Emulating Kirie Japanese Paper Cutting with Polymer Clay

Kirie is the art of making pictures by cutting paper, which took root in Japan in the 7th century as an import from the Chinese mainland. It is an intricate artform that is often sculptural. By mimicking Kirie with polymer clay, we can transform it into pieces we can wear daily, such as earrings, or frame up a slab as wall art.

photo of almost completed Kirie

With your pasta machine, roll out a sheet of translucent clay on the thickest setting and a sheet of white clay at the number 5 or 6 setting. Press the thin sheet of white clay to the tile so that it adheres onto the surface with no air bubbles trapped. This will help you cut the sheet with precision without it moving around.

Use your Exacto knife to carve out the shapes you want, cutting in clean lines. For this design, we are making leaf shapes.

Etch out the negative spaces in the pieces, being careful not to leave each portion too thin.

 After carving all the pieces you want, pull away the excess clay around the shapes.

No, gently use your Exacto knife to pull out the tinier parts to reveal the negative space of the cut outs.

Lay the cut outs onto your translucent polymer clay slab, and lightly tap on them to improve adherence of the clay… and you have your Kirie piece!

Written by Sculpey Design Squad Member Anna and Bull


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