A Short Paper Cutter Guide for Handmade Card Making
Having a good method a good paper cutter handmade card making. There are lots of different methods and tools used for cutting and there's surely a favorite method of yours.
For the longest time I was using a craft knife and steel ruler, but then I got a real paper trimmer (on sale at Joann) and now I use the paper trimmer exclusively for longer cuts, while reserving my craft knife for more detailed cuts.
Here is a guide to the different types of cutters that are out there.
A craft knife is just like an X-acto knife. It is a pointed blade at the end of a "pen like" stick. Craft knifes are great to use with a steel ruler to get a straight cut. It is essential to use a steel ruler.
Before I invested in a steel ruler I was using an acrylic ruler and ended up cutting into the actual ruler -- it ruined the straight edge of the ruler and is bad crafting practice - I learned the hard way by ruining some nice paper that way.
If you are using a craft knife and steel ruler as your paper cutter, then try to get a ruler that is at least 12", but if you can swing it get one that is 18" long.
Self Healing Mat / Cutting Mat
If you are using a craft knife then it is important to invest in a self healing mat. These thick rubber mat can take a beating when you are crafting and it will save your tabletop tremendous wear and tear. Try to buy the biggest self healing mat that you can afford so that you won't be limited in your crafting adventures. If they are well taken care of they should last a long time.
TIP: Keep the mats out of the sun! I've ruined a perfectly good self healing by leaving it in the backseat of my car on a summer's day. It became warped beyond repair and I had to throw it out. So keep your mats out of the sun.
Guillotine Paper Cutters
A Guillotine cutter works like a sharp long blade that is raised and pulled down to cut paper. A lot classrooms and offices use this type because you can cut a decent sized stack of paper all at once.
These are not the best for crafting because the paper may shift under the angle of the blade which can cause the paper to be cut crooked. My sister got a free guillotine cutter from work and she uses it, but she is careful about not putting too much paper underneath the blade to prevent shifting and uneven cutting. So if you get one for free, then by all means, use it if you can.
Oval Paper Cutters
Oval paper cutters work with a blade that is sharp all around and a guiding stencil. If you don't anticipate making many ovals, then I wouldn't really about investing in an oval paper cutter.
Circle Paper Cutters
For those of us who cannot cut a circle, despite stencils and good scissors - there is hope! There are a few different circle cutters on the market. Some are fancier than others, but they work to cut circles up to a certain diameter.
If you only are using the circle cutter for your handmade greeting card, then any one should work. The most important thing about a circular cutting is the blade. You must have a sharp blade to make circular cuts, some circle cutters will give you extra blades, definitely a bonus.
Rotary Paper Trimmer
A rotary paper trimmer can definitely be a worthwhile investment. These paper trimmers have a round blade secured along one edge where you slide it along, keep the cut even and straight. These paper trimmers usually have replacement blades available when the original blade becomes dull. I've seen some paper trimmers for under $20.
Using a rotary paper trimmer will definitely save a lot of time when cutting greeting cards, which means more time for decorating your card! Most paper trimmer can cut 12" to 18" -- the bigger the cut, the better if you are not concerned about price. You'll be surprised about what your paper trimmer can be used for, outside of just making cards.
Let's not forget our handy every-day paper cutter: the scissor. Yes, you can use regular scissor for your card crafts. Unless you are amazingly talented and can cut a straight line, you should lightly trace with a pencil where you are planning on cutting to help guide you.
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