Papercutters use a variety of papers ranging in size, weight and material; special silhouette paper (black/white smooth or with a velvet finish on one side), Canson papers, handmade traditional mulberry papers from Japan and China, watercolor papers, various colors and textures of art paper — some have even experimented with oversize outdoor installations using Tyvek — a flexible but durable material used as an exterior weather barrier in new home construction.
The choice of material will be dictated by the style, size and purpose of the design and can often simply be a personal preference after trying many different papers. The sources below are only a small selection of those now available in the marketplace; they have been recommended by our members. Feel free to contact us with your recommendations also!
Paper Panda Louise Firchau is the founder and owner of this art and craft supply chain, based in the UK, that offers papercutting kits and books, classes of all kinds, paper and papercutting tools, and much more; ships worldwide.
eNasco This large purveyor of art and crafting supplies, among other things, has silhouette paper, available in packs of 25 sheets, that is highly recommended by some of our members. Good silhouette paper usually is black on one side, white on the other, smooth, and thin enough to be quickly and accurately cut. Ships worldwide.
Dick Blick Art Supplies This large art supply chain, with headquarters in Illinois, is the go-to for many of our members for paper and papercutting tools and other supplies. Like some other large chains, Dick Blick offers community art support, and often donates to local schools.
Utrecht Art Supplies This large art supply chain, born in Brooklyn in 1949, offers a wide array of papers, as well as papercutting tools and other supplies. Occasionally stocks handmade papers from around the world.
Washi Arts Focuses on Japanese papers of all kinds, for industrial and small artist use, architectural, graphic design, interior design, letterpress, etc. They sell handmade papers in all the traditional styles. The website for Washi Arts offers a valuable resource page that explains varieties of paper, and describes techniques for using Japanese papers with a variety of media in a range of disciplines. Based in Japan and the west coast of the U.S., but Washi Arts attends conferences around the world, and ships worldwide. They partner with Nancy Jacobi’s The Japanese Paper Place.
Material Concepts This large supplier services mainly industrial customers; for papercutters, they are a good source for Tyvek, as well as perforated underlay paper, and other papers used in machine cutting. Tyvek is used by some papercutting and crankie silhouette artists, e.g. Katherine Fahey, as a way of adding texture to a lighted background.