This week I've tried to maximize my time and instead of cutting Hanji items out of cardboard by hand, I decided to piece together some of the kits I've collected over the years. Many of these kits are more than 10 years old and have been with me since I left Korea and during my travels to different countries around the world.
These days I usually cut out my own items using a thick cardboard and a very sharp craft knife using one of the patterns I've drawn up. The beauty of this is that because of a lot of trial and correction over the years I now know that everything fits nicely. There's always the odd occasion when lines aren't cut as precisely as they should be and small tweaks need to be made, but they're usually very easily correctable.
What I've found is that I can't assume that the kits are going to be better and quicker as well as producing a more precise article. You would expect that this would be the case with machinery doing the cutting with precision and power, but that's not necessarily the case.
|Cut by hand|
One of the lamp kits I used was so bad that the lid didn't fit and after 3 lots of adjustment I finally decided to completely redo the sides to accommodate the lid. Angles cut tended to be very inaccurate and didn't fit exactly which meant a lot of work to fill in gaps before covering with my beautiful Hanji papers. Along with that some lids on boxes were either sloppy or tight which meant resizing to make them fit.
By all means use kits you've been able to buy in Korea or online as they're always advertised as an attractively finished product but just be aware that it's the foundation of an article which dictates the quality of the item.
From my experience, I've found that the kits that I've been able to get aren't always the quickest and easiest way to produce a quality Hanji piece and I'd be interested to know if there is a company who makes well cut kits for Hanji.