Guild of American Papercutters

 founded 1988


Papercutters use a variety of papers ranging in size, weight and material; special silhouette paper (black/white smooth or with a velvet finish on one side), Canson papers, handmade traditional mulberry papers from Japan and China, watercolor papers, various colors and textures of art paper — some have even experimented with oversize outdoor installations using Tyvek — a flexible but durable material used as an exterior weather barrier in new home construction.

The choice of material will be dictated by the style, size and purpose of the design and can often simply be a personal preference after trying many different papers. The sources below are only a small selection of those now available in the marketplace; they have been recommended by our members. Feel free to contact us with your recommendations also!

Papercuttings by Alison Alison Tanner, with her mother and business partner Gloria Cosgrove, started creating and selling scherenschnitt style papercutting stencils and patterns of all kinds in Plymouth, New Hampshire, in 1984, and has been going strong ever since, on line as well as in the real world. She and her staff offer an amazing array of clever and creative designs for all levels of papercutting expertise. Says Joan Amundsen: “Alison Tanner is one of the biggest and best suppliers of patterns, scissors, paper and anything else you will need to complete a project. Go to her site… and check out all of her current patterns.” (Joan especially recommends the ornament pattern assortment K-45, a set of 20 three-dimensional designs, rated easy to intermediate skill level, including dove and chickadee patterns that are great for younger children to cut.) Adds Joan: “Papercuttings by Alison grows every year, due always to new popularity (“I’m so glad I found you!”) and to the work of fellow artist/enthusiasts, mother Gloria and father Donald, Frank Joest, Claudia Hopf, Rick James Marzullo, Gertrude Richter, Alice Helen Masek, Betty Christy, husband Chuck, and many members of The Guild of American Papercutters.”

Paper Panda Louise Firchau is the founder and owner of this art and craft supply chain, based in the UK, that offers papercutting kits and books, classes of all kinds, paper and papercutting tools, and much more; ships worldwide.

eNasco This large purveyor of art and crafting supplies, among other things, has silhouette paper, available in packs of 25 sheets, that is highly recommended by some of our members. Good silhouette paper usually is black on one side, white on the other, smooth, and thin enough to be quickly and accurately cut. Ships worldwide.

Dick Blick Art Supplies This large art supply chain, with headquarters in Illinois, is the go-to for many of our members for paper and papercutting tools and other supplies. Like some other large chains, Dick Blick offers community art support, and often donates to local schools.

Utrecht Art Supplies This large art supply chain, born in Brooklyn in 1949, offers a wide array of papers, as well as papercutting tools and other supplies. Occasionally stocks handmade papers from around the world.

Washi Arts Focuses on Japanese papers of all kinds, for industrial and small artist use, architectural, graphic design, interior design, letterpress, etc. They sell handmade papers in all the traditional styles. The website for Washi Arts offers a valuable resource page that explains varieties of paper, and describes techniques for using Japanese papers with a variety of media in a range of disciplines. Based in Japan and the west coast of the U.S., but Washi Arts attends conferences around the world, and ships worldwide. They partner with Nancy Jacobi’s The Japanese Paper Place.

Material Concepts This large supplier services mainly industrial customers; for papercutters, they are a good source for Tyvek, as well as perforated underlay paper, and other papers used in machine cutting. Tyvek is used by some papercutting and crankie silhouette artists, e.g. Katherine Fahey, as a way of adding texture to a lighted background.

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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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