Category Archives: Client reviews – Stories behind the papercuts

thumbnail papercut chantal link klanten verhalen client stories recent posts 624x624 - Anniversary Ibiza Wedding 2

Anniversary Ibiza Wedding 2

A custom made piece from first enquiry to final delivery

The papercut is a memory to us, of a very special day and hangs on a nice and prominent place in our home.

papercut chantal schuin op hout - Anniversary Ibiza Wedding 2

Client’s requests

Chantal contacted me after a year after her beautiful wedding in Ibiza. She told me she got a giftcard to spend on art as a weddinggift from her family (don’t you think that’s such a great gift idea?)

She told me they had the wedding in a private villa in Ibiza with an amazing garden filled with Bougainville, roses and palmtrees, and under a 100 year old olive tree. The couple and their family styled the garden with paper lanterns and dreamcatchers made by their family.

chantal 4 inspiratie naast elkaar - Anniversary Ibiza Wedding 2

She would love to have this represented in the papercut, especially the olive tree needed to have a prominent place in the piece. Lavender needed to be featured as well, as this had a special meaning to them. To give me a better idea of the feel and look of the wedding she sent me lots of pictures of their wedding and all the decorations.

Designing the papercutScan ontwerp papercut Chantal Hielkema Ibiza wedding - Anniversary Ibiza Wedding 2

As Chantal wanted the impressive olive tree to have a prominent place in the piece I made sure it was in the foreground. I decided to make the rest of the piece a little vista of the villa and the garden. For the romantic feel I added all the requested flowers.

I personally like to vary the sizes of the flowers and give it a sort of “flow”. This makes the design look more interesting. As you see with this sketch, a drawing looks way different than the final papercut. Chantal was a bit worried in the beginning whether it would be a very busy piece, but after I explained the design a little, she was happy to go ahead.

The final papercut

papercutting work in progressAfter approval of the design I started cutting the papercut. Especially the villa was a little tricky; with geometrical shapes like these, you see ever little flaw. Luckily it came out nicely and when I sent the piece over to Chantal (she didn’t want to see any pictures, but rather keep it a surprise), she was very happy!

They did a beautiful job framing the piece and used the wood board that I use for shipping, as the backdrop (scroll down for a little picture of it).

Gorgeous right?papercut chantal totaal op houtkopie - Anniversary Ibiza Wedding 2

What the client said:

*Translated from Dutch*
“We had a handcut paper art made for our wedding on Ibiza. In our mail conversations we sent wedding pictures for an impression of the atmosphere and explained which specific wishes we had. After this Marthe drew up an incredible design. In this design all details that were important in our special day, were incorporated. The design in itself was already amazing.

Marthe discussed the rest of the process and indicated what we could expect from the “actual work” the Papercut. The endresult was stunning. Everything was incorporated in it. The old olive tree in the garden of the villa in which we got married, the specific flowers, which have a special meaning, and the dreamcatchers for decoration. The Papercut is a memory for us of a very special day and now has a nice and prominent place in our home.”

Chantal – The Netherlands

chantal papercut ingelijst en detail - Anniversary Ibiza Wedding 2

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personal baby announcment

Custom baby announcements with stripes…

A custom made piece from first enquiry to final delivery

Vík likes the zebras on his wall as much as we do and he kisses them regularly,
so sweet.


Client’s requests

I met Noortje at a workshop papercutting where she told me she was pregnant. After the workshop she and her husband Stephan contacted me to ask whether I would be interested in making the baby announcements for their baby. Ofcourse I was!

They really wanted the design for the cards to show the nursery. However, the nursery wasn’t even build, let alone decorated yet… So they entrusted me to visualise their idea of the nursery. The only things they requested were that I would incorporate a wall painting with zebras, a romantic swinging crib with canopy and a farmhouse window as they were remodeling an old farm into a home.
custom birth announcement
She sent me a quick sketch of what they had in mind.

To give me an idea of what they liked style-wise, Stephan and Noortje also sent me a few pictures for inspiration. Which is always very helpful!

They said the wicker crib in the picture was similar to theirs, however they wanted curled legs so the crib could swing. The crib on the card was what they visualised for the card. They really wanted the crib to have ornate legs, like rocking chair, and a canopy above the crib.

Besides photos of cribs, they also sent a whole lot of zebra pictures as they couldn’t choose. They wanted a whole zebra to be featured and not just a partially one. Noortje wanted just one zebra, but Stephan really liked a mom with her foal. Both really liked the picture where the zebras stood with their behind to the camera.

Baby announcements

Designing the papercut

As this papercut would be used as baby announcements and it would be printed, I made the design larger than the final birth announcement cards would be, so the printed card would still have a nice level of detail. To give the design a more interesting look, than just a straight wall and floor of a nursery, I decided to put the crib in the corner of the room, so I would have two walls to “use”. On one I drew the farmhouse window with stars and moon behind it. On the other one I featured the requested zebras.

ontwerp noortje voor op site 1 e1528743205749 - Custom baby announcements with stripes...I didn’t want to have just standard zebras on the wall and as Stephan and Noortje both really liked the zebra bums, I decided to use those. But just their behinds wouldn’t look enough like zebras once cut, as I don’t have shading to work with. So I had them look behind them, towards the spectator. To have the zebras look like a wallpainting I would cut away their stripes and make their contour that way, instead of cutting away the wall behind them. Otherwise it would look like they are standing in the room (that would be a little weird. ;) )

The floor looked a bit bare at this point, so I filled it up a bit, to balance the design. I added a few things; a rug, buntings and building blocks with numbers.gepersonaliseerd geboortekaartje

The endresult and very creative ideas…

nursery decorAfter approval of the design and when the cutting was done, I sent the piece to Stephan and Noortje so they could work together with their printer to turn it into a birth announcement card.

They did a great job designing the baby announcements and framing the piece.

But they did something else amazing with this design; they asked me whether I would be ok if they turned the zebras into a wall sticker. How ingenious is this?! I think it looks so good, even blown up like this, on the nursery wall.

What do you think?

What the client said:

*Translated from Dutch*
“During a workshop papercutting with Marthe the idea of a custom made birth announcement card came to mind. At home I convinced my hubby and we sent Marthe an e-mail and asked if she’d like to make a papercut. We wanted to make a rough sketch ourselves and asked Marthe to turn this into a nice papercut in the way she sees fit. We wanted the nursery to be featured on the card in the way it was going to be. We were still busy remodeling and in the end the nursery wasn’t ready when our baby was born, but we could use the birth announcement card as guidance. ;)

Marthe really listened to us and checked in a few times to make sure we were still on the same page. We sent our sketch and pictures of the crib and described the feeling we wanted. Marthe really captured this beautifully in her design!

The original is a true work of art and the announcement cards are unique. We framed the original in a cork frame with double museumglass to create depth without a reflection. Wow, how this papercut is coming together this way!
The zebras on the wall in the papercut were printed as stickers by our printer and decorate the real wall of the nursery now. And our baby loves Marthe’s zebras :D. The papercut hangs in the hallway next to the nursery. Vík likes the zebras on his wall as much as we do and kisses them regularly, so sweet.”

Stephan & Noortje – The Netherlands

origineel geboortekaartje

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thumbnail papercut rebecca recent posts 624x624 - Papercut for a first wedding anniversary

Papercut for a first wedding anniversary

A custom made piece from first enquiry to final delivery

Even after working with Marthe on the design and seeing a scan of the work, I was blown away by the intricate papercut that arrived in the mail.

Custom first anniversary papercut

Client’s requests

When Rebecca reached out to me through Etsy, she was asking whether it would be possible for me to make something special for her husband for their first wedding anniversary (the first year is “paper”!), in a limited time frame.

She really wanted a papercut feature a quote they used in their wedding. As her husband is Spanish, the text was in Spanish as well:

“Que en la amistad haya algún elemento del amor puede ser; pero son dos cosas diferentes.
El amor exige pruebas sobrenaturales, uno querría que la persona que está enamorada o enamorado de uno le diera pruebas milagrosas de ese amor.
En cambio la amistad no necesita de pruebas.”

Anniversary gift paper wedding personalized
We discussed the amount of text and I suggested that we would cut out the text in the paper, but Rebecca really wanted the text to be “positive” (so the paper around the letters would be cut away, the letters would stay).

Rebecca told me she was flexible on what other design elements we could include and didn’t have a preference with regards to the shape or size. Rebecca and her husband really like mountains, and they would be hiking around Mont Blanc for their anniversary. That’s why she was thinking about a silhouette of a mountain, but wasn’t sure how that would look on a papercut.

Unique custom wedding gift

 Designing the papercut

There were a few difficult things in designing this papercut.
One was the amount of text that needed to be “positive” and left in the paper. This is hard as everything needs to be connected to each other. With just a few words it’s not that difficult to do, but with a whole quote it’s quite the opposite. All the words need to be held together, without compromising the readability of the text. But also all the little punctuations and dots on “i” and other diacritics for example, need to be held together.

The other difficulty was the time frame. It needed to be produced quickly, so Rebecca could gift the papercut to her husband on their anniversary.

Designed paper cut out customWith regards to the text; I explained to Rebecca that I would need to play around with the text to be able to figure out a design that keeps all together. And I asked her if she would be ok with a design without the regular left-to-right, top-to-bottom, lay-out. She was, as long as the text would  still be, some-what, readable. I also needed a larger size, so the letters wouldn’t be so small that I wouldn’t be able to cut them nicely. Rebecca agreed.

That’s when the idea hit me to use the shape of the letters to more or less create the rough feel of the mountains. As they would be hiking around the Mt. Blanc for their anniversary, I used the ‘skyline’ of the Mont Blanc as reference. Then the text was carefully designed to still be readable, but also enhance the total design of the mountain.

Rebecca had a little trouble with seeing how the final piece would look, when looking at the sketch. So I made a very raw cut out of a small part of the design as an example. I got her complete approval after this. ;)

What the client said:

“I messaged WhisperingPaper on Etsy about a papercut for my first wedding anniversary. Marthe did a great job brainstorming ideas with me, and I’m so pleased with the design we eventually agreed upon: a reading from our wedding over a mountain silhouette- both elements that are very special to my husband and I. When I was concerned about how the draft would look on a papercut, she tweaked the draft so I could better imagine how the final product would look. She also spent time updating the draft to make it exactly what I imagined.

Even after working with Marthe on the design and seeing a scan of the work, I was blown away by the intricate papercut that arrived in the mail. What I received in the mail is EVEN BETTER than what we had been discussing on Etsy. I was so excited to share the gift with my partner, and I’m so glad that WhisperingPaper spent the time to design exactly what I had in mind.My husband and I will cherish it for years to come.

Thanks again!!!”

Rebecca – New York, USA

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thumbnail papercut emily recent posts 624x624 - Parting papercut - goodbye gift for the nanny

Parting papercut – goodbye gift for the nanny

A custom made piece from first enquiry to final delivery

She took my half-baked idea of what I wanted and turned it into a beautiful piece of artwork — with so many personal touches hidden within.

Unique art gift

Client’s requests

papercut emily shadows 2 207x300 - Parting papercut - goodbye gift for the nanny

A few months ago I was contacted by a very considerate, sweet lady Emily, who wanted me to make a unique parting gift to give to her nanny because her son is now going to daycare.

She wanted the piece to be a memory to their family, so she asked me to include her son. And as her nanny took him to the swings often, she suggested a bucket swing as well.
The family dog couldn’t be missed either. Emily sent pictures over of her dog and her son, so I could recreate them as true to life as possible.
Besides these main features, she wanted me to include a few other things: the year “2017”, a monkey and a frog (from favorite books and toys) and the Brazilian flag (nationality of the nanny).

emily 2 fotos 2 - Parting papercut - goodbye gift for the nanny

Designing the papercutCustomized personal art

I decided to make a scene in the park featuring their happy boy in his bucket swing under the watchful eye of their family dog. The “originals” (dog and boy) needed to be resembled  as closely as possible in the design, so I used multiple pictures that were sent to me to create the design.
The other elements to be incorporated, were more blend in, in the environment, as they weren’t supposed to be a main feature. Can you spot the “2017” (this one’s obvious), monkey, frog and Brazilian flag?

What the client said:

“I was searching for a meaningful, from the heart gift for my nanny who was finishing up her time with us. I wanted something that would be able to remind her of our time together while still being something pretty enough that she’d actually want to set it around her house! I was thrilled to find Whispering Paper.
From the start, Marthe was a pleasure to work with. She was responsive, helpful and genuinely wanted to make sure I was happy with her work. She took my half-baked idea of what I wanted and turned it into a beautiful piece of artwork — with so many personal touches hidden within. I got this to give as a gift, but I love it so much, I’ve had to talk myself out of keeping it for myself!”

Emily – New York, USA

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thumbnail papercut mike recent posts 624x624 - Papercut for a newborn baby boy

Papercut for a newborn baby boy

A custom made piece from first enquiry to final delivery

Creative craftmanship with an eye for all the personal details to which I didn’t even know I wanted them in the piece.

Customized new baby gift

Client’s requests

Personalized new baby art for nursery

When a newly-made uncle Mike, contacted me, he requested a unique and personalized new baby gift for his newborn nephew.

He asked me to incorporate the name and birthdate of the baby boy in the design. As it wouldbe for a boy he wanted a bit of a bolder and tough font.

Mike saw the nightlight with a forest theme I made earlier and said that was the kind of atmosphere he was looking for. So, he wanted a Bambi-style forest theme, like a small clearing in the woods, but without the buntings I did in the nightlight. Instead he asked to have the name incorporated in the design itself.

He asked me to incorporate a fox somewhere in the design as that was a play on the mothers name, and maybe some special touches to make it unique.

Besides the usual forest creatures he asked me to incorporate a monkey to refer to the big brother of Benja. ;)

Custom made new baby gift art for nursery

Designing the papercut

With this information in mind I started designing.
A tricky part in designing a scene like this, is that I want it to look interesting and make your eyes wander all over the piece, instead of going in a boring horizontal line. To do this I created different groundlevels.

I also decided to have some interaction between the fox and fawn and fill the forest with little forest creatures (and the little monkey!) to give it a fun, playful (and a bit a “cute”) look, without using buntings etc.
I think the final piece does give that ‘Bambi-feel’, don’t you?

What the client said:

(translated from Dutch)
“They (the new parents) were extremely happy with it and they really thought it was beautiful. So I fortunately got the pat on the back for choosing this gift.”

“It also was such a festive package, all nicely wrapped and with the separate cards, it just felt complete.
Creative craftmanship with an eye for all the personal details to which I didn’t even know I wanted them in the piece. I really take my hat off to you!”

Mike – the Netherlands

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thumbnail papercut linda recent posts 624x624 - Papercut for a 25th wedding anniversary

Papercut for a 25th wedding anniversary

A custom made piece from first enquiry to final delivery

She took my ideas and turned them into a one of a kind, detail filled, work of art
made with both talent and love.

Wedding papercut

Client’s requests

linda ontwerp op lichtbak 300x300 - Papercut for a 25th wedding anniversary


A while ago I was contacted by this sweet sweet lady Linda, who wanted me to make something special to give to her husband for their 25th (!) wedding anniversary.

She asked me to incorporate this poem by Robert Saxton as they do a lot of holding hands and hiking together:


“Across the years I will walk with you –
in deep green forests; on shores of sand:
and when our time on earth is through,
in heaven, too, you will have my hand” 

Custom anniversary gift
Linda told me she loves the forest, desert, Hawaii (birthground and engagement setting) and Switzerland. She also told me she ballroom dances together with her husband, who loves astronomy.
As she really liked the papercut flowers I did in other pieces and wanted the flowers in her papercut to represent California, Switzerland and Hawaii if possible.
For the overall shape, we decided to go with a heart shaped papercut, to visualise her love for her husband.

Unique personalized gift

Designing the papercut

To visualise the different locations in the design, I used Hawaiian flowers (hibiscus & brackenridgei) on the lower halve of the papercut. The border around the text was cut in a water-like shape to represent the (Hawaiian) sea.
The middle halve is filled with flowers from California (California poppies) and a sandy border around the text visualising the Californian desert.
The top halve of the heart shows flowers from Switzerland (Edelweiss ofcourse and the mossy saxifrage) with a peak silhouette border.

Personalized papercut

To make the papercut even more personal we hid some things requested by the client in between the flowers. Can you find them? Look for the following: pictures of the couple walking, holding hands, couple dancing, telescope, shell and the couples walking shoes?

What the client said:

Marthe’s work is truly breathtakingly BEAUTIFUL! She is talented , creative and patient.
I was looking for a unique piece of art to surprise my husband with for our 25th wedding anniversary.
I found Marthe’s a joy to work with. She took my ideas and turned them into a one of a kind, detail filled, work of art made with both talent and love.  When the finished piece  arrived I went WOW!  The finished piece far exceeded my hopes.

Linda – California USA

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