Guild of American Papercutters

      Turning cut paper into art....

Books and Starter Kits

Many papercutters are self-taught and started by cutting out simple pre-printed patterns.  Books on the subject of papercutting provided inspiration, historical perspective, and samples.  Of course, GAP members also have access to an archive of past Gap publications that provide a wealth of information and examples of various types of papercutting from many different countries.

A wide variety of commercial papercutting patterns are available for use, whether you are a beginner or advanced cutter.  The resources below are only a small selection of those now available in the market place but have been recommended by our members.

Papercuttings by Allison:

Books dedicated primarily to the art of papercutting range from how-to texts and collections of easy-to-cut templates, to books on the history of papercutting and its numerous regional variations around the world.

The following books have been recommended by GAP members:

Scherenschnitte by Susanne Schlaepfer-Geiser, published in 1994 in German and 1996 in English.  Considered a classic, this book provides both a thorough overview of materials and techniques and a history of the art covering the primary countries in which papercutting has become popular.  The book contains many examples of wonderful pieces created by the author and some of the most famous papercutters in history.

Mastering Silhouettes by Charles Burns published in 2012 by Stackpole Books, Mechanicsburg, PA.  A comprehensive book covering all forms of silhouette art using profiles of famous silhouette artists and their particular methods and styles.  Projects are included to allow students to learn and practice the forms of silhouettes illustrated by the artists.  One oddity:  there is no mention of Etienne de Silhouette, who gave his name to this art form.

Book Resources at The GAP National Museum

Anyone who visits the GAP National Museum at the Laurel Arts Dressler Center in Somerset, PA will find a selection of 50 books on papercutting located in the main office.  This collection of books is a perfect complement to the second floor gallery exhibits.  Although the books cannot be "signed out", visitors may examine them while visiting the museum.  Just sign the log for a volume or two and find a quiet place to peruse the contents.  Among the books, you will find volumes on early Pennsylvania German Fraktur, traditional Jewish paper cuttings, colorful Polish forms, contemporary American and European examples, and even how-to books for cutting things like snowflakes.  Volumes in foreign languages and rare, out-of-date texts are available by pre-arranged appointment. 

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The Guild is a tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The operation of the Guild of American Papercutters is accomplished entirely by volunteers, with no member or officer receiving any payment for their work.

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