• Ms. I. Centofanti

German Scherenschnitte

Updated: May 13, 2020

Students tackled the art of paper cutting (Scherenschnitte) with the confidence of a pro!

This lesson began with a fun-to-say foreign word and a little history!

Scherenschnitte (the art of paper cutting) is the German word for “scissor cuts” or “scissor snips”.

This art form originated in China at the dawn of the invention of paper (around 100 A.D). From China it spread to Europe and eventually became a popular art tradition in Germany, Holland, and other countries. In the 18th century, Dutch immigrants brought the custom to Colonial America, namely Pennsylvania. Here in America, it has flourished in the form of silhouettes, valentines, Christmas decorations, and countless other lovely decorative pieces.

Scherenschnitte involves drawing a design or scene on flat or folded paper (folded paper yields symmetrical designs), then, using scissors to carefully cut away portions. What’s left behind is the scene or design now in an intricate, lace-like form.

Students were given the option to create their own design or use a template. For the cutting, they had the choice to use small, sharp cuticle scissors or exacto knives. Following lessons on the safe use of these tools, every student tackled the art of Scherenschnitte with the confidence of a pro! (And why not? Any child who has made a paper snowflake by folding, cutting, and unfolding a piece of paper has done Scherenschnitte!)

Prepare to be impressed by the amazing Scherenschnitte artwork done by our talented young artists!

Featured artwork in this article by: Lily R., 7th grader

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