Crafting Basics – Cutting Tools

From decorating handmade greeting cards to cutting just the right amount of fabric for your next masterpiece, you’re going to need a pair of scissors or craft knife of some sort to achieve such projects. In crafting, you will encounter a range of sharp edges – some of which make better choices than others. Below are some of the basic cutting tools you may want to become familiar with as you expand the number of crafts you’d like to make.


Every crafter will need a pair of scissors at some point in time. Having more than one pair on hand is recommended – aim for a few pairs of large and small sharp scissors. Larger pairs address cutting heavier materials. Smaller scissors will allow you to cut around curves and remove small, intricate shapes. A sturdy pair of fabric cutting scissors will make life easier for those that sew. Only use them for fabric to avoid dulling their edge.

Decorative Scissors

When you’re looking to create unique shapes with the edges of your crafts, there are scissors that come with decorative edges. For example, add personality to save-the-date cards with a pair of scissors that zig-zags the edges.

Paper Cutter

A paper cutter creates a perfectly straight line that really comes in handy when working with large paper projects or preparing materials for mounting your works of art. You may choose between two different types of cutters. The first has a rotary blade that slides along the cutting edge. A guillotine blade slices paper with the help of a lever. Some of the more higher-end rotary cutters offer a light under the cutting edge that makes it easier to see where the blade will cut.

Circle Cutter

Adjust this cutter to cut circles of any diameter. The tool can be used to quickly crop photos with ease, add round embellishments to your scrapbooks, cut mats, and fashion circular greeting cards.

Craft Knife

With a variety of sizes to consider, craft knives help with both intricate cutting and larger projects. The basic style of a craft knife is a 5″ aluminum tube handle with a pointed blade. Handles range from small to large. A craft knife set (shown) offers a range of blades that address different tasks, such as etching, scribing, retouching stencils, layouts and pasteups. When stored, you should keep the cap on the knife, push it into a cork, or store in a carrying case. A popular brand is the X-Acto Knife, which provides convenience through their replaceable blades.

Hole Punch and Craft Punches

Often seen on a teacher’s desk, the hole punch creates one small hole wherever you need one. From stringing ribbon through homemade Christmas tags to enhancing your scrapbooks, you’d be surprised just what the often-forgotten metal office tool can do. Nowadays, you can find hole punches that come in the shape of stars, hearts, flowers and other fun shapes. Try using a hole punch to add texture to your pages.

Corner Rounder

To create curved shapes in your paper corners, this tool belongs in the same family as the craft punch.

Tin Snips

When you need to cut heavier materials, such as sheet metal, consider getting a pair of tin snips – heavy-duty scissors.

Wire Cutter

Do not use your scissors to cut wire – this will only dull the blades. A pair of needle-nose pliers with a wire cutter will come in handy.

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