Carp Kirie


Kodomo-no-hi (Children’s Day)

As it was May 5th,  I decided to make something with carp. In Japan, this day is called Kodomo-no-hi, which translates to Children’s Day. It celebrates the hope for kids health and growth. We put koi-nobori, cloth streamers in the shape of a carp, on tall poles outside our house, so that when they blow in the wind, they look as though they are swimming in the sky. Carps are believed to be fish capable of climbing up stream against rapid currents overcoming all manner of obstacles. 

I decided to do something with kirie, the Japanese art of paper cutting.

今日は5月5日なので、鯉にちなんだ何かを作ることにしました。 日本では、この日はこどもの日と呼ばれ、子供の健康的な成長を願い祝います。 鯉のぼりは家の外の高い柱に取り付け、風でたなびき空を泳ぎます。日本では鯉は困難を乗り越え、急流に逆らって川を登る縁起の良い魚だと考えられています。 

Koi-nobori (Carp Streamers)

Traditional koi-nobori (carp streamers) celebrating kodomo-no-hi (Children’s Day)


Rough Sketch

First of all, I made a rough sketch directly onto black paper.


The Force Was With Me (a little too much)!

In the past, I’ve had problems using thick paper for kirie, so I used thinner paper this time. Even so, I had to change the blade 4 times. Maybe I press too hard!


Kirie (Paper-Cutting)

Finally, the kirie was complete. It took a long time!


Pebeo Vitrail

Originally, the head of the carp was solid black but I felt this was a bit heavy, so I cut out the black part, attached it to acetate and coloured it with Pebeo Vitrail. I hung it on the wall and took a picture, but I felt something was missing. I decided to make a simple frame.

やっぱり頭が重たかったので黒の部分をカット、アセテートに貼り付け Pebeo Vitrail で着色しました。壁に飾って写真を撮ったけれど何か物足りないので、結局簡易フレームを作る事にしました。


I used some empty dog food boxes.


Silver Tape

I stuck the silver tape on the two cut frames.


The Frame

The frame was made using two layers. This was partly to increase the rigidity, but also for decorative purposes. I also used silver tape on the outer layer. The frame needs to be completely wrapped so that the tape covers all the edges. Then emboss using an embossing folder.



The permanent ink (StazOn) pad was rubbed directly onto the tape for colouring.



After that, I randomly rubbed transparent oil ink (VersaMark) over the surface of the frame, and then applied embossing powder and fixed it with a heat gun. At that time, the metal tape is ok, but if you use ordinary silver colour tape like me, please be careful as it will melt if you apply too much heat.


Koi Carp and Frame

Finished! I’ve added the carp … Hmm ? If you put it in the frame, you may need a little more space. It’s easy to put it in and take it out, so maybe I’ll try a different one.

完成!鯉を入れてみました… うーん?、フレームに入れるんならもう少し余白が必要かもしれません。一応これは出し入れが出来るのでまた違うものも考えてみます。

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4 thoughts on “Carp Kirie”

  1. Hi. I am taking a kirie class here in Japan. I live in Aichi prefecture. This is beautiful. I think it will take me a long time to get to your level!

    • Hello again! It’s great to hear that you are taking a kirie class. It takes a lot of patience and I am just an amateur! I used to live not far from you, in Shizuoka!

  2. I think this my favourite kirie that you have done so far. I love the translucent effect of painting on the acetate. Love the frame, too! x


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