The 4 Features Your Scrapbook

Paper Cutter Needs To Have!

As you have probably noticed, there are several scrapbook paper cutters out on the market and they vary in price.  Some paper cutters come with a warrantee and others are already being discontinued.

So how does a person know what to look for when purchasing a paper cutter?  Based on my personal experience, which includes my share of frustrations, here are four features that your scrapbooking paper cutter should have.

1. A Scrapbook Paper Cutter With Expandable Lock-in Ruler

No need to purchase a big trimmer that will just end up hogging your workspace. 

Because standard scrapbooking paper is 12″x12″, it can be difficult to cut with just an ordinary trimmer.  Make sure you purchase a scrapbook paper cutter machine that has an expandable 12″ or 15″ inch ruler.  This ruler will help you line up your paper accurately which will allow for a straight cut.  Be certain that the ruler is a lock-in one.  Otherwise, if you accidentally bump it, it may cause you to cut the paper slightly off.

Scrapbook Paper Cutter
A Good Paper Cutter Makes Scrapbooking So Much Easier!

Some scrappers prefer to purchase a large trimmer that can accommodate 12″ or more.  However, if you enjoy scrapbooking with friends or want to take your paper cutter on vacation with you to scrapbook, then a large trimmer is too bulky.  The expandable lock-in ruler was designed so that you could use a compact trimmer but have a long edge if needed.

2. Horizontal and Vertical Measuring Grid  

Look for a paper cutter with easy to read measuring grids.

Remember the days of the olden wooden paper cutters?  They had a ruler along the top of the cutter and a grid on the board.  If you needed to cut the length and width, you had to turn the paper and rethink how much you needed to cut off.  Thankfully, most scrapbooking paper cutters now come with a measuring grid that runs horizontally (left to right and right to left) and vertically (up to down and down to up).  It makes measuring a whole lot easier!

3. A Scrapbook Cutter With Rotary Blade Design Precision Cut  

Opt for a rotary blade for more scrapbook paper cutting options.

Basic paper cutters cut with a blade, allowing only for straight edges.  Purchase a paper cutter machine that uses rotary blades.  Rotary blades will give you precise cuts and are simple to use!  Blades typically come in a protective case and can easily be popped into place or removed from the cutting unit.

Two of my favorite blades to use for scrapbook projects are the “wavy” and “scoring” blades.  Instead of using decorative scissors to cut a border, I use the wavy blade.  With scissors, I find it difficult to cut straight.  My cutting can easily be a 1/4 inch different when you compare the start of a cut to the end of the cut.  Yet, with the wavy blade, I pop it into the cutting unit, slide the unit into place, and then with one swift swipe, I have a professional looking border.

When I purchased the scoring blade I wasn’t sure I would use it that often.  However, friends who have been scrapbooking for years, told me that I would find all sorts of uses for the scoring blade.  My friends were right!  When I scrapbook greeting cards, I no longer fold card stock by hand (which looks horrible by the way).  With the scoring blade, my cards now have a perfect fold.  I also use this blade when making dinner place cards or want to add a little dimension to a scrapbook page.

4. Self-healing Cutting Mat 

Prevent grooves from forming and ruining your paper.

Probably the biggest frustration I have experienced with paper cutter machines is dealing with the wear and tear caused by the blade.  Some cutters begin to form a groove from all the cutting.  When this happens, paper can tear or have some rough edges.  I have wasted a fair amount of paper due to this problem.

I recommend that you look for a paper cutter  that actually has a self-healing cutting mat.  With this type of mat, you won’t have to worry about grooves forming.  Some cutters have a mat that can be flipped anytime you’re no longer getting precise cuts.

In addition to the self-healing cutting mat, you want to make sure that the paper cutter can handle paper of different textures and weights.  Otherwise, if paper is too heavy, such as card stock, or has a smooth texture, such as vellum, the paper can easily rip.

Owning a scrapbook paper cutter is very beneficial if you’re going to do a fair amount of scrapbooking.  The cutter will save you lots of time and give your scrapbook pages, cards, etc. a more professional look.  If you choose to purchase a cutter that utilizes rotary blades, start out with just a couple of blades.  You can always purchase additional blades later on.  Some cutters actually come with at least two blades.