For my first project, I decided to create a paper diorama. This variation involves layering Kirigami to create a 3D effect. In case you guys are wondering, Kirigami is the Japanese art of paper cutting (from the Japanese "kiru" = to cut, "kami" = paper).

My fingers still hurt from cutting so I'll keep this short, but I promise you guys this is well worth it and that the only reason why my fingers hurt is because my precision knife isn't as sharp as I need it to be.

Things needed:

  • 7 Oslo papers
  • 2 pieces of 21cm × 6cm Oslo paper
  • 2 pieces of 28.5cm × 6cm Oslo paper
  • Adhesive (glue, magic tape, and double sided tape)
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Cutting tools (scissors, precision knife, and cutter)
    Honestly you don't even need the cutter but I'm fussy over things. Haha.
  • Cutting Mat
  • 23.7cm × 16cm printed image of your design

Kirigami Paper Diorama Step 1 - Gibberish
Step 1. Usually I'd draw my design but got lazy at the thought of redrawing it 6 times. Anyway, start off by defining the layers of your image. Y'know? Like which one's the foreground, background, mid-ground and such.

Kirigami Paper Diorama Step 2 - Gibberish
Step 2. Cut off the excess paper (the parts without print).

Kirigami Paper Diorama Step 3a - Gibberish Kirigami Paper Diorama Step 3b - Gibberish
Step 3. Place 1cm margins on the sides of each Oslo paper. These will be the flaps that separate the layers. Then snip the edges so it doesn't bulk and crease once folded.

Kirigami Paper Diorama Step 4 - Gibberish
Step 4. Stick the image onto the center of the Oslo paper. Use magic tape to temporarily hold it in place.

Kirigami Paper Diorama Step 5 - Gibberish
Step 5. With the precision knife, trace the details of your image. (My image is in grayscale because I personally think it's easier to stencil.) If you have trouble tracing with the knife, use pencil to trace the image and etch on the Oslo paper. You can then remove the image and directly cut the paper.

Step 6. Repeat step 4 and 5 for each layer. The last layer will just be a plain sheet to close the diorama.

Kirigami Paper Diorama Step 7 - Gibberish
Step 7. Mark 1cm intervals on the 21cm × 6cm and 28.5cm × 6cm pieces to guide you on where to tape the flaps.

Kirigami Paper Diorama Step 8a - Gibberish Kirigami Paper Diorama Step 8b - Gibberish
Step 8. This is the exciting part. Fold the flaps and tape them on the marked pieces. You will start to see your diorama form 😀 (You can actually use glue for this but I like sticky tapes. Haha. Also, if you overdo the glue, it warps the paper and will ruin your measurements.)

Kirigami Paper Diorama Finished Output - Gibberish
Step 9. Provide back lighting for the finished product. This step is unnecessary but adds a pretty cool and artsy-fartsy look for your diorama. Haha.

Conclusion. I'm actually happy with the result but I have learned some things I wish I knew before starting.

1. You may have noticed that I cut my image in half and paired different pieces together. I printed my image with inkjet and that didn't turn out well for me. The ink blotted and erased details on my image. I had to calibrate and print multiple times, so use laser printing.

2. In the end, Oslo paper was too flimsy for my liking. I thought it would be a better option than illustration board which is pretty damn hard - wrong. I suggest using a folder instead, easy to cut but not as flimsy as paper.

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