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How to Use a Craft Knife for Scrapbooking

Learn how to use a craft knife in this Howcast scrapbooking tutorial featuring expert Carla Sylvester.


Sometimes when you're cutting pages or photos for scrapbooking, you'll find that your paper trimmer just isn't enough and your scissors just aren't enough. What you need is a craft knife, otherwise known as an X-Acto knife, a crafts knife, whatever. Craft knife, when you're cutting with it, you're always going to want to have a surface on your table so that you don't cut right into your table.

This is a self-healing cutting mat and there are also glass mats that you can get. For most purposes, a self-healing mat will be fine and so we're going to show you now how to do that. I've got my 12 x 12 paper. The best way to get a nice straight line is to line up your ruler on your cutting mat. If you have a cutting mat that has a grid on it like this one does, it's really helpful because then your paper can line with the grid, your ruler can line up with the grid and then you just cut along the edge of the ruler, but once you have your ruler in place, just hold it down and slide the blade all the way down the edge of the ruler and there you go. I obviously didn't start my blade at the top of the paper because I've got this bitty piece here, but you can just go in there with your blade and nick it right off.

One thing you do just want to pay attention to is which end of the blade is the cutting end. It sounds kind of silly to say, but sometimes the cutting edge of the blade will actually be the straight side. The other thing of course is don't cut yourself.

Sometimes you'll want to actually do something a little bit more elaborate than just a straight line. You want to cut curves and that's where really a glass mat is much more helpful. With the blade against a self-healing mat, it tends not to work on curves as well as a glass mat. I have my paper on a glass mat in order to cut these curves and what I want to do is I want to cut this flower out of the middle of the paper so that when I put my photo on top, I can take that flower from the paper and add it as an accent on top of the card stock.

When you're cutting with a craft knife, when you're cutting curves, you want to try to move the paper rather than the knife as you work your way around the curve and so it looks something like this. If you happen to be cutting something that has an inside and an outside like, say, you're cutting out the letter E, you would want to cut out the inside first and then cut the outsides later. Anything that's like small or inside the item, you cut first and then cut the outsides. Now, I've got my flower all cut out from my paper and I've taken it out and I can add it to my scrapbook page.

A craft knife is a great tool to have in your scrapbooking kit. It's really great for cutting thin lines, definitely great for cutting the inside of something out and also for cutting curves.

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