Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Scrapbook Tip #3: Paper Cutters

Welcome back to another Two minute Tuesday -- Scrapbook Tip #3

Today we will talk about the different paper cutters available.

 There are many out there but they basically fall into one of these categories:
  • Guillotine Paper Cutters - These are used for precision cutting.  They contain a large blade that can cut up to about ten sheets of paper, cardboard and textiles -- depending on the thickness of the item being cut.  Guillotine trimmers generally have a guide, a ruler, and a grid pattern to help ensure that your cuts are straight.  These are not really for your general crafter and they are very similar to the arm cutters.
  • Rotary Paper Cutters - Designed for graphic artists and photographers due to the clean accurate cut.  Rotary paper trimmers use a round cutting blade, which slides along a rail that can cut in either direction.  This is my personal favorite as it is the most accurate and I can cut from the middle too if I want to do an opening in the middle of a card or something similar.  Fiskars is a good one.
  • Arm Cutters - A lot of stores carry this kind in the scrap booking section or in the school, and office section of your discount superstores. These cutters are the most common type cutter/trimmer and state they are designed for everyday use.  They generally have a ruler, a guide and a large bladed arm.  You see these a lot in the schools.  I don't care for them.  They are scary, seem kind of dangerous, and if the screw is not properly adjusted do not cut well.  If the screw is not tight enough they flop around when you try to cut making your paper bend instead of cutting.  If the screw is too tight it rubs and is hard to cut, you keep running into the metal edge and dull your blade faster.  Also as they get older they don't cut straight, due to the arm movement.  I would avoid this type if you have small children.
  • Stack Cutters – Perfect for cutting through large stacks of paper.  They generally have a guide and a ruler to help you achieve the desired cut as well as a clamp to fix the paper in place to avoid tearing.  You won't find this kind in your general store.  They are for bigger jobs and are generally a more professional type of cutting instrument.  You can probably find them on line if you are really interested in this type, but for your average crafter, you really don't need this type of paper cutter.
  • Crafter's trimmer -- I'm not really sure what to call this last one, so I just called it the crafter's trimmer because you will often see them in the craft section.  I have one of these in addition to my rotary cutter.  Basically you have a plastic arm of some type that either lifts from the top so you can place paper under it, or is hinged on both sides and you slide the paper from left-to-right / right-to-left.  The blade rests in the middle of the arm and you slide the blade up and down to cut your paper.  These are used for small scale type cutting.  They only cut one sheet of paper at a time and they are limited in how large a piece you can cut, usually less than 12"x12".  However, the great thing about them, and the main thing I use mine for, is for putting the alternate blade in them so that you can create a crease in which to make nice even folds.  If you make a lot of cards this is fabulous.
See you next time on Two minute Tuesday. :)


  1. I've been wanting to buy one of these, and didn't have a clue about them! Thanks so much for this info, it's going to help me a lot!

  2. WOW! Thanks for clarifing that for me...they are so confusing!
    Thanks for the visit and sweet comment.


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