The Paper Artist by Janna

Terminator – My personal challenge

Posted on 6th February 2016

Terminator - My personal challenge. Sharing with you how I made my favorite movie character and setting myself the challenge

Terminator - My personal challenge

Welcome to my latest blog:  Terminator – My personal challenge

Over the course of my paper cutting career dozens of people have inquired as to how I create my paper cuts.   The truth is, I’ve never quite known where to start.  All Artists, particually paper cutting artists all have their own unique ways of doing things.   During my 7 years of paper cutting, I have fine tuned my own techniques and what works best for me.  In this blog I will go through my processes and share with you all the tricks I use. I’m nice like that! 🙂

It’s safe to say I have a major obsession and fascination for the Terminator films, especially the theme music!  Because of this, I decided to create a Terminator paper cut as a challenge to myself, to test my skill and boy was he a challenge!

At one point whilst working on him late at night during a storm and whilst the hubby was away at work, the power went out leaving me in complete darkness!  Thankfully it was only for a few minutes but it really gave me the willies!

Lets get down to business…..


  • First Layer

After choosing the picture I want to recreate, splitting it into layers and printing it out, I trace the first layer by hand using a white graphite paper and a sharp pencil to trace.
Terminators first layer
I use white graphite paper first because I always start from the darkest coloured paper and work to the lightest, so I need white granite to show up on black/brown paper.  There are many types/makes of graphite paper, I’ve found some not to transfer very well.  Through trial and error I have found a graphite paper that never lets me down and lasts a very long time, it’s fantastic. It doesn’t smudge, and transfers the smallest of fine details!  Here it is and is available in white and black.  I defiantly recommend this stuff!

After I have drawn out the first layer, it’s time to cut!

First layer cutting

I use my trusty swivel knife, It swivels on a 360 axis.  I love it and it is brilliant for cutting intricate pieces with lots of curves and circles.  I can’t for the life of me cut with a standard craft knife! :/

I have no special method to cutting, I just cut in the order I want.  If I get fed up or overwhelmed with too many intricate pieces, I turn to easier bits and then go back, no stress!   It was painfully slow going and everything hurt, my bum, my neck, my arm and my hand….. oh and my eyes! LOL  It was pain staking, not to worry, theres only 4 more layers to go!

I think each layer took on average 5 hours to cut and glue. When it comes to gluing I use PVA glue.  I use tiny tiny amounts and ensure to keep away from the edges, then I carefully glue down and use clean tissue to gently press.  I hate being able to see glue seepage, it totally ruins a piece for me.  I use PVA because you can reposition a piece of paper you have glued and it generally dries clear, it’s also pretty strong.

Paper cut - Terminator


  • Second Layer

With the second and subsequent layers, it was a case of repeating this process except as I got lighter in paper, I needed to change over to black graphite paper.





  • Third Layer 

Terminator - The making of


  • Fourth Layer




Copyright © The Paper Artist by Janna

Copyright © The Paper Artist by Janna


This paper cut was by far my most challenging and I am pretty pleased with how he turned out! It’s a good job because I won’t be doing it again!!  I would estimate it took approx 25 to 30 hours to complete, with all the drawing, cutting and gluing.

I hope you enjoyed reading my blog here and gaining an insight into my paper cutting world.  If you have any questions about my processes or anything relating to my work and paper cutting in general, please do get in touch.  I am pretty friendly. 🙂

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