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Have you ever made a paper snowflake by folding and cutting a sheet of paper? If you have, then you've done scherenschnitte (pronounced “sheer-en-shnit-ah”), a German word for “scissor cuts.”

In the 1700s, Germans living in America used this craft to create decorative things for their homes, featuring anything from ships to birds to hearts. Traditional paper cutters would “draw with scissors,” cutting shapes without drawing anything first.

Download full printable PDF instructions and templates for the paper cutting craft. It might be easier for you to use these instructions to draw designs and then cut them out. To clearly see the results of your work, you can display it against a different colored paper background. 

Paper Cutting Craft

Materials Needed


  1. Fold the paper in half, using the dashed line as a guide.
  2. Cut out the shape following the solid line drawing.
  3. Unfold the paper and flip it over. Color as desired.
  4. Once completed, glue the finished cut-out on a piece of colored paper. 

 Share your creation with us @amrevmuseum on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

The scherenschnitte craft was originally released as part of the Museum's Virtual Spring Break programming, sponsored by PECO, which ran online in April 2020, featuring do-at-home crafts and activities, virtual story time, Artisan Field Trip living history interviews, and live Q&As with Museum staff.