Nautical Knots Paper Cut Tutorial - Jason Koons ( @jason_koons )


Repetition is a major component of my work and papercutting style; it creates eye  movement, helps to unify different subject matters, and provide a level of visual and technical consistency. These nautical knot papercuts are great because  they rely on a very simple repeated rope link shape. The classic nautical knot formations themselves are standard (a template for a basic square knot is included in this blog post), therefore the link shapes just need to follow and rotate along the basic shape of the knot you want.      


Materials  Used:  

Excel  Blades  K26  Black  Fit  Grip  Knife  

Excel  Blades  Super  Sharp  Double  Honed  Blades  (#11)    

Excel  Blades  12" x 18" (Green) Self-Healing  Cutting  Mat  

Excel  Blades  Blue  Hollow  Point  Tweezers  

Canson  Mi  Teintes  112  Eggshell  Paper  (98lb/160g)  


Excel Blades Deluxe Conversion Ruler    

Kneaded  Eraser  



Step  1:  Draw  your  knot  onto  the  back  side  of  the  paper.

Step  2:  Once  you’ve  got  your  drawing  finished,  you  will  need  to  consider  how  to  cut  out  the  individual  rope  link  shapes.    For  this  DIY,  I  will  demo  three  different  styles:  


Step  3:  Begin  cutting  out  the  inside  of  each  rope  link  shape.


Step  4:  Once  the  inside  of  each  rope  link  is  cut  out,  you  will  need  to  cut  around  the  outside  of  each  link  shape  to liberate  the  knot. Pay  careful  attention  to  follow  the  shape  of  each  link  to  get  the  true  contour  of  the  rope.


Step  5:  Carefully  remove  your  knot  from  the  surrounding  paper  (you  might  want  to  use  tweezers).


Step  6:  You’re  finished  -  frame  as  you  like!  


Because of the symbolism and meaning that knots have long held, I have found that these knot papercuts make great wedding and house warming gifts. If nothing else, they make for great practice and provide a lot of easy opportunity to experiment with different cutting styles and techniques.      

Happy cutting!


Hello, Im Jason Koons – a paper cutter, illustrator and art educator.
Its hard for me to believe, but through these various artistic ventures I have been involved with the art making process for close to 20 years. All of my imagery is original, and all of my papercuts are hand drawn and hand cut. I find inspiration in pretty much everything – however I currently find myself producing work that centers on geometry, nature, or pattern study.
When Im not moonlighting as a paper cutter, I am working full time as a high school art teacher in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. I currently teach drawing and painting at both an introductory and intermediate level, and in the past I have also instructed at the Advanced Placement level. I love teaching and I am lucky to have had the opportunity to help many of my students develop, further, and achieve their artistic goals.
I currently reside in a 1780s farmhouse in scenic Chester County, Pennsylvania with my wife and two children, and I produce my work out of a small studio in our home.