Saturday, March 7, 2015

My (favorite) Paper Cutting Tools

One of the many things I like about paper cutting  is that you don't need too many tools or materials to start this craft. Basically, you'll only need 3 things: a pattern to cut, a craft knife with sharp blade(s) #11 and a cutting mat. I'll explain each, in depth below.

1. Pattern to cut.
'Abundance' Hand-lettered on tracing paper.
- Hand-sketched or digitized / your own design or a free printable pattern.
- Preferably drawn/printed on acid free paper for preservation purposes. Non acid free paper gets brittle and yellow over time, and you wouldn't want that to happen to your precious papercut eventually. You'll always want to preserve the beauty of an art piece you had exerted so much effort on to produce, and this you could do by using the right kind of paper. I normally use a 90 gsm acid free paper for my projects which I get from Crown Supply Corporation ( The thickness is just right for cutting.


I normally draw and cut from the back side of the paper to keep the front side clean. The pattern to be cut must be a mirror view of the design. I usually draw the initial sketch on a tracing paper using a pencil (especially if it is typographic in nature), and once I'm happy with the sketch, I transfer the design to acid free paper. To do this, place the tracing paper (sketch is facing downward, touching the acid free paper) on top of the acid free paper and trace or rub the design using a pencil.

Pattern on tracing paper was transfered to acid free paper.

Acid free paper with a mirror view of the pattern to be cut.

2. Craft knife + blade #11 + spare blades (use X-ACTO brand, it is the best! ;-) )
X-ACTO knife + X-ACTO blades #11

You can get this from National Bookstores nationwide if you are from the Philippines or from your local craft stores if you live abroad. Craft knife usually comes with spare blades (1-2 pcs.), but I suggest that you still buy extra blades. (X-ACTO brand has this and usually comes in sets of 5). Always, always use sharp blades in paper cutting (and take extra care!) to prevent boo boos. If the blade is not sharp enough, you'll have to exert extra effort in cutting accurately. Smooth cutting is an indicator of a sharp blade, which is appropriate for this craft.

This photo shows a blade with broken tip. If this happens, change the blade into a new one as the broken blade won't be as sharp.

3. Cutting mat

- Use a cutting mat to protect your working table.
- It comes in different sizes but it is always best to use big ones. 
- It is also available in National Bookstores nationwide if you are from the Philippines or from your local craft stores if you live abroad. 


General rule is, your cutting mat must be bigger than the pattern you are cutting for ease of use. In the process of paper cutting, you'll often rotate the paper with pattern in order to get a right angle for you to cut certain parts of the design effectively and easily. Also, you would want to covermuch of your work table to protect it from cuts.

An option (my favorite!) is to get a cutting mat that is the same size as the pattern you are cutting (ex. get an A4 size cutting mat to use for an A4 pattern), and secure the edges of the paper to the cutting mat with tape to keep it in place so that whenever you need to rotate it to get a good angle for easy cutting, the paper and cutting mat will rotate as one, protecting your working table from blade cuts/scratches. Smart huh? ;-)

That's it! Few and simple tools that can create amazing works of art.

Happy cutting! :)