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DNA paper cutting: an abandoned project

by Eva Amsen

A few years ago I created this cardboard DNA mold and used it to try my hand at paper cutting. I made a handful of DNA cut-outs and then kind of of forgot about them. These are the only ones I made.

DNA paper cutting

I did have some grand plans for them initially. I wanted to turn them into cards, but once I bought cards and placed the DNA helices on there, they were just slightly too big, and slightly the wrong colours. I put the DNA shapes away in a box and forgot about them for a while.

But once in a while I remember them again, and I keep thinking there is something I could do with them. I just haven’t found out what that should be.

One idea I had was to turn the shape into a pattern, for others to use. I could distribute it as a PDF and include some information about DNA for anyone who is interested. I started by tracing the shape. Next, I thought I’d scan it in and create the rest of the PDF digitally.

DNA template

I’d still like to do this, but when I looked into how to make a paper cutting pattern, it turns out to be much more complicated than I thought.

I learned that paper cutting is very popular among crafters, and that they all tend to use the PSD format to share patterns. That format allows them to resize templates, but it didn’t seem like something I could use to include all the DNA facts I wanted. I didn’t want to share just the DNA shape on its own.

I could probably learn how to do it, and make the file available in the correct, official format for paper cutting enthusiasts. But that’s not really what I want. I envisioned it as a fun PDF, a bit like the transferable skills worksheet, but much more frivolous. The audience would be anyone who might like a DNA shape to cut out, but it wouldn’t include the people most passionate about paper cutting.

Now I’m not sure. What do you think? Would you download the DNA template as a PDF, or does it have to be in PSD?

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