Workshop Diary - 24th February 2018

Workshop Diary 24th February 2018

This Saturday I was joined by a LOVELY group of women as ever (I have yet to welcome anyone on my paper cutting workshops that is anything BUT lovely to be honest) all here to learn the art of papercutting here at Kyleigh’s Papercuts HQ in Dorset.

First to arrive to the shop was Sarah from Sixpenny Handley. A wonderfully funny amazing ball-of-energy of a lady - all smiles.

Next to arrive was Clare from Ringwood - just as smiley as Sarah but who happened to be your local neighbourhood tax inspector! (No, honestly Clare, of course I declare all my cash!)

Last to arrive was Jenny - a glamorous grandma who seems to be such a busy bee in retirement - current obsession making bead and wire trees.

embarking on the practise sheets


SO with tea/coffee in hand, I started by introducing the scalpels in front of them.
(When you book yourself onto a paper cutting workshop the tools are included - a cutting mat, scalpel blades and two different scalpels, no expense spared! they’re what I use and they are AMAZING)

I taught them how to remove an old blade in a Swann-Moreton scalpel.
Followed by how to insert a new blade - no pliers or machine needed. It’s just how I’ve done it for 20+ years!

( In case you’re wondering, I made a little video about How to Insert a Scalpel Blade which you can watch HERE over on YouTube )

Before we can get going PROPERLY with a gorgeous papercut, I got them working through my papercutting practise sheets. I designed the practise sheets to start off by gently cutting easy shapes and gradually build up to the more intricate stuff.
It enables you to get a feel for the pressure needed for the blade to cut through the paper, I mean, you don’t need white knuckles!! And on the flip side, you don’t want to be pressing too light either.

Thoughts on the practise sheets at every workshop:

Practise sheet 1: “Oh ok.. I can do this…”
Practise sheet 2: “oooh! bunting!”
Practise sheet 3: “my god. Really? ARGH!”

Then at the end of the day:
“Hey remember the practise sheets and how we thought they were hard?
Look at the papercut we’ve cut today! WE ROCK!

But I’m getting ahead of myself… so we work through the practise sheets:

Jenny working on practise sheet 3

So we work through the three practice sheets, chatting, getting to know one another and drinking tea. There’s always lots of tea. And biscuits. Sweet baby Jesus the biscuits… Waitrose finest, dear reader.

Sarah and I are cutting family trees, so the practice sheets I designed for the Papercut Family Tree Workshops are different to the Introduction to Papercutting Workshop practice sheets.

They’re all teeny tiny leaf holes and branches… starting big and getting smaller and smaller so that when you embark on your tree (pre-designed for you by me, natch) you’re SO ready to go.

The practice sheets for the Clare and Jenny work on as part of my Introduction to Papercutting Workshop are more centred around cutting letterforms, hearts and swirls you’ll find in my templates. So when they choose the template to cut that day, (currently a choice of 26 but growing all the time) they have the necessary scalpel skills to really make an amazing job of it.

I find that if you were to get straight into a papercutting template without first spending all morning on the practice sheets, you’re more likely to go wrong, rip it, or generally make a bit of a pigs ear out of it.

So mess up on the practice sheets. Then you’ll be ready for the main papercut!
But even then – it’s just a bit of paper, what can go wrong?

With the practice sheets completed Jenny and Clare embark on the next step up – a little ‘Love’ papercut template. They literally lap it up. You can hear a pin drop.

Jenny working on the LOVE papercut
Clare working on the LOVE papercut
Jenny completes the LOVE papercut
Clare completes the LOVE papercut

I get going cutting the prize for the February giveaway I ran on the week leading up to this workshop over on my facebook page. I do this before every monthly workshop – you can win your own personalised family tree designed and handcut by me.

I figure I’m cutting alongside my workshoppers during the workshop – I may as well cut something and give it away rather than just for the lolz.

This months winner was Laura (congratulations Laura!) and I designed her family tree with 4 names on Friday and printed the template onto a beautiful flecked cream paper which happens to be my favourite to cut. Bliss!


hand cut papercut family tree
cutting the papercut family tree

At 12.30 I have to tear myself away from the papercutting table and lay the table for lunch. With the temperature outside positively ARCTIC, I decided against sitting outside by the river and plumped for a cosy lunch table in the shop.

Bang on queue lunch is served by the Riverside Café next door.

Always a treat, they’ve been providing workshop lunches for the three years I have been running workshops – and they always go down well. But by GOD Jenny’s jacket potato was bigger than my HEAD! (I didn't take any pics of lunch on Saturday! gah! but here's a pic from a previous workshop… NOM!)

tuna jacket potato workshop lunch

With tummies full of lunch (I believe it was cheese, ham, pineapple toastie for one, brie, bacon and cranberry baguette for another and cheese and beans jacket potato for t’other) we head back to the papercutting table – remembering to WASH HANDS!! We don’t want greasy food crap all over our nice paper do we ladies?

So while they were eating lunch I covered the blackboard wall with the 26 or so templates they can choose to cut. It really is an eclectic mix… and I’m adding to the ctemplate collection all the time.

When it was Clares turn to choose she simply said “It’s all too mcuh! I want to cut it all. There’s too much choice!” or words to that effect…

Sarah was all skilled up and ready to get going on her family tree. She has 6 names on hers so has her work cut out… but as I always say – it’s all about the journey.

Sarah starts cutting her family tree
post lunch papercutting
Clare embarks on her GIN papercut
Jenny embarks on her papercut

So there was cutting... and more cutting…
And nattering… and laughing…

OH! And (this’ll date it if you’re reading this in 2019 or beyond) we played The Greatest Showman soundtrack and were all singing along. I mean, how cool is that?

Man I love my job.


cutting a family tree papercut workshop
papercutting gin papercut at workshop
papercutting workshop half way through

3pm was upon us quick as a flash and that meant only one thing:

I pulled myself away from cutting the family tree and cleared a space in the shop in readiness. And BAM! Right on cue there they were from Riverside Café next door, begging to come in with plate after plate of delicious homemade cakes.

I don’t know why, but there’s always SO many!

Lisa knows exactly how many people are on each workshop – this workshop was a little one with only 3 people plus me but still there were LOADS OF CAKES.

Again, I didn’t take any pics of the cakes as usual because right at that moment two ladies came into the shop to book themselves onto my May 26th Workshop so I was a bit preoccupied with them to take any. And by the time they had booked on and left, there was a significant dent in the plates of cakes that would perhaps make less of a good photo.

But here’s a pic of the cakes from a previous workshop:

cakes at papercut workshop

After obviously washing our creamy jammy hands we carried on for the last hour of papercutting.

Clare, I am pleased to say, finished her ‘I make GIN disappear what’s your superpower?’ papercut and it looked AMAZING.

Well done Clare!

papercutting workshop cutting gin papercut

And of course I had to make her pose with the Hendricks bottle...

clare and her gin papercut and gin

Each of them (including Sarah who was on the Family Tree workshop) were able to choose another two templates in a colour of their choosing to take home with them in their personalised pack.

Again.. this was a massive decision for Clare. Who plumped for choosing another three, and paying separately for the third one. There was a tax inspector joke about it DEFINITELY going through the books. Oh how we laughed.


sarah and her paper moustache

Then, creeping up ever so slowly came 4 o’clock.
We over-ran slightly, but then we always do.
It is so hard to stop papercutting once you start, I find.

They bundle up against the biting cold.
Their wonderful papercut work tucked safely on cardboard and cello bags to keep safe. We hug goodbye.
Turn the volume up on Spotify. I wash up the plates and cups.

I finish the last little bit of the family tree for the facebook giveaway winner...

papercut family tree finished
finished family tree cut by hand

Another successful papercut workshop.
I feel nothing but GRATITUDE for a lovely day spent with an ever growing girl tribe of my mutha cutters.

Next workshop: (2 spaces left) Saturday 17th March 2018 BOOK HERE

Or I've got a mini evening workshop on Tuesday 20th March you can BOOK HERE

Comment if you have any questions - or contact me

Kyleigh x