Now that you’ve made a few sheets of stickers using printable vinyl or adhesive vinyl, it’s time to cut them out. So, what are the best sticker cutting tools? The answer is, it depends. The sticker cutting tool you need for the job depends on the type of vinyl used, the shape of the sticker, the precision needed, and – above all – the safety level required. Today’s blog looks at a variety of sticker cutting tools, and the best time to use them.
But first, let’s talk about safety.
Sticker Cutting Tools Safety
We all know that sharp scissors are not ideal sticker cutting tools for children; when crafting stickers with young children either cut them out yourself or (if they are old enough) provide them with a pair of smaller, blunt edge child’s scissors and supervise while in use. X-ACTO® blades should not be used at all by young children.
Scissors require a steady hand; X-ACTO® blades even more so. Choose a different sticker cutting method if you have issues with tremors, frailty, or are cutting a thick stack of vinyl that could cause the blades to slip. When you have to use a lot of extra pressure to cut through sticker vinyl (such as due to extra lamination or adding a magnetic sheet) you need a stronger sticker cutting tool, like a guillotine. More on that below.
Any time you are getting ready to cut stickers, think – safety first. Nothing ruins a great crafting session faster than nicking yourself. It really doesn’t take much to sustain a serious injury when you are working with sticker cutting tools.
Scissors and X-ACTO® Blades
Cheap, easy to find, and staple items in any home crafter’s tool kit, scissors and X-ACTO® blades are great when you only need to cut out a few stickers. Scissors, which are easy to guide and use, are good for bold, minimal shapes, like squares and circles. An X-ACTO® blade is better at weeding (cutting vinyl between small lines) and cutting out more intricate patterns.
When using scissors, keep your fingers out of the way and cut slowly. When using an X-ACTO® blade, lay the design on top of a non-slip, cut-safe surface. Hold the sheet firmly in one hand and slowly guide the blade with the other. Slips with an X-ACTO® blade can be very serious, so ensure you cut away from yourself and the hand holding down the vinyl sheet. Always retract the blade when not in use and store it away from curious children and pets.
The Paper Guillotine
Guillotine cutters excel at cutting several sheets at one time, and cutting clean, straight edges. This sticker cutting tool is not ideal for complicated designs.
The guillotine, aka paper cutter or paper trimmer, consists of a flat surface that typically has guidelines on it so you can measure and line up your page. The swing handle has a sharp blade that cleanly chops the page when you manually lower it. A safety guard protects your hands; any fingers or sleeves beyond the guard are going to get cut!
Choose the guillotine as your sticker cutting tool if you routinely cut several sheets at once, and your design is a basic square, rectangle, or triangle. You can also incorporate the guillotine to cut squares around more complicated shapes, then go in for a final trim up with scissors or an X-ACTO® blade.
The biggest mistake people make with this sticker cutting tool is attempting to cut too many sheets at once. This creates a ragged edge and can cause the sheets to slip (which is also a safety hazard). Read the manufacturer’s instructions to know the upper limit of sheets/thickness the blade can handle. A dull blade is also a personal and crafting hazard. Take your blade to a professional sharpener when needed.
Cutting machines are sticker cutting tools that are designed for the serious crafter. Not only do they cut the most intricate patterns in printable vinyl, they are also ideal for adhesive (non-printable) vinyl. Cutting machines usually have a digital aspect that includes software on your smartphone or computer.
Two of the most popular sticker cutting tools are the Silhouette and the CriCut™. Both excel at cutting out designs that would be labor intensive with a hand-held blade, or are far too intricate for a paper cutter. These automated machines are also perfect for the crafter that needs to preserve hand strength or has dexterity issues – just set up this sticker cutting tool and it does all the work for you.
Cutting machines are an investment. Expect to spend in the range of $180.00 – $400.00 just for the machine. On top of that you’ll also need accessories, mats, and brand-specific tools as well as your printable or adhesive vinyl. Some cutting machines also offer monthly or annual subscription access if you want the latest fonts, graphics, and design templates.
Although these machines are the most expensive sticker cutting tools on this list, they also bring the most value. They are used for a huge variety of projects, not just stickers, and they can easily handle a lot of different materials including (depending on the make and model you choose) paper, vinyl (printable, heat transfer, adhesive), card stock, poster board, fabric, crafting foil, birch, burlap, crafting foam, bonded denim, magnetic sheets, and leather – to name just a few. The value is certainly there for the price, as cutting machines greatly increase the range of projects you can make.
Sticker cutting tools make crafting easier and provide you with more project options. The first thing to consider is safety and the age of the person using the cutting tool. Blades are the riskiest; always supervise children when using scissors (even blunt edge ones). Secure the sheet and cut away from yourself when using an X-ACTO® blade. Consider your hand strength and stability when working with blades. Scissors and X-ACTO® blades are good sticker cutting tools for small batches of basic designs. A guillotine, aka paper cutter or trimmer, is ideal for cutting larger batches with straight edges. Cutting machines are expensive, but provide you with the most project options and can be used for a wide range of materials, not just sticker vinyl. Whatever method you choose, sticker cutting tools are an integral part of the fun process of sticker making. Choose the one that best suits your hobby.
Ready to get started? Royal Elements sells printable and adhesive vinyl, along with transfer tape, laminating sheets, magnetic sheets, and more in our online store – and our blog has plenty of design tips. We love to see the projects you make using Royal Elements products. Post your results online with the hashtag #royalelementsstickers so we can feature your designs on our social networks (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube).