January 1, 2009

Cut It Out

When I started stamping, I was desperately seeking help in the cutting department - both for tips on how to cut better and for someone who would just cut things out for me. I didn't get a whole lot of help... Since then, I've come up with some tips that have definitely helped me. Some of these are pretty basic, but I hope you'll find a few of them helpful for your future cutting!
Note: Click on any of the images for more product information.

1. Get out your scissors.
Your scissors should be small (to get into those teeny tiny areas) and sharp (to make a nice clean cut). If you don't start with step 1, it's all downhill from here! (Consider Stampin' Up!'s Paper Snips, shown here).

2. Stamp a clean image. If your image is smudgy, you're going to have a tough time. Pick an image that has clean, crisp outlines. It also helps to have a sharp contrast between ink and card stock (think Basic Black stamped on Whisper White is way easier to see than Blush Blossom on Whisper White)

3. Trim it down. Sounds like extra work, but it helps to cut around your image before you cut the real deal. You don't want any excess card stock getting in your way!

4. Pierce your paper first.
This seems like a step you'd want to skip, but don't! Gently use a paper piercer (or a pin or needle) to poke tiny holes at the points of inside corners. This helps give you a sharper cut in those hard to reach places. It'll also create a stopping point that you can feel in those hard to see corners.

5. Cut on both sides. To get into tiny corners, cut to the right and the left. It seems a little scary at first because you can't see as well when you scissors is cutting towards the left, but it helps get those corners when you go at it from both angles.

6. Don't forget to blink. Seriously. Be sure to pause and blink frequently. Dried out eyes won't make this any easier!

7. Smooth it out.
When you're done cutting your image, flip it over. You'll notice that the edges might be a little raised. Your bone folder isn't just for creasing paper. Use it to smooth your edges for a cleaner, crisper look.

8. Practice makes perfect! Remember when you were in Kindergarten and had to cut out pages of lines and squiggles? It's proof that it helps to practice! Don't be discouraged if it doesn't look right the first time. The beauty of stamping is that you can always just stamp it again!

9. Try embossing. If cutting out is difficult at first, try embossing your image first. The raised image will help guide your scissors along.

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