August 11, 2022

Favorite Laser Cut Books


Some books have pages or portions of pages with intricately-cut shapes. The process of creating these decorative contours is called laser cutting, which is exactly what it sounds like: a precision laser vaporizes any material (in this case, paper) within the negative space of the image. These laser cuts are especially common in pop-up books and carousel books to provide an extra layer of depth to the images.

click on a book cover to see more

...and don't forget to check out my other favorites lists:


By Théophile Gautier, Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges, and Charlotte Gastaut

This beautiful fairytale book features laser cut pages between most spreads, and paper artist Charlotte Gastaut takes the opportunity to play with different materials like vellum and shiny gold papers. The laser cut pages are often different in color from one side to the next, always highlighting a visual cue from the story.

By Béatrice Coron

This book is a leporello, and rather than focusing on illustrative details, the sole focus of this book is the delicate laser cuts. Both sides of the leporello are matte black and free if text, so the weight of the narrative lies on the dialogue created between readers when looking at the images and connecting them. A book like this is also prime for casting shadows on the walls with a flashlight!

Written by Paul Éluard and illustrated by Louis Rigaud and Anouck Boisrobert

This leporello adaptation of Éluard's poem about freedom during German occupation of France features laser cut, matte papers that layer on top of each other when the book is folded. As the narrative progresses, the accordion-style pages get taller, with intricate laser cuts along the tops and bottoms of each folded page. One side of the accordion is cream, and the other side features a few different colors that peep through when the book is folded, including orange and a deep mulberry color.

By Rébecca Dautremer

Join Jacominus Gainsborough on a day's worth of activities. Each page is intricately cut and features a few items from a larger scene, so it takes several pages to create a full scene. Flipping a page means peeling back a layer of a scene, and once every layer is peeled off for a place/activity, readers move onto a new place/activity Jacominus Gainsborough has planned. It goes without saying that every scene has an incredible amount of depth and detail—even the cover, which is also laser cut!

Garden Jungle

By Hélène Druvert

It's hard to pick just one Hélène Druvert for this list, so be aware that there are many others! This book takes readers through a jungle through the eyes of a young kid playing pretend in his garden. Around the middle of the book there is a section where many of the pages are laser cut, creating a single scene full of depth, color, and detail where readers can peel off the layers of the scene one at a time. You can see an interview I did with Hélène about her process many years ago here.

By Shobhna Patel

This pop-up book features intricate cutouts called "paperscopes" between heavily texted spreads that follow the traditional Nutcracker story. The paperscopes are designed so that readers can gently push down on a thicker, colored page to create a rounded, ornamental paper structure with laser cut illustrations on three sides.

Written by Marie Sellier and illustrated by Catherine Louis

This Little Red Riding Hood leporello sees Grandma heading to her three grandchildren when she encounters a wolf in the woods! Read more about this book and see more photos here.

By Yusuke Oono and Seigensha

This laser cut book is also a carousel book, so it opens to form a full circle. This is one of many 360° books from Yusuke Oono, and you can see images from his Snow White book here.

Puss in Boots

Written by Charles Perrault and illustrated by Clémentine Sourdias

This leporello features text and detailed illustrations on one side and black silhouettes on the other. The images on the story side are in shades of black, white, and gray with yellow pops of color. Check out Sourdias' version of Little Red Riding Hood here.

Written by The Brothers Grimm and illustrated by Sybille Schenker

This book features laser cut pages hidden amongst many of the spreads. With this edition of the Red Riding Hood tale, every part of the cutout is important, from what you see to what you don't see. You can also take a closer look at Schenker's Little Red Riding Hood here.

Written by Carlo Collodi and illustrated by Agnese Baruzzi

This classic tale features laser cut illustrations glued on top of cardstock. Full of different color combinations, each spread features a different set of intricately cut paper layered on top of another brightly colored paper. The text looks handwritten, also changing in color depending on the page.

Written by Frank L Baum, adapted by Michel Laporte, and illustrated by Olivier Latyk

This picture book retelling of the classic tale features several laser cut pages hidden among pages of text. The book sticks with shades of blue and yellow, with occasional overlap to make green (I think you know when that happens the most in the book!). The front of the book also features a large die cut with an intricate laser cut paper.

Written by Emmanuelle Figueras and Alexander Vidal

This picture book uses intricate laser cuts to take readers on a tour of nature's most delicate spaces, like spiderwebs, leaves, ant hills, and beehives. Every other page hosts the laser cuts so readers get to see both "sides" of each element.

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