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Hand cutting paper has become a popular craft lately particularly amongst illustrators. Whilst methods vary, details are generally cut into sheets of paper using a pair of scissors or a scalpel. Hand drawings can be easily duplicated to form templates for cutting. Some of the designs that we have seen are so mind blowingingly intricate it comes at quite a shock when you hear that they have been hand crafted. Hina Aoyama’s beautiful work springs to mind. She describes the process of creating these delicate pieces as “stress relieving.” Whilst we admire the dedication and persistence of this craft, laser cutting your paper designs is a timesaving alternative.

Kirstie Allsopp’s production company Raise The Roof recently got in touch for this reason. Kirstie’s Vintage Homes, a new series on Channel 4 as the name suggests, helps people “turn their houses into homes, with a bit of vintage inspiration, their own bare hands, and that little bit of homemade magic.”

For last nights episode ‘bare hands’ were initially used to create wedding invitations – a simple paper cut card design that definitely had that vintage look! A hand drawing was used as a template to scalpel out the white negative space between the lettering from a cream card.

The realisation that producing more than 80 invites would take literally hours and hours of scapeling prompted an alternative solution for production – laser cutting! Converting a hand drawing to a vector drawing is actually a fairly straightforward exercise. A scanned image is taken into Adobe Illustrator and Live Traced

The vectors are then converted to outlines ready for cutting. The laser will follow the paths of the vector to cut. A design that previously would take up to an hour to produce just one will now take a few minutes on the laser.

The crispness of the cut is also surprisingly similar to a hand cut design. Whilst the laser is delicately burning through the card to cut, burn marks are minimal and in most cases unnoticeable. Definitely a worthy timesaving alternative to hand cutting when producing volumes of a single design are involved.

To find out more about this technique feel free to get in touch.

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