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Fold and Cut Friezes, Shelf Edgings and Flowerpot Decorations
This page attempts to record what is known about the origin and history of Fold and Cut Friezes and Shelf Edging. Please contact me if you know any of this information is incorrect or if you have any other information that should be added. Thank you.

Friezes are made by zig zag folding strips of paper and cutting parts of the folded edges away. The Chain of Dolls is a type of frieze.

Friezes have been used as shelf edgings. However, I have found it difficult to obtain historical information about this subject.



'The Girl's Own Book' by Lydia Marie Child, which was published by Clark Austin and Co in New York in 1833, contains instructions explaining how to make 'Lace Work Cuttings' and use them to decorate candles. The instructions are not particularly clear but it appears this is a form of frieze.


Instructions for making a Fold and Cut Frieze also appear in 'Cuestiones de Pedagogía Práctica: Medios de Instruir' by D Vicente Castro Legua, which was published by Libreria de la Viuda de la Hernando y Ca in Madrid in 1893.


Friezes used as Shelf Edgings

'Paper Magic' by Will Blyth, which was first published by C Arthur Pearson in London in 1920, includes instructions for making a 'Mantel Border'.

********** quotes the following passage from the children's book 'On the Banks of Plum Creek'  by Laura Ingalls Wilder, the fourth book in the 'Little House on the Prairie' series, which was published in 1937 by Harper and Brothers in New York: '... Ma brought out two long strips of brown wrapping-paper that she had saved. She folded them, and she showed Mary and Laura how to cut tiny bits out of the folded paper with the scissors. When each unfolded her paper, there was a row of stars. ... Ma spread the paper on the shelves behind the stove. The stars hung over the edges of the shelves, and the light shone through them.'

The same source also quotes from the book 'Scherenschnitte: Traditional Papercutting' by Claudia Hopf, which was published by Lark Book in Asheville, NC in 1996 which mentions that .Pennsylvania Dutch housewives often used newspaper for shelf edgings: 'The paper was folded in fan fashion, the edge was then cut in sometimes crude and sometimes lacy designs. When opened it produced a repeat pattern flowing along the border edge. These were changed and new cut when the papers became soiled or during seasonal housecleaning times.'


Friezes used as Flowerpot Decorations

'Paper Magic' by Will Blyth also includes a design for a frieze to be used as a 'Flower Pot Decoration'.