What is the Best Paper Cutter for Scrapbooking?
Different Types of Paper Cutters for Super Straight Lines
As hard as I try, most of the time, scissors just don't do a great job when it comes to super straight lines. I blame being a lefty!
or cutting straight lines, we can use what's called either a paper cutter or a paper trimmer. There are four main types of paper cutters: rotary, stack, guillotine, and electric.
Each of these straight line cutters is suited to different tasks and some are more affordable than others.
Rotary Paper Trimmer or Cutter
A rotary paper cutter sits flat on your desk and features a rolling blade that will slide and cut through a few sheets of paper at a time. There is often a grid design on the base of the rotary cutter that helps you perfectly line up each sheet for precision cutting.
Rotary paper cutters are usually affordable but are not suitable if you need to cut through more than a few sheets of paper at a time. I personally don't find this a problem at all when using it for scrapbooking or card making as I rarely cut up paper in bulk. Besides, it's the perfect type of paper trimmer you'll need for cutting up various pieces of scrapping paper with ease.
One of the reasons I prefer a rotary paper trimmer is mostly because it offers precise cuts in trimming paper in straight lines even for softer types of paper. It works really well in cutting photographs, felt paper, and even thin Japanese paper. Unfortunately, you can only cut just a couple of sheets of paper at a time.
A guillotine paper cutter works like a big cutting blade that is pulled down to slice through the paper. As a result, it can handle larger volumes of paper than a rotary paper trimmer. They are more common in schools and offices or for people who cut through larger quantities of paper at a time.
Guillotine cutter sounds dangerous but it's really not. The blade features a kind of spring that keeps it from falling down onto fingers until it is actually pulled down. Even if a guillotine cutter is easy to use, you need to choose the best guillotine trimmer with safety features like spring protectors and paper handles to keep the paper in place and to ensure your safety.
Some scrapbookers prefer a guillotine paper cutter not because it can cut in bulk, but because it can handle cutting stiff construction paper, cardboard boxes, or poster board with ease. Plus, they are easier to maintain and known to be more heavy-duty.
While the rotary and guillotine paper cutters can usually only handle between one and thirty pieces of paper at a time, a stack cutter can deal with a whole ream of paper! A stack cutter works similar to a guillotine but it has a sharper blade and a clamp of sorts to hold the paper down so the paper can't shift halfway through the cutting process.
Stack cutters are larger and come with a heavy-duty steel blade, they also have extra safety features because they are intended for heavy paper cutting. These safety guard features include rubber feet, paper clamps. Although it's not common for scrappers to use a stack cutter, it is often used to cut out large stacks of paper at a time for card making or for stacking smaller sheets of paper.
Electric paper cutters are by far the most expensive option. They feature a little automatic motor that helps to slice your paper. Some models are even programmable which allows the scrapbooker or card maker to save different cuts for future use.
Best Overall Paper Cutter for Straight Pages
Out of the four straight-line cutters discussed above, the rotary trimmers are the most popular. This is because you can purchase a decent one without breaking the bank and they are super simple to use, with replacement blades available for major brands. They also come with safety features at little to no extra expense. Plus, they are able to cut through almost all types of paper used for scrapping.
What About Cutting a Shape That's a Little Trickier?
But what about when you want to cut something that's not straight? Like a wavy curve or even an intricate flower or butterfly? I mean, scissors are great but they don't do such a neat job when it comes to little fiddly pieces.
Luckily, there are plenty of options when it comes to cutting out various other shapes. I'll start with what I consider to be essential for scrapbooking and card making, the hobby knife.
Hobby knives are just so versatile and come in handy for many craft projects, not just scrapbooking. They can be bought singularly or in a great little kit with interchangeable handles and different shaped blades.
One thing they all have in common is that they're extremely sharp ... so keep them away from kids. When you buy a hobby knife, you will also need to pick up a cutting mat otherwise you will end up with deep cuts all through your work table every time you cut something. The smooth surface of the cutting mat also ensures your hobby knife stays on track when you're using it.
Hobby knives are ideal for precision cuts and take up hardly any room at all in your scrapbooking supplies kit. On the downside, it has the least safety guard features. So you better watch out, it's not ideal for those with unsteady hands. You may also need a clamp to hold a paper in place when you're cutting.
A handheld rotary cutter uses a circular blade that cuts as it's rolled along with the paper, with the blade attached to a handle that fits comfortably in your hand.
This little tool is also extremely versatile and in addition to cutting paper, will often slice through other types of material as well. It's not so great for intricate pieces like the hobby knife, but it's still extremely useful and once you get the hang of doing curves using a handheld rotary cutter. Believe me, when you get used to it, you will never look back.
The handheld rotary paper cutter is a great all-around craft cutting tool that can be used in a variety of other craft projects as well.
Unlike normal scissors, edged scissors have a shaped or decorative edge on the cutting blade that you can use to level-up and embellish your scrapbooking or card making. Although these aren't a necessity, they are a really nice tool to have that you will definitely find yourself reaching for to give your scrapbooking pages that little extra something.
It's one of the tools that I love to keep around when I am scrapping with my children.
You will most likely already know about shape cutters and probably have a few of your own in your scrapbooking supplies. I know I certainly do. They're also a great way to occupy the kids when I'm trying to do some crafting that's a little above their skill level!
The quality of shape cutters varies immensely and although they are often sold as stand-alone shapes such as love hearts, butterflies, stars, etc. crafters can also buy a multi-purpose cutter that comes with a variety of interchangeable cutting shapes.
You can usually adjust the height of the blade to cut through thicker cards as well, something you can't do with a paper punch from the two-dollar shop.
So, what is the best paper cutter for scrapbooking?
As a paper crafter, the best paper cutter for you will depend on what you are doing, your storage space, the volume of cutting, and your budget.
I personally think it's a great idea to purchase a paper cutter that can be versatile enough to use for other craft projects and with that in mind, I suggest starting with a benchtop rotary paper cutter, a hobby knife, and cutting board, and a good quality pair of scissors. These three items are a great start to your must-have scrapbooking paper cutting supplies.