Make paper stencils with the Indian art of paper cutting – ‘Sanjhi’. Jeyanthi Senthilrajan explains it all.

Most paper designs involve one basic skill – paper cutting. This art has evolved uniquely across the world, adapting to different traditional and cultural styles. ‘Sanjhi’ is the Indian art of paper cutting. It finds its roots in the Indian city of Mathura.

Traditionally, the art involved cutting of an intricate stencil depicting scenes from the life of Lord Krishna. This paper stencil was used mostly to make ‘rangoli’. The craftsmen at Vrindavan are among the few who still carry on this age-old art. You can read more about Sanjhi art here.

Art and craft enthusiasts have found new ways of using ‘Sanjhi’ art in their own creative ways. While exploring DIY projects on Pinterest and other creative platforms, I came across ‘Sanjhi’ and wanted to give it a try. And finally, I learned how to create ‘Sanjh’ stencils and art at home. Here’s how it’s done:

Materials required

Photo of materials required for Sanjhi painting

  • Paper A4 (black, white or any color of your choice)
  • Craft knife (designed for paper cutting)
  • A pair of scissors
  • Pencil
  • Eraser
  • Golden paint
  • Brush
  • Photo frame


  1. Measure the size of the photo frame and cut the paper to the same size.

    Photo of Step 1 of making the Sanjhi painting

  2. Draw any form that you like on the paper, I decided to use an image of Ganesha. Now cut out the drawing using a craft knife.

    Photo of Step 2 of making the Sanjhi painting

  3. Paint on the paper using the stencil as a guide and it’s practically done!

    Photo of Step 4 of making the Sanjhi painting

‘Sanjhi’ art templates and stencils are also available online. Frame your art to decorate your home or use them to make beautiful greeting cards for your family and friends.

Disclaimer: Opinions and methods expressed are solely of the writer. Namaste Switzerland does not undertake any obligation or liability which may arise from the content.