How do you make them that tiny? How do you not go cross-eyed? Are you CRAZY???

Not surprisingly I got a lot of responses along these lines when I show someone my art. (Or at least I’m guessing this is what goes through people’s minds)

And it’s completely legit because sometimes I wonder these things too.

I didn’t really learn how to work with tiny pieces of paper – I just sort of picked up the concept and played around with it until it worked for me.

There really is no method to my madness – it’s more so just practice and then pulling my hair out and then more practice.

I do have a winning formula though, illustrated by this super-handy pie chart. (I’ve always wanted to make a pie chart, especially about something superficial)


Rachel’s Paper Art Formula for Success


Being crazy helps like you wouldn’t believe. As you can see it’s the largest part of the pie in the formula, but hey whatever. It works. I’m not going do a Van Gogh and hack off my ear, but if I didn’t have a slightly nutty state of mind I wouldn’t be able to do what I do. Unfortunately it’s just one of those afflictions most commonly suffered by artists.

Patience I suppose is a no-brainer for this kind of art. I literally would not have come this far without it – it’s the one thing that keeps me going during a particularly arduous task.

I wouldn’t say in general that I am an overly patient person (hint: I’m a Scorpio) but I think that because I love my art so much, I just bust my guts and push past the frustration. Sometimes also having a clear vision of what I want the artwork to end up like is a good motivator to keep going.

That said, I do have rare moments of madness where I literally have to stop and walk away, because there is a real risk the half-finished artwork I have will end up smashed against the wall because it isn’t defying the laws of physics like I need it to. Instead I usually chuck a tantrum, and then make a cup of tea and sulk. (Because of course tea fixes everything) But that passes of course, and I just come back to it when me and patience are buddies again. It’s a vicious cycle, but tends to work.

The pliers are also a no brainer – they literally do what giant fingers can’t – pick up ridiculously small pieces of paper and move them into their designated and pre-glued positions.

My craft knife is one of the best things I ever bought. It does wonders, especially when I need to slice a piece of paper stupidly thin, such as 1.5mm wide. The beautiful accuracy, oh yeah.

Fingernails are extremely handy in paper art believe it or not (and I’m not talking about clippings here…ew) – sometimes they help when pliers fail. I’ve always been one to accidentally let my nails grow out until they break and catch on things, so it just works in my favour 🙂

I guess the other thing that helps me out is my creativity, and also this ever-present curiosity I can’t seem to shake, which has me constantly questioning “what if I could create it like this?” and pouring over the endless possibilities that one little idea produces.

It doesn’t matter what I am doing, my mind is always ticking over, thinking of all the different ways I could attach something to something or make something look like it’s kicking gravity’s butt.

And that’s why I get so much out of paper art. It’s that conquering of the impossible that I like to achieve with every piece.

So there you have it.


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