My favorite image of Santa has always been the famous illustration by Thomas Nast. Jolly Old Santa or St Nicholaus holding an armful of toys while the smoke from his pipe wreaths around his head.
I love this so much that I decided to adapt the very intricate line drawing into a very intricate paper cut.
In case you’re concerned, the original Thomas Nast illustration is now in the public domain, so it’s available and legal for this kind of use. I’ve also done my best to be respectful to the original.
It took a long looooooong time and many mugs of coffee to simplify this piece of art into an image suitable for papercutting. (yes, it’s been simplified. I know you can’t tell!)
Then… it took a long looooooong time and even more coffee to cut this with my little hands and my trusty xacto knife.
The result is beautiful!
I want to share this amazing piece of work with my fellow hand cutting artists. You know I love you the best.
I am making the template a free download for you to print and cut by hand.
Craft machine users – I love you, but there’s no way your machine is going to handle something this intricate, so I didn’t attempt to make a vector file or SVG for this.
The template is sized for A3 paper so you’ll need access to a wide format printer if you want to cut it at the intended size. You are welcome to make it smaller, but it’s not recommended. I know there are a bunch of crazy paper cutters out there who will try this with letter or A4 size paper. You’re welcome to do that, but I do not accept responsibility for the cursing that will occur.
I cut this using black silhouette paper from Dick Blick. It’s sooty black on the front and gray on the back. So Silk paper will be a great choice for the UK folks (order if from Paper Story) You can read more about the papers I use and where to get it here.
The download below is available as a PDF or JPG and is sized to print at 11 x 17″. Both black on white and gray on white are included in each download.
*Personal and commercial use is allowed. If you can bring yourself to part with your beautiful hard work, you can gift or sell*
I hope you’ll give this a try. Take your time. Keep a box of sharp blades at hand.
This is not a beginner’s papercutting template, so if you’re just starting out, download it and save for when you are more experienced.
If you’re a seasoned cutter – this is a fun one.