10 Paper Cutting Tools
Dear friends ,I get lots of queries regarding crafting tools and techniques ..this post is for those kind souls who flatter me by asking me for advice and tips!!So sharing basic and popular paper crafting tools
[the must haves and the fancy ones] from the Indian craft scene scenario as procuring Paper-crafting tools is a big challenge in India.[See my post on CraftSupply Stores India
NB: I get no incentive for writing about a product /seller and the sole purpose of this post is to help crafters!Also if you are selling a product and I give a negative opinion of it please don't be offended as its just my personal opinion and experience with my level of skill..a better crafter may be enjoying the said tool tremendously
Guillotine Paper Cutters
Die Cutting Machines
Electronic Cutting Machines
Basic Scissors: For basic crafting needs any good locally available brand would do. Over time I have a huge collected many scissors[ updated this scissors picture on Jan 2015!] A good locally available brand is Cartini.
Pros: You can get good one locally
Cutting perfect straight lines requires a bit of care! If you have to do loads of cutting it will take its toll on you!
Tip:Avoid using your paper crafting scissors for other purposes such as cutting fabric.
Special Crafting Scissors : See my post on Crafters Corner : Reviewing the Best Crafting scissors
Fiskars Hobby Snip Review
|Fiskars Hobby Snip|
The Fiskars Hobby Snip is a big strong fellow with so many clever features!
|Fiskars Hobby Snip|
Best Features of Fiskars Hobby Snips
Criticism of the Fiskars Hobby Snip : I am totally in love with this one so no you are not going to hear a word against it from me!Ha Ha!
- Soft grip and Easy to hold
- Serrated blades for nice grip while cutting
- Hole for dowel/ wire cutting - awesome feature- see later in the post!
- Spring Action - means less aching hands while cutting!
- Easy lock which can be operated using your thumb!
|Fiskars Hobby Snip|
Can cut a huge variety of materials - Fabric,Cardboard,Chipboard, Zips,18 G Wire, Leather, thin Metal , Plastic,Wooden skewers
|Fiskars Hobby Snip|
I 'll first show you my most favorite feature of this scissors - do you see that funny looking hole in the scissors blades?
|Fiskars Hobby Snip Dowel hole|
Those are meant for cutting wooden skewers and wire!
|Fiskars Hobby Snip cutting dowel /wood|
Just insert your wooden stick into one of the holes and close the scissor...hey presto the stick is cut in a snap! I demonstrated it to my hubby and boy was he impressed![Have you felt like kissing a scissors
? I did at that point as I fell in love right there with this baby!]
|Fiskars Hobby Snip cutting wooden rod|
Both the Tim Holtz and the Fiskars Amplify scissors can cut card board but how about if you want to keep on cutting card board / chipboard for hours together...the Fiskars Hobby Snip is the one you get because as it has a spring action...after each cut the blades spring apart and your hands wont ache even with this heavy duty cutting!!
|Spring action at work cutting cardboard|
And the spring action makes even fringing thin cardboard a breeze!
|Fringing thin Cardboard|
Because its such a strong scissors you can use it for peculiar crafty needs...like chopping off the hook in a plastic crystal bead to make a round crystal[ going to use it as a flower center and it looks better without the hole]
If you like working with fabric and felt...the serrated blades makes cutting easy
and the spring action makes fringing felt ..easy peasy! Yes you can roll these up to make fringed felt flowers like you would paper quilled fringed flowers!
And here is one more unique feature of the scissors - it has an absolutely flat lower handle surface and you can make it stand on a flat surface while cutting something lengthy like fabric or chart paper!
|Fiskars Hoby Snip Standing!|
And because of its spring action this baby even has an Arthritis Foundation Ease of Use Seal!!
Fancy border scissors:
are available in many stationary shops the popular ones being zig- zag, wavy, scallop etc. Have tried these fancy border scissors from several companies but I don’t relish working with them as I feel they require quite a lot of effort to create decent patterns!
Pros: Inexpensive and fun
They require quite a lot of effort to create decent patterns and most of the brands available locally don’t cut as smoothly as you would want them to!
These scissors cut paper into thin strips…Super awesome for making paper hair, fringed flowers, grass, paper weaving etc.I personally have not bought one as I couldn’t get it locally but Delhi based Craft blogger Sudha
sells them [PS: I receive no incentives for listing her…I just saw the product on her website!]
Pros: A fun fancy tool to have in your armamentaria. The local one is not expensive costing Rs 300 only [ref Sudha].Making fringed flowers would be so easy with this.
Cons: Consider whether you will be using it that much and if you are a dedicated quiller you may even want to invest in the more expensive fringing machine.
Small tip scissors
: Though there are many expensive craft scissors, a cuticle scissors is just great for this purpose. If you love quilling, kirigami, 3D decoupage and fine paper crafting these may come in handy. Though I do lots of fine cutting [in origami architecture and kirigami pop up cards] I don’t use small scissors for the simple reason that they get misplaced so fast in our household and I would have to hunt boxes of toys and junk to retrieve it!
Pros: helps snip off the teeny paper bits and corners. Not expensive so worth investing.
Cons: You may as well adjust with your regular big scissors and craft knife! Not a good thing to have around kids and doggy helpers [a big factor for crafters like me!]
Scissors to cut double sided foam tape and sticky tape:
If you have ever used double sided foam tape you will realize how sticky your scissors becomes on cutting it so it’s an absolute must to keep a separate scissors to cut those sticky double sided foam tapes.An old scissors would work well for this purpose.
Another awesome alternative is a nonsticky scissors such as the Tim Holtz Tonic Scissors
which is such a beauty as it doesnt get sticky after hours of sticky tape cutting !
2.Guillotine Paper Cutters
These are amazing to use…you just press the lever down and the paper will cut though like magic!
Tips to consider while buying:
Chose the size and brand wisely and do test it out!
|Guillotine paper cutter|
Taj /Other Local Indian Brand Guillotine Cutter
|Guillotine paper cutter|
I initially bought a 14 cm x local brand Taj guillotine costing around 700 rupees…it cuts well but I faced difficulties in cutting large chart paper for my daughters school projects so later on invested in a larger one by brand Deli .
Pros: Comparatively inexpensive as locally manufactured. Smaller ones cost less than 500 rupees.
It cut handmade paper, thin paper, origami paper and card stock easily.
Sharp cutting blade needs no replacement…the vendor said like a knife you can sharpen it if it blunts over time. Mine has been subjected to heavy use more than a year and still cuts perfectly.
Available in India but you may need to hunt for it
Cons: Very heavy and bulky as made of metal completely.
Take care if kids and pets are around as the blade is exposed.
In the Taj Model the paper has to be placed below a plastic platform and I couldn’t place thick foam or cardboard under it.
|Guillotine paper cutter|
If I put the thick material over it and tried cutting the edges would be extremely jagged!
Markings may be in centimeter or inches and the Taj brand has no markings on the platform so for the less mathematically inclined like me this is a disadvantage
Deli Guillotine Paper cutter
Pros: Available in India in major stationary shops such as Staples and even your local stationary shop may be able to procure one for you.
Cutting is a breeze. Easily cuts foam and even thick cardboard.
Available in different sizes and materials [plastic, steel and wood]based on your needs and budget- small ones may be enough for the card maker and big ones extremely useful if you want to cut large sheets for large projects or school projects]
|Guillotine Paper Cutter [Image from Deli Site]|
Big help is the detailed measurement markings on the platform as well as the top shelf. Markings are in both centimeters and inches.
|Guillotine Paper Cutter|
My Deli is a huge 21 x 16 inch wooden guillotine cutter
|Guillotine Paper cutter|
Cons: More expensive compared to local Indian brand guillotine cutters. No fancy border cutting option
Pros of Guillotine Paper cutter
No blade replacement necessary.
Cutting is easy, fast and clean.
Less expensive compared to the paper trimmers.
Sturdy and strong as made of wood or metal.
Easy to cut thin paper strips for quilling
Advantage over paper shredder is that you can cut your strips wider than in the paper shredder.
Even though the name guillotine is scary I even let my 5 year old daughter use it under supervision explaining to her the right way to use it and the precautions
Cons of Guillotine Paper cutter
Most are bulky and heavy so difficult to carry around.
You cannot cut a slit in the middle of the paper like in fancy paper trimmers.
I don’t know of any guillotine cutter which cuts a fancy border.
For paper strip cutting for quilling you need to cut each individual paper strip and won’t be able to shred a paper into strips as quickly as in a paper shredder.
There are many brands available both online and at local stores. They have small blades which slide across and cut your paper…a proper fancy tool to own!
Pros: Depending on the brand you may have options to cut fancy borders, cut a slit in the middle of the paper or even score the paper.
Light weight so easy to carry around.
Cons: The biggest negative of these for me personally was that they need replacement blades and if you are buying them online you have to keep in mind the availability of the blades too!
A bit of online research with price and feature comparison is required to find the right one for your needs!
If you are not sure about the brand, do insist on testing it before you buy. I was excited to find one at a local stationary shop in Bangalore but to my disappointment on testing at the shop the cutting quality was atrocious! [Maybe it was an old piece or the company was inferior but my advice would be to be cautious if you do see it at your local shop!]
Have no idea if they are strong enough to cut foam and cardboard [dear friends do share your views]
Regular Craft Knife
This is one tool which will give quality cutting even with the cheap variety!! I use the craft knife for kirigami, origami architecture projects, pop up cards and 3 D paper crafts.
I buy the 10 rupee variety and am fine with it! Have tried expensive versions but the blades need replacement no matter which brand you use so you might as well go with the cheaper version!
Pros: Cheap. Easily Available. Common brands come with “break off” spare blades.
Cons: You need a cutting mat or the kitchen cutting board to lay your paper on so that the knife doesn’t cut through and leave marks. The blades blunt fast and if you cut with a blunt blade you get ugly jagged edges and even torn paper. Breaking off the blades when they blunt is not something I relish doing as snapping them off is often not easy as it looks!
Small tip craft knife/Swivel Knife
shares that the Camel brand craft knife blade stays sharp for long…I have to go hunt for it!
I bought this knife as part of a Cut N Tuck kit by Shilpi Company. It’s available for sale individually too and many craft shops will sell the knife as part of the set.
Pros: Very fine knife suitable for delicate cutting. Cut N Tuck templates cut best with this swivel knife.
Cons: I would say its expensive as its around 200-300Rupees and the blades break so easily even with one use! If you don’t use the knife in the prescribed angle and manner the blade breaks! The photo shows the broken swivel knife blade and the tiny spare blade
The blades are not easily available to buy and are comparatively expensive too. Apart from Cut N tuck projects I do not really relish using this delicate knife!
These are fun tools which can cut a paper strip into perfectly even fringes in no time at all! It’s a cleverly designed machine which feeds a paper strip into a mini guillotine which cuts the paper strip into fringes on an up and down motion of a lever. There are 2 types of fringing machines available: one cut at 90 degrees and one cuts at an angle.
Pros: Fringing paper using the normal scissors is time consuming and you need to have a knack to cut your fringes evenly spaced. The machine works like clockwork to cut a paper strip into beautiful even fringes.
The fringed flowers made using the machine fringed strips have a professional look as the cuts are so fine and even!
Cons: Expensive costing 1800- 2500 rupees
Can only cut paper of a particular width [eg 1cm]...Anything more and the paper will not fit; anything less and the cutting goes haywire!I found at some seller sites that the machine can cut a width range of 1/4 to 3/8 inch by some adjustment[I have not tried to screw around with the adjustments for fear of breaking it apart !!]
Needs evenly cut paper strips as otherwise midway the paper can get stuck or even be cut through
The less expensive fringing scissors is more versatile as the paper width will not be a restrictive factor!
You have to get into the knack of using the machine and if you are a bit careless with the up and down lever movement the paper gets cut through instead of being fringed!
Not easily available in India [Have seen it at Devi & Co and Itsy Bitsy Bangalore]
You have to test it before buying as I found one at a reputed craft store which would not cut properly at all!
In the end you might as well take out the scissors and fringe your paper in the usual way as a bit of imperfection in the fringing may not matter to you!
Circle Cutters: Circle cutters are marketed by many big brands such as Fiskars, Martha Stewart etc
Pros: fun tool to have especially if you want to cut clean circles accurately
Cons: You need to buy online or from a dedicated craft shop which imports it as not easily available in Indian stationary shops. Blades need replacing.
Tips before buying: If you have a die cutting machine with circle dies that may work for small to large circles and if you want to cut small circles the circle punch is an easier and cheaper option! And do consider how frequently and how much you need to cut circles before splurging on this fancy tool!
Compass Circle cutter
Pros: Available in India in major stationary shops, not as expensive as Fiskars and Jef shape cutters
Cons: Not very easy to use. I bought one ages back but found that simply cutting a circle with the scissors was easier than using this!
I would not advise to let your KIDS use it as its difficult to handle!!
Blades need to be replaced and though the Olfa brand comes with a couple of spare blades , the blades are not easily available to buy!
Other Shape cutters with built in shape templates are available in an amazing range of shapes such as circle, oval, star etc. Brands available in India-Jef [Itsy Bitsy, Mahavir traders], Fiskars
|Fiskars Shape Cutter [Image from Fiskars site]|
The Jef shape cutters come in huge nesting templates of a particular shape. The Fiskars shape cutters are smaller and different shapes come in a packet.
Pros: Would be fun to just slide the blade and cut out shapes!
Cons: Needs replacement blades which are not easy to get in India. The shop I saw the shape cutters in didn’t stock the replacement blades and though I was really tempted to buy I did not in the end!
|Hand rotated Paper Shredder|
Paper shredders are quite in demand these days by the paper crafters especially those who enjoy quilling. Paper shredder can shred paper into tiny bits or into strips. The type which shreds paper into strips is the variety popular with paper crafters.
Hand shredders are available in the Indian market costing 500-1000 rupees.
Battery operated or electrical shredders can be bought from stationary shops such as Reliance and Staples but are more expensive and may not be necessary for crafting purposes.
Pros: Works out more economic than buying quilling strips.
Would be a handy tool for quillers who don’t have easy access to buying quilling strips
You can hand paint the paper and shred it to create some unique shades [advantage over store bought strips]
Much faster than using a paper cutter or hand cutting—using a shredder you can create paper strips from an entire A 4 paper in seconds!
Cons: The paper strip width is a standard 3 mm and so you are limited by the paper strip width.
The edges have a mild wavy texture which you may not like for some projects though I personally love the appearance of it!
Not worth buying if you don’t quill loads of stuff!
Next in Paper cutting Tools series
8.Die Cutting Machines
9.Electronic Cutting Machines and
I hope my experienced paper crafter friends can chip in and add a tool, tip or technique which I missed out. Also do share your experience about a particular tool or product as it will be so helpful to all and I will edit this post accordingly