How to cut out letters

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As a child, student, and teacher, I couldn’t even begin to count the thousands of times I have had to cut out letters for title pages, art projects, or bulletin boards. I always use the same strategy for cutting out letters, I do it this way because I would never have the time or patience to draw out every letter first, I just cut…
The first and most important trick is to start by cutting a bunch of rectangles all the size as letters you want. This will ensure all of your letters are a uniform width and height. For rounded letters like O’s or G’s, you round the corners of the rectangle, like in the following picture.

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Here is a sketch I did showing the positive and negative space of the capital letters of the alphabet. When cutting, you are basically trying to cut out the shaded areas, or negative space. This part isn’t the most difficult, but the trick is to make all letters even and make each line of the letter the same width.

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For basic letters like, E, N, or P, here are a few examples to look at…they are the easier ones, because you just have to cut out chunks from the edges.

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Here are a few of the rounded letters…a little more difficult because you have to cut the oval shape first,

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The most challenging part to cutting letters is the holes in the center you have to cut out, like O, P, or A. Depending on the finished product, you can cut out the holes in three ways. You could poke your scissors through to make a hole, then cut around.
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Or, you could fold the letter in half…try to do this carefully without making too much of a crease in the paper…
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Or,you could cut right through the letter. This is definitely the easiest way, but can also show in the finished letters. Do a test letter before you cut all of your letters to make sure you won’t be disappointed. I used this method for the letters I was cutting out today because I knew I was going to laminate them, and it wouldn’t show…
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I used the letters I cut out here to make some signs for the library. I actually cut out the letters from sticky notes so I didn’t even have to glue them down because I was laminating them. (I brought this project to the cottage with the intent of cutting the letters out while sitting in a lawn chair by the lake, so i thought the sticky notes would stop my letters from blowing away…turns out it was a little too windy for it, but it did save a lot of time gluing!) I stuck the letters on to some brightly coloured paper, and recycled pages of text from my old encyclopedias…(project number two for the encyclopedias…more to come…)

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Then, I thought I wanted the letters to stand out a little more, so I outlined them, then added a little scribble shading around each letter…

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Then I laminated each page…

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Here are my finished signs, laminated, and ready to go!

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5 responses »

  1. I am totally enchanted with your blog! You are so creative and that is such a great idea for the letters. I usually resort to printing them and cutting them out, or writing them out before cutting. I think this will take me some time to master but I will definitely work on it!

    Thank you!

    Like

  2. How would I go about laminating individual letters without the laminate peeling off. Ideally I would like to completely seal a cut out letter so it can be used for tracing around.

    Like

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