Paper Cutters

Who needs paper cutters? Most origami models begin with a square piece of paper. So, if you didn't buy square origami paper, then you need to cut your paper into the shape of a square. Click here to learn two easy ways to make a square from a rectangle.

How to Cut Paper

The simplest way to cut paper is with a pair of scissors. Alternatively, you can use a sharp knife and slice along the inside of a folded edge. This may leave an undesirable jagged edge.

You can also bring your paper to a photocopy store. These stores have commercial-grade machines that can easily slice a realm of paper for less than $5. This choice is perfect if you need to cut paper for a large group such as a classroom.

About Paper Cutters

If you are a serious paper folder, you might consider investing in a paper cutter. There are two kinds of paper cutters: the guillotine type and the razor type.






  • The guillotine type has a lever which you can press downwards and it will “chop” the paper. These cutters are good, but when they are well used, the lever may become loose. At this point, it is necessary to manually push the lever close to the cutting edge before you chop. See guillotine paper cutters here.

  • The razor type has a sharp blade which will “slice” paper as you move the blade up and down. After much use, the blade may become dull and you may wish to buy a replacement blade. See razor paper cutters here.

  • A third option is a self-healing cutting mat often used in quilting. These mats are made of a composite material so that they are not damaged by cutting knives. Cutting mats often have 1” and ¼” grid lines, but you still need a ruler and a hobby knife (such as a rotary cutter or an exacto knife) to make the cut. See self-healing cutting mats here.


Safety

Guillotine paper cutters can be dangerous especially if you have young children in the house. The chop-chopping action of the lever can do much damage to a hand or a finger if it is in the way. The razor-type paper cutters appear to be more safe however, they too can penetrate tender skin. Of course, exacto knives are very dangerous and should always be stored away from children's reach.


Limitations

Most good paper cutters are relatively expensive: $30 to $100+, but Friskar sells a small, personal paper cutter as cheap as $10. A word of warning: you get what you pay for. The small, personal paper cutters have their limitations:
    - some can only cut 2 to 3 sheets at a time,
    - some can only cut 4" or 5" squares.
Larger sizes are awkward because the cutter itself is only 6" in width. Still, a small paper cutter may be exactly what you need because it is portable and does a good job within its limits.

Generally, the more you pay, the better is the paper cutter.