pumpkin logo 2020

Paper Tole Thanksgiving Using
Painting That is Titled
Visiting Grandma by Will Moses 

This is a very cost effective way to learn how to do the old-fashioned art of Paper Tole 3d layered paper cutting. You get to practice without spending $5 per layer!! Yes, that is the going rate, so have some fun on me learning how. I sure wish the 3d effect would really show up in photos. Evidently all Tole artists have the same problem. You'll just have to trust me at how cute this project is when done and framed.

Required tools and supplies:

  • X-acto knife and fresh blade
  • Metal straight-edge ruler to use to press against and make perfect creases
  • Tweezers
  • Cutting mat
  • Detailing scissors
  • Fast-grab, quick-dry white craft glue that dries clear
  • Small piece of aluminum foil to use as a glue pot
  • Artist's paint brush to apply glue
  • Small piece of 3/16" thick foam core board
  • 3.5"x5" frame. Less than 8.5"x11"
  • Foam Mounting Tape (Scotch brand makes one). This is a length of foam about 1/16" thick and is sticky on both sides.
  • I used Epson 9.7 mil matte inkjet specialty paper. Get the best color by using a paper designed to get the maximum
  • "Stick-up poster clay" for holding down pattern on foam board
  • Glue gun

Close-up View


1.  Cut out parts. You will probably need to print two copies

2. First layer is not cut at all.

3.  Please visit the "how to cut tight spots" tutorial before starting.

Second layer the following are cut away:

  • Door
  • Fireplace opening
  • Fireplace wood storage unit

4. Third layer the following are cut away:
  • The back wall around the red cabinet, side table, fireplace brick unit
  • Fireplace opening
  • Fireplace wood storage unit

FYI: I always cut out center pieces before cutting out the surrounding areas.

5.  For the fourth layer, cut out completely the following items:
  • Two paintings over fireplace
  • Larger cradle on left
  • Table, chairs, boy, girl, girl's stool, dog, and wagon as one unit
  • Grandma, Grandma's chair, side table, lamp, and dollhouse all as one unit


6.  Create the box to display work. Take printed black and white page of pattern pieces. Turn it over and strategically place flat dots of stick-up poster clay  on back of each piece. Do not cut pattern pieces apart!

7. Turn pattern page over onto foam core board and press as flat as you possibly can. Having lumps distorts the final size of each piece.

8. Use the metal straight edge ruler as your guide, and a very new and sharp X-acto knife to cut pieces as displayed. Make cuts perpendicular to the cutting mat. You don't want angles in the core board. Make shallow multiple passes with the knife so as not to tear up the foam core.

9. Build box as shown. Make sure to follow directions on pattern pieces. Box sides rest on top of box back. Glue top and bottom first then sides in-between.

Note: Glue must be very hot!

10. Place the first layer in box. If you trim edges, remember exactly what you trimmed, because all layers will need to be trimmed the exact same way.

Glue first layer in place.

Not shown: size then glue left and right sides and ceiling and floor pieces to hide white board. I forgot to do this in the demonstration!

11. Take lots of little pieces of the foam mounting tape and place at all points shown. You want to make sure that wherever there may be a sag, a piece of foam will hold it up, especially with the other layers placed on top. Do not position foam tape right on paper edges for viewers will see it on your finished project.

Check positioning before taking tape backing off. If fit is good, take tape backing away and position 2nd layer in box.

12. Strategically position tape to the back of layer 3. Check positioning before taking tape backing off. If fit is good, take tape backing away and position 3rd layer in box.

13.  For layer 4, these will be the loose objects and you will want to use plenty of foam tape, but not so much that viewers will see any from the sides. Practice positioning before removing the green tape backing.

14. I glued each corner of the glass (just a little) to the frame. Then I put a little glue at each corner of the box against the glass. I used the hot glue gun to glue the frame's backing to the back of the box when all is dry...voila, your first Paper Tole project!



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