DIY Paper-cutout Wall Art

Happy Thursday, ladies! Today, I’m excited to share a really cool home decor DIY project from Lizzi & Mary Bradley of Little Minnow Designs. These DIY girls will try just about anything. They love typography, breakfast tacos, pretty fabric, tea and screen printing. If you live in the Austin area, you may see them bopping around, selling their work. Not a local? Be sure to check out their Etsy store!

In the meantime, enjoy the guest post…


Looking for the perfect print to accent your living room? Distract your guests from the dust bunnies on the floor? (We know, we know, they just come back so fast!) Steal the attention from that hideous rug you are dying to replace? Looking for a way to spice up your kitchen? Well, well, you’ve come to the right place. If you have an empty frame, an empty wall, or just a need for some quality crafting time, then buckle up.

You will need:

  • A picture frame
  • Paper for cutouts (a variety of designs and colors – see Step 1 for details)
  • Paper for background (to fit the size of your frame or mat)
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Double-sided tape, adhesive dots or spray adhesive (no water-based glue)


  • Ruler
  • Stencils

Step 1: Gather supplies.

Head to your local craft or scrapbooking store for some fun paper. Pick a variety of designs and colors – you may select colors to match or accent your home décor, or just a nice and random variety (get a little crazy). You also need paper for the background – this needs to fit your frame so if it is larger than the standard 12×12 or 8.5×11, find a nice shade in the appropriate size. We tend to think neutrals look best if you are going to use a lot of patterns in your cutouts. (However, you could do the reverse of this with neutral colors on a wild print.) If you are thinking of a particular design, text, or shape, and are not confident in your drawing skills, you could grab a couple of stencils as well.

Now it is time to get started! Throw on a pair of comfortable pants, grab yourself a cup of tea and put on your favorite playlist – it’s crafting time.

Step 2: Plan your design.

Chances are if you are at this point in the project, you have an idea of what type of design you would like to make. Our favorite part about this project is its versatility. You can create a design and color scheme to go with nearly any décor. If however, you are still stumped, we have provided a couple of ideas to get you started. (Don’t worry if you can’t draw them!)

Patterns: stripes of different widths, triangles placed at alternating angles, dots varying in size, a combination of several shapes repeating, etc.

Shapes: animals, flowers, leaves, trees, lightening bolts, kitchen utensils, boats, anchors, teacups, etc.

Words: names, favorite quotes, or phrases like “hello there”, “cheers!”

We suggest drawing a small sketch of your design idea before you begin. For our project, we are doing three coordinating frames to be hung on the same wall.

Step 3: Trace and cut out.

Now that you’ve got your design, it is time to cut out your pieces. For any shape that you are not comfortable drawing, or are going to cut multiples of, you are going to want a stencil. You can make basic stencils or tracing forms yourself by cutting shapes out of scrap paper or cardboard. Simple shapes like circles and squares can be made with a ruler or by tracing an object like a cup or vase. For more complex shapes like a tyrannosaurus rex, a teakettle, or a specific font, you may want to print a simple outline or the text off the computer, cut it out and use it as a stencil.

With the stencil, you can trace your shape again and again. Do this on the back of the paper (to avoid pencil lines on the pretty side) and remember that all shapes will be backwards when you flip them over! This doesn’t matter for shapes like circles and squares but if you want your t-rex facing left, trace in on the back of the paper facing the right (the same goes for text).

After you are done tracing, you may begin cutting out your shapes. Try to keep the lines smooth and watch out for your fingers – you need them in the next step!

Just because we have made this mistake before…a second reminder to cut text out backwards!

Step 4: Mount.

After everything has been cut out, you can start to rearrange the pieces on the larger piece of paper for the background. Does one pattern feel out of place? It’s not too late to replace it. Need a little something extra to fill a void? Fix it. Nothing is final until you start mounting…and even then adjustments can be made.

Looks good? We knew you had it in you. Now, let’s make it official. To mount the cutouts, use an adhesive like double-sided tape or spray adhesive. These methods will work better than Elmer’s or a glue stick, which may leave your paper looking a bit wrinkled. Yuck. With the double-sided tape, just place a few small pieces around the back of the cutout, making sure all limbs and hanging bits will be secured to your background paper. For spray adhesive, take your cutouts to a well-ventilated area, place them pretty-side down, and spray them lightly (as directed on the can). Once ready, you can adhere your cutouts to the background paper.

Step 5: Frame, hang and show off.

Voila! You have created a masterpiece. No one, and we mean no one, has a piece of wall art identical to yours. So original, you are. Place this beauty into a frame and hang it up. Sit back, relax, and admire.

4 Comments on DIY Paper-cutout Wall Art

  1. Brenda
    April 27, 2011 at 10:33 am (4 years ago)

    What a cute idea! I’m totally loving the whimsical vintagey paper. Definitely putting this one in the file for future home decor…:-)

    • Nicole
      April 27, 2011 at 1:30 pm (4 years ago)

      Same here! Such a cool idea!

  2. Natalie Wi
    April 27, 2011 at 1:26 pm (4 years ago)

    These are so cute! I’m going to make them with my daughter for her room this summer!

    • Nicole
      April 27, 2011 at 1:31 pm (4 years ago)

      Aww..Fun :)


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