Wednesday 16 May 2018

Trimmers & Scissors 101: A Beginner's Guide to Cutting

Hi friends!!
Happy Wednesday Morning :)

Preeti Datta (aka Dutt Preety) here.
Hope you are having a pleasant week :)

We are all accustomed to using scissors, blades and cutting tools ever since our school days. These tools are very important in many situations, all over the house and office, from the kitchen to the garden to of course, our crafting space. Being able to make clean and straight cuts easily, into paper/chipboard/felt or whatever material you are using is essential to all crafters. So it is important to have at least one good paper trimmer and a few pairs of scissors in one's stash. In today's post, we will discuss the Basics of Cutting, some popular Trimmers & Scissors and how to decide which ones to buy. This will be a Beginner's Guide, so without making it too complicated, we will discuss some of the important aspects. All these products can be purchased/pre-ordered from the Crafters Corner Store.


Trimmers are machines which help us cut materials like card stock with ease. Good trimmers make clean & straight cuts. There are different types of trimmers available in the market and they use different mechanisms to cut paper. 

There are many options of Trimmers available at the Crafters Corner Store, which can be viewed by clicking HERE. I've enlisted a few of the popular ones below, for your convenience. 

Guillotines- These are also called arm or lever cutters. They have a stationary blade and a movable arm which has the second blade. When the blade arm is pulled down, it cuts the material. These usually have self-sharpening blades so no replacement of blades is necessary. These are good multi-purpose cutters with accuracy, affordable price and the ability to cut thicker card stocks. 

Examples of Some Popular Guillotine Trimmers:
(simply click on the images to explore/shop)

This has a full 12 by 12 inch grid surface & is one of the most popular trimmers on the Indian market. There is a wonderfully detailed blog post & review of this guillotine, on the Crafters Corner Blog by Dr. Sonia, please click HERE to read more.  

This guillotine has an extendable arm to help cut bigger pieces of paper and still remain easy to store.

This guillotine has a sturdy metal base and a machine ground, lever-style blade which is sharp & accurate. This is on most of the top 10 lists of paper trimmers found online.  

Rotary Paper Trimmers- These use a round blade housed in a cutting head. The cutting head sits on a rail and slides up and down, cutting the material. These are well known for their precision and sturdiness, being able to cut multiple sheets of paper, accurately. The blades do not require replacement. 

Examples of Some Popular Rotary Paper Trimmers:
(simply click on the images to explore/shop)

This trimmer is designed for speed, precision, and accuracy.  Great features like the gear system, the self- sharpening blades, and the light below the cutting edge put the Cutter Pillar in a class of its own. Designed to cut from 12 inches down to the smallest of slivers. The built-in grid lines and markings come in metric and inches for measurements. It has 1/16 inch measurements.

The self-sharpening blade never needs replacing. It cuts through chipboard, cork, burlap paper, vinyl, foam and layers of card stock. The rotary blade is very stable gliding along two rails and hence, offers very precise cuts. 

The cutting blades are encased in a plastic housing to eliminate the chance of injury. The ground self-sharpening blade cuts in either direction and an automatic paper clamp holds work in place. With a cutting capacity of up to 7 sheets of paper, the trimmer is perfect for paper, card stock, and photo paper.

Simple Blade Trimmers- These have a V style or simple blade which moves up and down along a track. They are light weight, easy to carry around (portable), good for light weight papers & economical. The blades do need replacement based on usage. Many trim and score boards which have a score board and a trimmer built into the same machine, have this type of simple blade.

Examples of Some Popular Simple Blade Trimmers:
(simply click on the images to explore/shop)

This trimmer features English and Metric measurements, 1/4in grid lines, two extendable rulers measure paper up to 12 inches, accurate measuring grid along the top, middle and end of trimmer, permanent markings for popular paper sizes and interchangeable blade carrier. Trimmer comes with two blades and one scoring blade.

This has an extendable arm which allows one to cut larger sized papers and still store easily. It is very light weight and portable. 

How to Decide Which Trimmer to Buy?

There is no one correct answer to this. Why? Because what will suit you best will depend upon various factors. These are the factors one must carefully consider before making a purchase. Also, if you get serious about crafting and do a lot of cutting, you will probably end up buying 2, 3, or more trimmers as time progresses and the need arises. Please remember and I especially say this to beginners in the world of crafting, don't worry so much about it. It is okay to be confused. 99.99% of us are. A trimmer or a pair of scissors or any machine, at the end of the day, is just that. It will serve you the best it can. It is just a machine, made to make our life easier. 

Now here are some of the important questions you need to ask yourself before making a purchase for a trimmer.

Purpose: What will you be using it for? 

- Material: What kind of materials will you be cutting most, it is pattern papers?  heavy cardstock ? or chipboard ?
- Size: What sizes do you normally work with? Are you a card maker? Are you into albums & scrap booking? or are you a Mixed Media Artist? or are you a mom who has to help with her child's school homework and projects besides being a hobby crafter?
- Frequency: How often will you be cutting? Once a week? Every day? 
- Travel or Home Use (Portability): Will you be using it only in your crafting space or do you plan to carry the trimmer while travelling to crafting meets, events, etc Or do you plan to use it all around your crafting space and shift it often based on where you craft ? 

Space: How much space will you be able to dedicate to your trimmer(s)

There are foldable and extendable versions of trimmers available which can be stored in smaller spaces. The bigger sized trimmers like guillotines do require a dedicated space and one needs to keep them on a hard, sturdy table so they remain stable while cutting. It is not the kind of machine one should keep on a soft bed and operate.


Do you have a set budget in mind or is it more open ended? Sometimes having a set budget can be helpful because if you know you are allowed to spend only Rs X, you can only consider options within that limit. It helps one reduce the options and lessens the confusion.

Special Considerations

Guillotines have a long, naked blade on their movable arm, so, it is important to keep them away from small children and always use them carefully. These are beautiful machines and when used correctly (it isn't rocket sciene!) can improve our crafting experience manifold. Also, some machines like the simple blade trimmers require blade replacement which can add to the overall cost, so please consider these factors before making a purchase. 


I'm a hobby crafter who makes cards, 12 by 12 layouts, canvases, tags etc so basically my needs are mixed. I use 12 by 12 as well as A4 sized cardstock. I currently own 4 trimmers and I will probably buy 1-2 more in the next few months. I have 1 Tonic Studios Guillotine Maxi Trimmer 12" . This is the one I use the most in my crafting. I use this to prepare card bases and chop my 12 by 12 sized card stocks and pattern papers. I do not use it for cutting any chipboard because I do not want to harm the machine. It has a dedicated space on my sturdy craft table, next to my Sizzix die cutting machine. Besides this, I have a smaller Tonic Studios Guillotine Paper Trimmer 8.5 , I take this to the little tables where I actually sit and craft, it is more portable. Then I have a Fiskars Sure Cut Deluxe Paper Trimmer 12" , this is a light weight and portable trimmer I carry with me when I craft in a different room and it helps me cut in the middle of the paper, in case, I want to make windows. Lastly, I have a small portable simple blade trimmer which I received as a gift, it is very light weight so again I keep it near my mini craft tables to be used for all light weight cutting. My suggestion for a beginner with a mid-range budget would be to go for an all purpose guillotine trimmer like the Tonic Studios Guillotine Maxi Trimmer 12",  so that it caters to most of your crafting needs & can cut papers up to 12 inches comfortably. After some time, if you feel the need, you can always go in for a smaller version for convenience and portability and a more expensive one like a rotary cutter for more accuracy and sturdiness. 


Crafters usually require multiple pairs of scissors for different purposes. And one doesn't start out with a big stash of these, these are slowly bought over time. So as a beginner, if you do not currently possess any branded scissors, it is okay. Please don't feel intimidated or overwhelmed. One can do a lot with locally bought options. Pace yourself and buy the branded ones, one by one as and when the requirement comes up. Having these really makes life easier so using a couple of these along with the regular types of scissors we have lying around the house, usually serves most purposes. 

There are many options of Scissors available at the Crafters Corner Store, which can be viewed by clicking HERE. I've enlisted a few of the popular ones below, for your convenience. 

Some Examples of Popular Crafting Scissors 
(simply click on the image(s) to explore/shop)

Tonic Studios Tim Holtz Scissors:

To check out the current offer on a set of 5" & 7" Tonic Scissors, please click HERE

All the 3 Tonic Scissors are endorsed by Tim Holtz because of their overall quality, their duo-tipped feature (one serrated blade and one fine point sharp tip blade) for excellent cutting on all types of materials: great for detail cutting. The extra large soft cushion over-molding plastic handles offer a comfortable grip for hours of use and less fatigue. Non-stick coating means no build up of adhesive. Scissors come with a sheath for blade protection and safe handling. I  own the 5" mini snips and the 7" snips & love using them because they are quite strong, non stick, comfortable on the hands and cut through almost anything including wires, chipboard, cardstock, felt, fabric etc

These pointed tipped scissors feature a comfort grip handle for left handed and right handed use and are great for cutting neat and perfect details in foam, paper, vellum, photos and more. This 5 inch pair of scissors has a snap-on plastic tip protector. I own this pair of scissors and find it great for fussy cutting images because of the pointed tips. 

These are highly recommended by many crafters for fussy cutting images

Create precision cuts with these ergonomically designed scissors. Made with double-grind blades, they produce consistently smooth and even cuts. It comes with a protective sheath & is recommended for fussy cutting images

These strong scissors cut through thick and heavy materials. Designed to cut fabric, paper, chipboard, cardboard and much more! The Amplify technology senses blade separation when cutting thick materials and forces the blades back together for crisp, clean cuts. It comes with one protective sheath. 

Additionally, there is a detailed review of 4 crafting scissors on the Crafters Corner Blog by Dr. Sonia, please click HERE to read more. 

In the end, I would recommend a beginner (who is just starting to build her/his stash) to buy the Tonic Studios 7" Snips for a multi-purpose use, 5" mini Snips for smaller projects and the Ek Success Cutter Bee Scissors or the WRMK Precision Scissors for fussy cutting. And then slowly add to their stash by exploring specialized scissors meant for specific purposes like for decoupage or for creating fringes or for fancy edges

That's all for today. I hope some of the information shared will be helpful.

Also, if you would like to check out my first four blog posts (in the series of Beginner's Guides), please click on the below topics.

As always, we love to see your gorgeous creations using supplies from the Crafters Corner store, so please do share them with us in our Facebook Group- Crafters Corner Showcase using the apt hashtags #craftwithcrafterscorner #dressmycraft #crafterscornerindia, on Twitter and/or on Instagram. And please remember to like/follow Crafter's Corner Facebook Page, Instagram & Youtube Accounts for updates on sales, giveaways, free tutorials and new product information.

Hope you have a great day!
Thanks a lot for your precious time :)
Stay Blessed!
Preeti Datta


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