Skip to main content

How to Use a Paper Trimmer for Scrapbooking

Learn how to use a paper trimmer in this Howcast scrapbooking tutorial featuring expert Carla Sylvester.


Most of us who scrapbook or do any kind of paper crafting can't live without our paper trimmers. I have two different types here to show you. They work in a very similar way, but they're a little different, so that's why I wanted you to see a couple of different types. This one is a rotary trimmer and it has a swing out arm. It comes all the way out to 15 inches, so that lets you have plenty of room to cut your 12 x 12 paper. The arm lifts up and then your paper goes right under here.

Now, this is a rotary blade trimmer, so it has a blade that slides up and down this arm and it's not going to cut until you press down on the blade and so here's how that works. I'm going to press down, pull it toward me and lift the arm and there's my cut. Now, it also works in the other direction, so I'll show you again how that works and just press and push and there you go.

The measurements on the trimmer let you see just what size you're cutting, so let's say you need to make your 5 x 7 photo mat, you're just going to look on this ruler that goes across for the 7-inch mark and then use that as your guide and if you wanted the paper to be 8 inches, you would move it farther out and so on. You can also use the ruler on this arm to measure your paper going in the other direction.

So, that is the rotary blade trimmer, but there is another type of trimmer. I refer to it as the stationary blade trimmer. I don't know if it has a special name, but that one looks very similar to our rotary blade except the blade doesn't sit as high up. This is our blade here and so the arm also doesn't lift up. It just flips sideways, otherwise, very similar. My arm swings out, I've got my measurements up here, measurements going this way, and so, again, if I wanted to, say, cut my 8-inch piece of paper, I just put the edge of the paper against that 8-inch mark. Make sure the paper is against the ledge up here and then there's my cut.

The only other thing that you want to pay attention to regardless of which trimmer you have when you're using one for the first time is just know where the blade is going to cut. The trimmer will typically have either a little ridge that the blade goes into or in the case of a rotary blade, it may have a rubber mat for that blade to cut into, so just take a look at where that blade is because you want to know for sure where your paper is actually going to be cut. Again, it's a matter of personal preference. Neither is better than the other, but you'll definitely want to have a paper trimmer before you get very far at all in your paper crafting.

Popular Categories