10 Amazing Cut-Paper Diorama Artists


Carving their way into the realm of fine arts thanks to pioneers like Kara Walker, paper dioramas aren’t just for elementary school projects anymore. Cut-paper art is an ambitious endeavor to take on — requiring intense focus, patience, and dealings with tiny instruments, like X-Acto knives and tweezers. Following our recent discovery of Jim Dolan’s miniature worlds encased in Altoid tins, we sought out other cut-paper designers who display their jaw-dropping creations in diorama form. Our findings introduced us to unbelievable works of art, whose intricate detailing, concept, and execution is simply awe-inspiring. Get to know some amazing artists who transform plain old paper into imaginative 3-D worlds after the jump.

Miranda Brandon

While this Oklahoma-bred artist fashions paper into a variety of themed dioramas, with living rooms, dandelions, and dinosaurs each earning a set, it’s her eccentric wildlife scenes that caught our attention. In Brandon’s world, wallabies depict scenes straight out of the Old West, lions celebrate birthdays while ostriches spy on cuddling squirrels, and rabbits perform surgery. Check out more of Brandon’s animal-centric dioramas on her blog.

Woods Road Avenue

You probably can’t tell upon first glance, but this under-the-sea setting — complete with a seahorse, coral, and a submarine — has been created inside a Venti Starbucks coffee cup. The artist, simply known as Shannon or under the handle Woods Road Avenue, also created a brownstone scene as a part of her series, The World Inside My Cup.

Lym Moreno

Based out of Vienna, this Venezuelan artist and illustrator creates imaginative cut-paper scenes inside of painted cardboard, wooden boxes, and glass jars. Influenced by fables, a portion of Moreno’s art deals with creating imaginary characters and throwing them into dire situations, like drowning at sea or being engulfed by flames. Thankfully, her use of vibrant colors lends an innocent, child-like feel to even the most severe of concepts. Check out more work on her website.

Molly Bosley

In her series Remember Sebastian, this New England artist brings her subconscious to life in diorama form. Bosley manipulates blank, white sheets of paper into intricate forms and silhouettes that are meant to symbolize the fears and concerns that populate her dreams. The collection also swirls together the worlds of cut-paper dioramas and shadow puppetry, as she experiments with lighting the archaic-paper wrapped scenes from behind. Find more of her work here.

Jayme McGowan

Not only did Jayme McGowan pioneer a series of cut-paper children’s book illustrations, including classics by Roald Dahl, but the Sacramento-stationed artist also tries her hand at creating folksy dioramas that are encased in ovals, wooden boxes, and even clocks. Prints of her diorama art are up for sale over at Etsy, while you can learn more about the process on her website.

Sarah Bridgland

It appears that Sarah Bridgland is a firm believer in the old saying “One man’s junk, is another man’s treasure.” The sculpturist and collage artist frequents flea markets and junk shops, saving scraps of antiquated paper, old boxes, and other collectibles of interest, in order to meld them into her art. Such is the case with her series of dioramas housed in old staple boxes, cotton swab containers, and tape boxes, that explode with letters and shapes formed from old scraps of paper.

Helen Musselwhite

Inspired by nature, this UK-based artist creates gorgeous cut-paper designs housed in wooden boxes, tea cups, and bell jars. Musselwhite’s delicate pieces combine crisp white sheets of paper along with striking colors, which she sculpts into woodland creatures, cottages, and trees — paying homage to the folk, ethnic, and mid-century art that she looks up to. You can piece through her rustic cut-paper works, and purchase them on her website.

Elly MacKay

Hailing from Ontario, Canada, this artist, illustrator, and teacher creates whimsical scenes out of Yupo paper, sheltered by a homemade diorama theater, before photographing them with various light filters. While she doesn’t create encased cut-paper illustrations to be sold or displayed right now — MacKay keeps an Etsy page where photographed prints of her dioramas can be swooned over.

Yuken Teruya

Alongside surprising mediums like toilet paper rolls, shopping bags, and pizza boxes, New York-dwelling artist Yuken Teruya utilizes McDonald’s bags in order to create dazzling cut-paper trees in his series, Notice-Forest. The Okinawa native transforms the discarded food bags, boxes, money, and mundane throwaways into dreamy works of art, which serve as a commentary on society and communication, while proving that any material can be morphed into whimsical creations if you have the knack for it.

People Too

In addition to creating paper sculptures of lauded musicians, Alexei Lyapunov and Lena Ehrlich — the artists behind People Too — fashion diorama scenes of the inner goings-on of airplanes, offices, factories, and more. The Russian pair’s intricate work is all handmade out of paper, from the sets to the people to the accessories, with shockingly realistic results.