Scherenschnitte, which means “scissor cuts” in German, is the art of papercutting. This work often has lots of symmetry, and common forms include silhouette and portrait images. I needed a German-themed art project this week, so I had my 4th graders draw a bold German mask to imitate the look of Scherenschnitte, as sharp scissors or knives were not an option for this age group.
1. One of my biggest internet finds last year was ClipartETC.com. They have thousands of etching-style drawings that are very easy to browse through. I decided to use several of their German mask images, like this one, and printed the largest out on a letter-size paper. Because the mask images tended to have shading on one side and not the other, I asked this students to fold the paper in half, leaving the unshaded side of the mask showing on the top.
2. The students placed a sheet of tracing paper on top of the folded paper and drew in pencil half of the printed mask by tracing all the edges they could find.
3. When the half-mask drawing was complete, the students refolded their tracing paper so that the pencil was on the inside, and they could trace the other side of the face on the blank half of the paper. The goal was to have a symmetrical face drawn on the tissue paper, even if the pencil lines did not end up on the same side.
4. When a symmetrical face was showing on the tracing paper, a large black Sharpie was used to trace all the lines, making them as thick as possible. The thicker the better, to imitate the look of cut black paper that was cut away with a blade.
5. When the mask drawing was complete, a frame was added around the outside, one that touched all four edges of the drawing.