Kiri-e: Paper Cutting as Art

The elaborate technique is like origami but twice the fun

Creativity 3 min read Sep 25, 2019

If you’ve ever tried origami and like a good creative challenge, kirigami should be right up your alley. In fact, you may not know it but you are no stranger to this intricate craft.

Remember those paper doll chains,  snowflakes, and masks you used to make in pre-school? Kirigami or kiri-e (from the Japanese words kiru and kami, meaning “to cut paper”) involves the same process of folding a piece of paper symmetrically (much like origami) and then using a craft knife or scissors to create your design. You can use kiri-e on pop-up cards, bookmarks, and mobiles - all great projects for beginners!

Kirigami with Mabina Alaka

The two arts are similar in many ways. But unlike in origami where it is practically a no-no, paper cutting is precisely what defines the practice of kiri-e. Happily, Japanese designer Mabina Alaka happens to be quite well-versed in both.

Born in Japan, Mabina inherited her love for the arts from an equally creative grandmother. She traveled for a while before finally settling in Brisbane, where she now teaches from her studio; runs workshops at venues like the Queensland State Library and Hands on Brisbane; and sells her accessories at the Gallery of Modern Art and online shops.

Learn the art of paper cutting
Hands On Brisbane

Hands On Brisbane