Guest Author - Kathleen Rensel
One of the first tools a scrapbooker needs is a good cutting tool. Any photos that need to be trimmed or paper for layouts will use the cutting tool(s.) It may also be used for cutting adhesive, ribbon, fibers or any other cut able items.
1. Scissors. There are options here. Some tasks are great for a long blade pair of scissors, especially cutting straight lines. But, often a small blade with pointed tips works best. They give a good precise cut and they are especially useful if there is any “fussy” cutting. (“Fussy” cutting is basically cutting around objects. For example, cutting out a stamped image with all the different edges and curves is considered fussy cutting.) Another type of scissors that have been traditionally used with scrapbooking is the pattern cutting scissors. The blades will cut shaped lines rather than straight. They may cut waves, chevron, pinking or any number of patterns.
2. Guillotine cutters. This tool has an arm that raises to insert paper and lowers to cut it. They may be very large, may cut multiple sheets or they may be smaller personal cutters that cut one photo at a time. Typically, this is an older style cutter and many have seen it used in schools for cutting. It usually has some sort of safety on it to help prevent injuries.
3. Rotary cutters. The basic part of this cutter is the circle shaped blade. There are rotary cutters that cut straight lines. There are also ones that cut other types of lines, depending on the blade that is inserted. For example, if the blade itself is made wavy, it can cut a wavy line. There are also hand rotary cutters (mainly used in sewing) that could be used to cut paper. The benefit to a rotary cutter is that It is made circular to help make single cuts. Scissors, for instance, can only cut so far, then they have to be reset (think like cutting Christmas wrapping paper.) A hand tool can also be maneuvered around edges better than the straight cutters.
4. Slide cutters. These are popular with scrapbookers because they can make fast, clean cuts. The blade is typically held inside a slider that runs along a track or wire. The scrapper can hold the slider in their fingers and as it slides up or down in the track, it will cut the paper. These may be small for only photos or small cuts or they may be larger. Often, they will hold and cut a 12x12 sheet of paper. One thing to note on these is that there is usually 6-8” of a ruler stored underneath the cutter. Pull out the ruler and you will be able to measure and cut the full 12x12 sheet.
5. Circle cutters. These tools are used to cut circles almost exclusively. The benefit is to have a true circle. When drawing and cutting circles with other tools, including scissors, it is very difficult to get a true circle.
These are some of the basic cutting tools. For a beginner, the best idea is to keep a favorite pair of scissors and one of the other cutting tools for larger, straight cuts. As other tools are needed, they can be added in time. They all have their usefulness; it just depends on what projects are being completed.