How to Cut Large Sheets of Paper Easily

How to Cut Large Sheets of Paper Easily

To cut down a large sheet of paper, and this technique can be used with cotton paper like Arches cotton rag paper, watercolour paper, or any other artists paper.  


  • medium sized round clean paintbrush
  • straight edge - I prefer a 24.5" quilters ruler
  • small amount of clean water
  • large clean flat surface


Large sheets of paper like the gorgeous Iwami White washi can be daunting to cut down into smaller sheets for your artwork, and if you want a nice natural edge instead a hard edge made with scissors or a blade, here are instructions to cut down a large sheet of artist’s paper to achieve that effect: 

I love quilting rulers because they’re clear and you can see your edges right through them.  As well, you can lay your hand flat on it to keep the paper from shifting.

Line up your ruler to where you want it, dampen your clean paintbrush with clean water, and draw a damp (not soggy wet) line down the edge of your ruler or straight edge.  This loosens the fibres along that straight-edge.

Still applying pressure to the ruler, or moving the ruler to the other side of your damp line and applying pressure, hold on the far upper corner of your sheet of paper, and tug on the paper it until it comes away. 

Washi – Pull gently both up and away from your ruler.

Heavier artist’s paper – pull almost straight upwards. 

This method is going to give you a natural torn effect to your paper.

If you need some visual markers, make three little marks with a pencil and turn your ruler again so you can use your wet paintbrush to dampen the fibres and loosen them up so you can gently pull them away.

You can also fold your paper gently making only two little pinches on either side. Then use your paintbrush to dampen that edge and pull it away.

And now you have three sheets of paper with four natural deckles! 

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