Thursday, October 1, 2009

Paper Trimmers for Paper Crafts and Card Making

I found this neat post on Craft Critique:

OCTOBER 1, 2009
Choosing a Paper Trimmer
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Reported by Stephanie Wheeler

Through my almost 13 years of scrapbooking, I've streamlined enough to know what tools work the best for me. Like most scrapbookers and crafters, I started out with a $6 slide trimmer (brand name withheld to protect the guilty), and while it worked for a bit, I started getting annoyed with the consistent paper-tearing and having to replace blades twice a year.

After getting fed up with being frustrated, I thought to myself - a paper trimmer is probably THE MOST important tool in my arsenal. I will use it every time I I should probably make an investment in something that will perform - and last.

In my opinion, a crafter should have at least three trimmers: a guillotine/bypass trimmer, a travel trimmer and a mini trimmer.

Guillotine/Bypass - Named for it's resemblance to French guillotine, this is the most important - and most frequently used - trimmer I own. It is exactly 12" wide, making it perfect for trimming off paper tabs at the bottom of 12" x 12" sheets, as well as being able to cut just about any size sheet I need.

Made by X-Acto, this trimmer comes with a 10-year warranty, and because it isn't distributed by a "scrapbooking company," can be found at just about any office supply store. A basic model like this will cost around $50. I have had this model for around five years and it still works as well as the day it came out of the box.

One thing to think about when you're purchasing a guillotine trimmer is where the trimmer will be stored. A trimmer like this could be dangerous if left to tempt small children with wandering eyes - and fingers.

X-Acto 12" Guillotine Trimmer, MSRP $50

Cuts 12" x 12" sheets
Easy to use
10-year warranty
Easy to find
"Locking" handle
Could be dangerous - and tempting - for small children
With basic model, difficult to cut more than one sheet with consistent results
Takes up a lot of space
Not ideal for traveling

Although I don't have any personal experience with them, I have heard good things about two other guillotine/bypass trimmers - Tonic Studios 12" Trimmer and the Fiskars 12" Bypass Trimmer. Both retail at $40-50.

Travel Trimmer - When I first started scrapbooking, you couldn't pay me to pack up my stuff and get crafty out of my comfort zone. Several years and many scrappy friends later, I simply can't wait to spend a whole day with the girls, cropping until my fingers are sore. Because I do go to at least 10 crops a year, it's really important that I have a travel trimmer that will cut a full 12" sheet, while being light and portable.

My favorite portable trimmer is the Fiskars Portable Rotary Trimmer. It's the perfect size to slip into your bag for an afternoon of hassle-free trimming.
Aside from it's nice, clean cut, one of my favorite things about this trimmer is its interchangeable blades, which come in several styles, including straight, deckle, pinking, scoring, perforating, wave, and scallop. I also love this trimmer because of the built-in swinging arm that measures up to 12". It makes trimming full-sized sheets easy and convenient.

Fiskars 12" Portable Rotary Trimmer, MSRP $35

Swinging arm measures up to 12" x 12"
Thin, lightweight
Can be used with interchangeable decorative blades
Produces clean cuts, even after years of use
Includes a locking mechanism for safety when traveling
Boasts ability to cut up to 10 sheets of paper at a time
Harder to measure accuracy of cut
Not ideal for trimming small pieces of paper

Mini Trimmer - In my opinion, having a mini trimmer is essential. Small trimmers are perfect for precision with cropping photos, cutting tags and trimming small pieces of paper for projects like ATCs and greeting cards. I do a lot of tedious tag trimming, and without my favorite mini trimmer, I'd be lost.

My absolute favorite small trimmer is the Fiskars 9" Bypass Trimmer. This trimmer was a complete impulse buy, but it's one of the best crafting purchases I've made. The guillotine/bypass style is my favorite for getting a really clean cut on my projects, and is the perfect size for keeping around on my desk. It's portable, so it can come with me to crops and on trips, and to be honest, this trimmer cuts like a champ. I have personally cut over 10,000 tags with one of these and it shows no signs of stopping.

Fiskars 9" Bypass Trimmer, MSRP $20

Perfect for cutting small pieces of paper and photos
Lightweight and portable
Produces clean cuts, even after lots of use
Boasts ability to cut up to 10 sheets of paper at a time
Replacement blades are hard (if possible) to find
No swinging arm - only measures up to 5.5" horizontally
Does not lock
Tricky to use if you've never had experience with guillotine/bypass trimmers

So there you have it! A quick run-through of MY favorite kinds of trimmers. What do you think? What trimmer do you love the most? I'd love to hear your trimmer pros and cons!

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