Chapter 2: Making Basic Paper Lace

If you haven't already read the previous parts of this Free Paper Lace Idea Book, Click here to see the Introduction, and Click here to see Chapter One, which covers the materials and supplies you will need to make paper lace.

Getting started:

If you don't own any paper that has a grid already printed on the back of it, the first step will be to prepare some papers with a grid on the reverse side. There are several ways to do so. I recommend that you prepare multiple papers at one time.

Method 1:

Using a wide sponge brush, apply adhesive or glue to the entire surface of the back of your paper. A thin, even coat of adhesive is recommended. Double-stick tape is not recommended because it will be difficult to cut evenly. I have used it before and it can be done, but I prefer using plain old glue. If your glue is too thick to spread easily, you can pour it into a paper bowl and dilute it with a small amount of water. Immediately affix the graph paper onto your paper, taking care to be precise when you line up the edges of the graph paper and the paper. After the graph paper is attached to the paper, the whole thing will have a tendency to curl up. If your paper curls, blot it around the edges with a paper towel to absorb any excess glue. Then flatten it by placing it between 2 books, and stacking more books on top. Then allow the glue to dry completely before you use the paper.

Method 2:

This method only works with paper that can be printed on by your printer.


1) Using a program such as Adobe Photoshop, create a grid with ¼” squares, that covers the entire surface of an 8.5” x 11” piece of paper.

2) Load your paper into the printer so that the grid will print on the reverse side of the page.

3) Print the grid.

Creating Basic Paper Lace

Next is the fun part- designing and creating a new paper lace! The basic steps are as follows:


1) Choose a pair of decorative scissors to use

2) Choose a sheet of your prepared paper with the grid on the back

3) Hold your paper so that the grid is facing you, and cut along the length of one of the grid lines. The grid line will help you to make a clean, straight cut.

4) Determine how wide you want your finished lace to be. This will determine where you will make your next cut. For example, if you want a lace that is one inch wide, then you will make your next cut 4 grid blocks above your original cut.

5) Decide whether you want to use the same pair of scissors for the other cut, or if you want to use a different pair.

6) Using your chosen pair of scissors, again with the grid side of the paper facing you, cut along the grid line to create the second side of your paper lace.

7) If you are satisfied with the lace as it is, you can use it in the project of your choice at this point. However, you can further embellish it as well. You can use the punches of your choice to add “lace holes” to your lace, using the grid lines to help you punch them evenly. There are a variety of other techniques that can also be used. This book contains many designs and projects, which further expand upon these basic instructions; many variations will be examined in detail in the chapters ahead.

Creating Basic Paper Lace Using Striped Paper

There are some papers featuring designs printed in such a way that you do not need to add a grid to the back of the paper. The grid is only there to help you cut straight (and later, when you start adding in other techniques such as punching, stitching and embellishing the grid will be even more helpful.) However, when you are making basic paper lace, a striped or plaid print on the front of certain papers is adequate to be your cutting guideline.

One example of this is the "Funnel Cake" patterned paper from the Celebration II collection by American Crafts. In my opinion, this paper is just begging to be made into paper lace. Here is a picture of the Funnel Cake paper before I cut it up into paper lace borders. (The Funnel Cake patterned paper is pictured with another American Crafts paper from the same collection, called "House of Mirrors".)

Funnel Cake Patterned Paper From the Celebration 2 Collection by American Crafts

Here is a picture of some various ultra-simple paper lace borders I made using the "Funnel Cake" patterned paper plus a variety of Fiskars paper edgers:

Scallop-edged paper lace borders made using Fiskars Paper Edgers to cut up a piece of Funnel Cake Patterned Paper From the Celebration 2 Collection by American Crafts

Project Ideas using Paper Lace Borders Made From American Crafts Funnel Cake Patterned Paper:

Handmade Greeting Card With Details Bird Shaped Layered Embellishment by American Crafts Plus Bazzill Textured Cardstock and Paper Lace Borders Made Using the Funnel Cake Patterned Paper and Fiskars Decorative Paper Edgers Scissors

Handmade Greeting Card With Spiral and Paper Lace Made Using the Funnel Cake Patterned Paper and Fiskars Decorative Paper Edgers Scissors

Click here to see the free project ideas for this chapter, including instructions for these greeting cards.

Another example is the "Hey Sugar: Heart strings" Patterned Paper by Cosmo Cricket. The photo below shows how the striped side of the paper looks prior to cutting.

Heartstrings Patterned Scrapbooking Paper From the Hey Sugar Collection by Cosmo Cricket.

Using Fiskars Mini Scallop Paper Edgers, I cut a single cut along the top edge of one of the stripes. Here's how it looks:

Making Paper Lace From Striped Hey Sugar Heartstrings Patterned Paper by Cosmo Cricket and Fiskars Mini Scallop Paper Edgers To be continued! :)