One question every crafter asks, in the beginning, is, which paper cutter do I need for crafting? Using the wrong paper cutter can cost you time and money.
Without a doubt, every crafter needs a paper cutter, which type of paper cutter you buy depends on many factors.
In this article, we will cover the questions that you need to ask yourself before you go out and buy one.
In short, I recommend Fiskars Portable Rotary Paper Trimmer, this paper trimmer is not only light and mobile-friendly, but it also works very well with cardstock and vinyl. The blades are cheap to replace and you can also get blades for scoring
There are more types of paper cutters, but these are the most popular ones.
In some cases, you might not even need a paper cutter and could get away with just using a paper-knife. Paper knives are perfect for small delicate detailed cuts.
With so many paper cutters available on the market it can be a little bit overwhelming to choose the correct one that meets all your needs.
If you plan to craft as a hobby or as a living. You will likely need a paper cutter. Paper cutters will not only save you so much time, but they will help you get the results you are looking for.
With so available you are sure to find one that meets your budget and your needs.
Let’s look at the rotary trimmer and guillotine cutter a little closer.
Rotary Paper Cutter
Rotary paper cutters are lightweight but very good at what they do. They usually have a round cutting blade that is housed in a plastic head to protect the user from hurting themselves.
The blade slides up and down a metal bar that guides the blade to cut in a straight line.
Some rotary trimmers can easily cut through multiple sheets of paper. Once the blade gets blunt, it can easily be replaced with a new blade. The blades are cheap to buy and can be found in most craft shops.
These paper trimmers are great for card making, scrapbooking to name a few crafts.
Guillotine Paper Cutters
Guillotine paper cutters are normally used for high-volume projects. They are also designed to cut through larger amounts of paper compared to rotary paper cutters. They are also much bulkier and heavier which makes them more difficult to store.
Unlike rotary paper cutters, Guillotine paper cutters have one large blade that you bring down using the arm in a single motion to cut.
The blade for this type of paper cutter lasts much longer however the blades are much more expensive to replace.
What Are The Benefits Of Having A Paper Cutter?
- Crisp clean cuts every time.
- Much quicker than using a craft knife.
- Makes working on projects much easier and more fun.
- Safer than cutting paper manually with a craft knife.
- Cut multiple sheets of paper at a time etc.
So, let’s look at some of the questions that you need to ask yourself before you buy a paper cutter.
Do You Really Need A Paper Cutter?
If your projects require you to cut in straight lines, then yes you will probably need a paper cutter however if your craft projects only require curved cuts then you could get away with using a paper-knife or even a scissor.
It might even be the case that you might need more than one type of paper cutter depending on the volume of paper you are working with.
In most cases, you will buy the paper that comes in full size, but you will only need part of it, for this reason alone you should consider buying one.
You will be surprised how often you will use it.
If you are like me who buys paper in packs of 100, cutting all that paper in half will take so much time without a paper cutter.
I have 2 different paper cutters that I use. If I’m cutting up to 5 pages of paper at a time I would use my rotary paper cutter however if I’m cutting larger amounts of paper I would my guillotine paper cutter.
What Materials Are You Going to be cutting?
If you plan to make cards, then it’s likely you will be using heavy cardstock for your projects.
This is how I started. I learned the hard way that not all paper cutters are good for heavy cardstock. Yes, they will cut the cardstock, but the finish isn’t the best, I found some paper cutters either didn’t cut straight or their finish wasn’t clean and crisp.
So if you plan to sell your crafts it’s important that you can rely on your paper cutter to give a clean and crisp cut each and every time.
In the beginning, I must have gone through around 5 paper cutters until I found one that gave me the results I was looking for. It’s a shame you can’t test them out before buying them.
Other materials can be cut with a paper cutter.
Rotary VS Guillotine
Which one do you need? To be honest this is one area I overlooked in the beginning. I thought the difference between the 2 was just their cutting mechanism but it turned out I was wrong.
The main difference between these 2 types of paper cutters is the amount of paper that they can cut at once.
- Rotary paper cutters can cut up to 8 sheets of paper at a time.
- Some guillotine paper cutters can cut over 100 sheets of paper at a time.
So, if you plan to cut only a few sheets of paper at a time then rotary is the way to go but if you plan to cut larger amounts then a guillotine paper cutter will save you so much time.
What Size Of Paper Cutter?
It all depends on the size of paper you plan to cut.
My first paper cutter was only 8.5inchs. In a short period of time, I noticed my projects got bigger which meant I had to upgrade to a 12inch paper cutter.
I recommend buying one that can at least cut a full sheet of paper both vertically & horizontally.
Another thing to consider when it comes to the size is,
Where do you plan to store it? Is it going to remain on your craft table or are you going to store it away after using it?
Rotary paper cutters are usually much lighter and less bulky compared to guillotine paper cutters, which makes them a lot easier to store and move around your craft table.
How Much Do Replacement Blades Cost?
The cost of replacing blades is a major factor for those who are just starting out in the art of crafting.
With so many tools and accessories to buy when you first start, the startup cost can build up very quickly.
Having spare blades for your paper cutter is one cost you can’t avoid.
Once your blade goes blunt you will no longer be able to get the results you require, but a great thing about paper cutters is you can buy replacement blades.
Rotary replacement blades are much cheaper to buy and cost around $10 whereas the blade for a guillotine paper cutter can cost around $30.
Even though rotary blades are cheaper to buy, one thing you need to keep in mind is that they don’t last as long as guillotine paper cutter blades.
Personally, I find rotary blades usually last me around 300 cuts before they stop giving me a clean cut when using heavy cardstock (300gsm). I’m sure they would last longer when cutting lighter papers.
Always keep spare blades just in case, the last thing you want happening is your blade going blunt halfway through a project.
Do You Need A Paper Cutter That Scores Paper Too?
Can paper cutters score paper? Yes, but not all of them. If you are looking for a multi-functional paper cutter then the guillotine style paper cutters are out, all they do is cut and they do that very well.
You can find some paper cutters on the market that you can change the blade from cutting to scoring.
I used one of these, in the beginning, many years ago but I found that the cut they gave wasn’t 100% accurate and I didn’t like the fact of having to change from a cutting blade to a scoring blade but that’s down to the individual.
Personally, I use a separate scoring board which I think is much easier to use and the result is accurate.
What Is Your Budget?
How much you are willing to spend on a paper cutter will determine what your choice is. Never rush and buy the cheapest one otherwise you will end up regretting it later.
You can pick up a decent paper cutter for around $30 and it will last many years. The ones I’m using at the moment, I’ve had for over 2 years and in this time all I had to do was replace the blades.
There are many brands of paper cutters that I have found reliable over the years and their replacement blades don’t cost too much. These include;
- Tonic Studios
- We R Memory Keepers
Each of these brands makes both the rotary and guillotine paper cutters, I’m sure many other brands are good also, but these are the ones I have personally used over the years and never had any problems.
I hope you have found this article “Which Paper Cutter Do I Need For Crafting?” helpful and it has given you a few things to think about when it comes to purchasing your next paper cutter.
Let me know in the comments which paper cutter you use and why.