricate designs.

Process of creating Kirigami Art

The process of creating kirigami art involves three main steps: folding, cutting, and sometimes gluing. First, the paper is folded into a specific pattern or design.

This can be a relatively simple pattern, such as a single fold down the center to create a card, or a more complex design like a flower or animal. Next, the paper is carefully cut along the folded edges.

This can be done with scissors or a craft knife, depending on the desired level of precision. It’s important to cut only the folded edges and not the open edges of the paper, as this can cause the design to fall apart before it’s completed.

Finally, the paper is unfolded and opened up to reveal the finished design. Depending on the particular kirigami project, the paper may need to be secured with glue or other adhesives to keep the design intact.

Benefits of Kirigami art

Aside from being a fun and engaging craft to work on, kirigami offers a number of benefits. For one, it can help improve motor skills and hand-eye coordination, as cutting and folding paper requires a certain level of dexterity.

Additionally, engaging in the creative process of designing and making kirigami can boost focus and concentration, as well as provide an outlet for self-expression.

History of Kirigami Art

Origins of Kirigami and its relation to Origami

While kirigami may seem like a relatively new craft, its origins can be traced back to Buddhist temples in China. Monks would use paper cutouts, known as jianzhi, to decorate temple walls and windows.

This practice eventually spread to Japan, where it evolved into kirigami. Kirigami and origami are often compared and contrasted, as both involve working with paper to create intricate designs.

However, while origami involves only folding paper, kirigami introduces cutting into the mix, allowing for more complex and multi-dimensional designs.

Development and use of washi paper

One key component of kirigami is the paper itself. In Japan, traditional washi paper made from mulberry pulp has been used for centuries for a variety of purposes, including kirigami.

Washi paper is known for its durability, texture, and quality, and is often used in conjunction with other materials like silk or bamboo to create beautiful works of art. Washi paper has a long and storied history in Japan, with roots in Shinto culture.

The paper was originally used to wrap sacred objects, and later was used for writing and printing as well. Today, washi paper is used in a variety of applications, from traditional arts like kirigami and calligraphy to modern fashion and interior design.

Influence of Kirigami art beyond Japan

While kirigami may have its roots in Japan, the craft has spread far and wide across the globe. In Europe, for example, the art of silhouette portrait cutting became popular in the 18th and 19th centuries, with artists creating intricate portraits from paper using only a pair of scissors.

In Switzerland, nuns at a convent in the 19th century began making kirigami designs as a way to supplement their income. Their intricate designs became popular with tourists, and helped to spread the art and practice of kirigami to a wider audience.


As we’ve seen, kirigami is a fascinating and fun art form that has a rich history and a bright future. Whether you’re looking to improve your motor skills, focus, or creativity, or simply looking for a new hobby to try out, kirigami offers something for everyone.

So why not give it a try today and see what kind of stunning designs you can create?

Kirigami Artists

Kirigami is an intricate art form that has captured the imaginations of artists worldwide. From colorful paper cutouts to delicate paper cutting that brings sea creatures to life, kirigami artists have created some truly breathtaking works.

Here are a few notable kirigami artists to check out:

Seiji Fujishiro

Seiji Fujishiro is a contemporary kirigami artist from Japan. His colorful paper cutouts often depict scenes from everyday life, with an emphasis on nature and the environment.

Fujishiro’s work is characterized by his use of symmetry and vivid colors, resulting in bold and vibrant designs that are both playful and thought-provoking.

Nahoko Kojima

Nahoko Kojima is a UK-based artist who specializes in creating intricate three-dimensional sculptures using kirigami techniques. Her work often features animals and other natural elements, with an emphasis on detailed textures and intricate patterns.

Kojima’s sculptures are frequently displayed in galleries and museums around the world, and have won numerous awards and accolades.

Pippa Dyrlaga

Pippa Dyrlaga is a contemporary artist from Yorkshire, England, who creates stunning kirigami works inspired by nature. Her intricate designs often feature animals, plants, and landscapes, with an emphasis on texture and detail.

Dyrlaga’s work has been featured in a number of galleries and exhibitions, and she has attracted a dedicated following of fans and collectors.

Masayo Fukuda

Masayo Fukuda is a kirigami artist from Japan who specializes in creating delicate paper cuttings of sea creatures and animals. Her designs are characterized by their intricate details and lifelike qualities, as well as by the delicate balance that she achieves between positive and negative space.

Fukuda’s work has been featured in numerous magazines and exhibitions around the world, and she is widely regarded as one of the top kirigami artists working today.

Kanako Abe

Kanako Abe is a Japanese kirigami artist who draws inspiration from the natural world. Her work often features floral patterns and other natural elements, with an emphasis on intricate details and precise cutting techniques.

Abe’s designs are both elegant and playful, and have been featured in galleries and exhibitions around the world.

Easy Kirigami Projects

If you’re interested in trying your hand at kirigami, there are plenty of projects that are perfect for beginners. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Kirigami Uses and Applications

Kirigami has a wide variety of uses and applications. It can be used in scrapbooking to add a pop of three-dimensional interest to your pages, or as unique gift wrapping to make your presents stand out.

It can also be used to create wall art that adds color and texture to your home, or as festive Christmas decorations.

Materials and Tools Required for Kirigami

To get started with kirigami, you’ll need a few basic materials and tools. These include a sharp knife, sharp tip scissors, ruler, cutting board, and different types of paper.

While you can use regular printer paper, washi paper or origami paper often works best, as they are easy to fold and cut.

Guidelines and Tips for Creating Kirigami Art

Creating kirigami art requires a certain level of expertise and skill. Here are some guidelines and tips to help you get started:


Choose the right paper: Different types of paper have different qualities that can affect the final result of your kirigami design. Washi paper is often the best choice, as it is durable yet easy to fold and cut.

2. Score before cutting: Scoring the paper before cutting can help you achieve more precise folds and cuts.

3. Follow common folds: Many kirigami designs use common folds, such as the mountain and valley folds, to create specific shapes and patterns.

Becoming familiar with these folds can help you create more complex designs. 4.

Use a ruler: A ruler can help you make straight cuts and ensure that your design is symmetrical. 5.

Practice cutting techniques: There are many different cutting techniques you can use in kirigami, including straight cuts, curved cuts, and angled cuts. Practicing these techniques can help you achieve the level of detail and precision needed for more complex designs.


Kirigami is a fascinating art form that offers endless possibilities for creativity and self-expression. Whether you’re just starting out or are an experienced artist, there’s always something new to discover and create in the world of kirigami.

So why not give it a try today and see where your creativity takes you? Kirigami art is a beautiful and intricate form of paper cutting that has been enjoyed for centuries.

By folding and cutting paper, artists create incredible three-dimensional designs that can be incorporated into a range of projects such as scrapbooking, gift wrapping, wall art, and Christmas decorations. With the right materials, tools, and techniques, anyone can try their hand at kirigami and create stunning designs like those of talented artists such as

Seiji Fujishiro,

Nahoko Kojima, and

Pippa Dyrlaga.

Through exploring the history, benefits, and techniques of kirigami, this article highlights the endless possibilities the art offers for creativity and self-expression.

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