Cut Paper Father’s Day Card

14 Jun

This is one of the only times that I haven’t been home to celebrate Father’s Day with my dad. (Las Vegas suddenly feels impossibly far away!)

I wanted to send him something kind of special – but he’s the kind of guy who just buys stuff when he needs/wants it. And he’s definitely not the kind of guy who wants sports gear (he still uses a weight set that is at least 30 years old), or movies – and none of that is special, anyway.

But art… art is special.

Since I’ve been experimenting a lot with cut paper lately, I thought it might be kind of cool to make a card for him (with the added benefit of avoiding the card racks at Target). The beach has been a special place for my family since before I was born. At least twice a year (Spring Break and Thanksgiving) we all gathered, even when my sister and I moved away. And what is my dad’s favorite thing to do at the beach? Fish. Well, it’s kind of pretend fishing. If he puts the poles in the water, he can sit down on the beach and smoke his cigar in peace.

All of that was the inspiration for this card:


It started with a simple sketch. I love really graphic, bold shapes, so I chose to incorporate those as much as possible – as in the clouds. You can see that I’ve placed little X’s on all the spots that are going to be cut out. Without this, I am a lost paper cutter – once you get down close and see only lines, it is incredibly easy for your eyes to shift, and then it’s all over.


And here is the piece halfway through. With my first ever paper cut, I learned that you must start at the center and work outwards, especially if you have delicate linework. Otherwise, the movement of your hand back and forth across the paper turns those lines to mush. (We don’t talk about that experience anymore.)

This was the end product. I broke out my watercolors and spent a few hours (yes, hours!) creating the perfect color and texture for the background, which also forms the rest of the card.


But, of course it needed an envelope. A sheet of vellum coated with matte gel medium turned out to be just about perfect (although you can see here my distaste for actually measuring things). I used a piece of colored tracing paper to cover the card inside the envelope, both for extra protection and to preserve the surprise!

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8 Responses to “Cut Paper Father’s Day Card”

  1. Cathy June 14, 2012 at 12:48 pm #

    Gorgeous! I too made Dad a Father’s Day card… one with a lion that said “Wild about you!”… isn’t card making great! I love that I can spend hours on just one… oh, and i hate that about it too (when I need to make a lot!)

    • Megan June 14, 2012 at 6:56 pm #

      how wonderful! he is going to love it!

  2. Stacy @ Stacyverb June 14, 2012 at 2:44 pm #

    Amazing! I loved seeing your various steps along the way. When I saw how you put the X’s in the area to be cut, I suddenly understood the process so much better.

    • Megan June 14, 2012 at 6:56 pm #

      those x’s are an absolute must for me. or shading. otherwise my eyes-to-brain messages get totally tangled and disaster ensues!

  3. Sandy Ward June 15, 2012 at 3:23 pm #

    I think I’ve stared at this card on and off for an hour since you posted. It’s amazing – a true keepsake for the ages. Your dad’s in Durham, right? If I see a rainbow over the northern sky, I’ll know your dad just opened his card.

    Bravo!

    • Megan June 16, 2012 at 4:18 pm #

      he is in durham, yes! thank you so much. 🙂

  4. bibliomichelle June 15, 2012 at 7:27 pm #

    So intricate. Love, love, love this. He is going to love it, too. (and give yourself a pat on the back)

    • Megan June 16, 2012 at 4:17 pm #

      thank you so much! i hope he loves it!

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