50 beautiful examples of paper art

Innovative use of paper art can bring all kinds of contemporary designs to life.

We may live in a digital world, but our love affair with paper art has by no means diminished.

Here are some great of examples of paper art being used imaginatively within contemporary design, giving new life to one of the most ancient arts. You're sure to find the inspiration you're looking for...

01. Eric Standley

Eric Standley's work echoes Islamic art and Gothic architecture

Virgina-based designer Eric Standley takes things to the next level with his collection of laser cut offerings. His intricate, multi-layered and multicoloured paper art draws on Islamic art and Gothic architecture and is utterly packed with detail; you can stare at it for ages and keep finding new touches that you hadn't noticed before.

02. Calvin Nicholls

Calvin Nicholls' paper rendering of fur has to be seen to be believed

After being introduced to the idea of paper as a medium at art school, Calvin Nicholls' first paper sculpture was a collaboration with artist Jonathan Milne back in 1983, and quickly felt the draw of working in paper. He uses heavy paper stock for structure and lighter for fur and fine detail, and he constantly refers to his drawings and study photos to ensure that the assembled pieces are true to the original plan.

03. Lisa Nilsson

Lisa Nilsson's quilling turns anatomical cross-sections into things of beauty

Lisa Nicholls works in a variety of media that reflect her attraction to the intricate, multifaceted, complex, detailed and time consuming, but for us her stand-out work involves quilling. We can't resist her Tissue series: a collection of anatomical cross-sections rendered in paper. Says Nicholls, "I find quilling exquisitely satisfying for rendering the densely squished and lovely internal landscape of the human body in cross section."

04. Diana Beltran Herrera 

It's hard to resist these detailed and colourful paper birds

Colombian-born Diana Beltran Herrera specialises in amazing paper recreations of nature, her work featuring wonderfully detailed flowers and plants and the most incredibly realistic birds of all shapes and sizes. Most recently the Bristol-based artists has stared incorporating insects, butterflies and fish into her work, demonstrating the same level of attention to detail.

05. We Sent Their Briefs Back

This is definitely the best way to approach a brief

South African agency TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris needed a way of getting clients' attention, and hit upon this novel way of tackling a brief: taking actual paper briefs and turning them into eye-catching paper art incorporating concepts relevant to the specific brand message, and then sending the briefs back to the client. The project was a huge success, attracting new work within five days.

06. Robin Gillet and Estelle Philibert

paper art

The attention to detail is astonishing

Solidifying their love of paper art are French artists Robin Gillet and Estelle Philibert, who have created this beautiful 2016 greeting card.

"Paper art is DIY work we really enjoy to see and to make, because handmade creation is something that, as graphic designers, we really had to know," Gillet explains. "It's the kind of project we feel is more human than any project you can make using software."

07. Mamuka Okriashvili

paper art

This paper art gets in the festive spirit

These adorable paper art animations were created for a recent Liberty Bank campaign. Featuring a Christmas tree, a cosy armchair, plenty of presents and a roaring fire, the execution is as festive as it gets. With the idea and storyboard crafted by Irakli Sabekia, Mamuka Okriashvili took charge of the paper sculptures.

08. Marina Adamova

paper art

Alice in Wonderland gets the paper art treatment

Combining her love of Alice in Wonderland and Christmas decorations, Moscow based designer Marina Adamova has crafted an entire range of paper art baubles that pay homage to some of the story's best characters. Including the white rabbit, Alice herself and the caterpillar, you'll fall head over heels in love with these.

09. Malena Valcárcel

paper art

A special Christmas paper art project from Malena Valcárcel

There's plenty of paper art out there that incorporates books into the design but this one is something special. Spanish designer Malena Valcárcel has crafted a Christmas wonderland with one of the tiny buildings lit up – it makes for a truly magical execution.

10. Maude White

maude white paper art

White's paper artwork will swoop down and steal your heart

Artist Maude White likes to do something a little different when it comes to her paper art. Meticulously hand-cutting each piece, her works are of unfathomable detail.

Inspired mostly by nature, and creating pieces that feature birds, leaves and flowers, White also creates beautiful paper art portraits of people. Each piece can take thousands of tiny cuts, with White working for hours on end to perfect each piece of art.

11. Charles Young


Part of the city looking stormy

Artist and architect Charles Young is the genius behind a tiny moving paper world. It's made up of 365 paper structures (one of which is shown above), each mounted on a block of wood, or, occasionally, a potato.

Most have moving parts; bunting swaying in the wind, vehicles moving around, turbines and lifts in operation. He films each one doing its thing and uploads an animated GIF of the action. The models combine to form a single island city which Young hopes to exhibit.

12. Redefining Paper

white paper art

By James Donegan

Redefining Paper is a project from James Cropper Paper – wanted to challenge the norm. "A creative process often starts with a white piece of paper, sketched on and discarded," he explains. "But, what happens when you ask a group of artists to make white paper the beginning, middle and end of a creative project?" they ask.

Well, what happens is a series of incredibly different yet wholly inspiring creations. From Rosanna and Clint's printable and customisable wall clock to Megan Ocheduszko's paper art jewellery, it just goes to show what a few sheets of white paper can really do. Check them all out on the project website.

13. Horrogami


Paper Dandy's latest project sees horror scenes come to life

Making a living from paper art is a difficult task but thanks to his talents and enthusiasm, Marc Hagan-Guirey aka Paper Dandy has done just that. His latest venture, a book titled Horrogami, sees him recreating horror scenes using Kirigami – the Japanese art of cutting and folding a single sheet of paper to make intricate 3D scenes.

Horrogami presents 20 Kirigami projects, all inspired by cult horror tales such as Dracula, Frankenstein, Sleepy Hollow and King Kong, with each featuring step-by-step instruction and a template that can be pulled out of the book. Horrorgami: 20 Gruesome Scenes to Cut and Fold, is available to order here.

14. Decorex Expo

examples of paper art

We're big fans of Marc Hagan-Guirey's wonderful paper creations

Just one example of Marc Hagan-Guirey's work in this list would seem like we were short changing you. So feast your eyes on his kirigami design for Decorex International, a company that puts on big interior design expos in the UK. It was used as the main creative for Decorex's 2013 campaign.

15. Atlantis

Zim & Zou was behind this incredible paper window display for French luxury brand Hermes

This beautiful, underwater paper world was created graphic design and illustration studio Zim & Zou back in 2013. The project was commissioned by French luxury brand Hermès, who hired the team to design the windows for the re-opening of its store located in Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills.

16. Fiat Dobló

Brazil-based illustration agency D'Avila Studio created this vibrant paper art piece as part of Fiat Motors campaign to promote its new SUV, the Dobló Adventure. The team created two prints, both of which placed the paper overlapping on layers to create an impressive depth effect.

17. Paper Dragon

The amount of detail in this paper dragon blows our minds. A collaborative effort, this intricate piece took the steady hands of a number of Belgium creatives at INK studio. As the majestical creature overhangs the castle, we can't even begin to imagine how long this delicate project took to complete.

18. Day of the Dead

paper art

Tsvetislava Koleva celebrates the Day of the Dead with intricate and colourful masks

This incredible paper art series from Bulgarian based designer Tsvetislava Koleva, celebrates the Day of the Dead with intricate and colourful masks that quite frankly, took our breath away. Using a different colour palette for each offering, the series seamlessly comes together. Koleva specialises in paper art creations that have included sculptures, typography and more but it seems the Day of the Dead is her biggest inspiration to date.

19. 360° Book

Yusuke Oono's books open up to tell their stories layer by layer

Japanese artist and designer Yusuke Oono creates books that open up to tell their stories as a multi-layered 3D scene. Each page is a separate laser cut plane, and together they make up deep and gorgeous 3D images that reveal the story as you make your way from the front to the back of the book.

20. Malmö Festival

examples of paper art

This paper art creation almost looks like it was created with Photoshop

This identity for Malmö Festival was created by Swedish design agency Snask and features some wonderfully colourful paper art creations. Used for print advertisment as well as huge promotional art installations, this is an impeccable example of what can be achieved with patience and creativity.

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