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Cutting Tools Quick Tips

Cutting Knives

Cutting Knives- a craft essential, cutting knives are available in a lot of different configurations. The best ones have a gripping piece. I personally like the rubber gripe. The great thing about these knives is that you buy the handle once, and just replace the blades. You can buy these as singles or as in a kit with multiple handles and blades. Always buy blades for your knife the same time you buy it. A basic craft knife will serve most of your paper crafting needs.
  • To get rid of a used blade, wrap it in duct tape before disposing of it
  • Never press too hard on a craft knife. You can dull or break the blade.
  • To use a ruler to make a straight line, hold the ruler with one hand. 
    Run the pointed tip of a craft knife along the length of the ruler, dragging it very gently down as you go. This will lightly score the paper (you're not trying to cut through it yet), and leave a "path" for the blade to follow. While continuing to hold the ruler in place, draw the blade down the scored line, pressing a little harder to cut through the paper.
  • If you are using a blade, and your paper starts to rip, it is time to replace your blade
  • Always use a cutting mat when you are using a craft knife, This will help your blade to stay sharper and protect your work surface. 
  • All cutting knives when not in use should either be retracted or covered when not in use
  • All cutting knives should be stored beyond the reach of children
  • Hold it like a pencil

More Cutting Tips And Ideas

Utility Knives- 

Utility knives used to cut heavier materials like cardboard or chipboard, these knives are for materials heavier than paper. They are really very sharp and precautions should be taken when using them.

  • Keep the knife retracted when not in use. 
  • Keep your body away from the cutting line
  • Avoid conversation while using the knife
  • Work on a stable surface
  • Use gloves to protect your hands

Swivel Knife

This knife has a micro-fine blade that swivels 360 degrees for very fine cutting

If you are using a cutting knife, you will also need a cutting mat!

  • Keep one mat just for paper crafting and one mat for your messier projects like gluing and painting

Paper Cutters/ Trimmers (also called Guillotines)

There are a lot of choices when it comes to tools that cut your paper. It can be challenging to find the one that meets your needs because there are so many choices. Let's see if we can help you narrow down the choices so that you can find the right one that fits your needs.

What To Think About When Considering A Paper Cutter

  1. The first is what will I use it for? Will I be cutting just paper, mixed media or material? For example, if you are planning just to cut cardstock, you will only need a simple trimmer. If you are planning to cut heavy-duty materials, you will need a heavy-duty trimmer. 
  2. How much space do you have to store a paper cutter? The guillotine cutters take the most amount of space. Before you buy, think about where you will store your paper cutter.
  3. How many pages of paper do you want to cut at one time? Each trimmer has a cutting capacity. So again, you need to think about your use. 
  4. What size will the materials be that you plan to cut be? You need to consider the size of the paper you will be cutting. You should have a cutter that will minimally cut at least 6 inches.
  5. What amount of money am I willing to pay for that trimmer? Trimmers can run from the $25 dollar range up into the hundreds of dollars.
  6. Safety-If you have kids or grandkids in your home you will need to think about safety too.

Guillotine/ By-Pass Trimmer

The cutting blade for this type of paper cutter is mounted on a long arm that is pulled down to cut the paper. They are very accurate. 

  • They can cut through many different kinds of materials making them very versatile.
  • The thickness they can cut depends on the cutter 
  • The trimmer has a very sharp open blade.

Rotary Trimmer

These trimmers are encased in a round case on a rail. To use them, you push down on the blade, pulling or pushing along a metal rail.

  • They are very accurate
  • They can cut through a variety of materials, including fabric. 
  • These trimmers require consistent, even pressure on the blade to cut accurately.

Paper Trimmers

Paper Trimmers use a channel, metal or plastic, to house a blade that travels back and forth. These are the type of trimmers that most paper crafters use. They are very easy to use. The blades are replaced easily. They are accurate once you practice a bit

  • Easy to use.
  • The blades can be replaced easily.
  • Paper trimmers are accurate with a little bit of practice.

Paper Trimmer Tips

  • Never overload your trimmer. Each trimmer has a capacity of the number of pages it will cut. Overloading your trimmer will cause a very ragged cut
  • Use the lined grid and ruler on your trimmer to get straight cuts. As my dad would often say, " Measure twice and cut once".
  • If your trimmer has a paper clamp, make sure to use it
  •  Set the trimmer on a solid flat service
  • Always lock the blade when you are finished using your trimmer


Scissors are of course a must-have tool for any paper crafter. You actually need several different sizes.
Different sizes serve different purposes. Scissors are generally referred to in blade length. 

You need a large pair of scissors with a 4-inch blade. These are used for all kinds of general cutting needs. Cutting card shapes, general cutting, cutting foam tape among just a few.

Another pair that is essential is a 2.5-inch pair of scissors. This size if perfect for cutting out small detailed stamps and other images.