Sep 29, 2008

Back-to-Basics: Paper Trimmers

Perhaps the most essential tool for beginning and seasoned scrapbookers alike is a quality paper trimmer. Like other scrapbooking tools, there is a wide variety and quality of paper trimmers available.

Paper trimmers have come a long way. I remember being excited the first time I saw a portable personal paper trimmer. I still remember the large metal paper trimmer at the church library or elementary school. I'm pretty sure that thing could cut your leg off if you really needed it to. It's massive and I can still hear the THWUNK sound of metal grinding on metal as it chopped huge stacks of paper all at the same time.

If you are like me, you've tried a variety of trimmers and found that not every trimmer is as easy-to-use, portable, and affordable as others. Some will cut several sheets of paper at a time and others are lucky to cut one. Some come with multiple blades to cut fancy designs, score your paper, or even give the paper a hand-torn look.

Let's look at some of the options available:

Small Trimmers - 5" to 8.5"

A small trimmer is perfect for taking with you to scrapbooking crops. It is perfect for cutting photographs and paper scraps, but isn't very helpful if you are trying to cut paper larger than the trimmer. Most small trimmers are in the $10.00 price range.

Even small trimmers have some amazing features. For example, let's look at the Cutterpede 5" personal trimmer. It has a matting guide, an elbow that sets the position for 5" paper size, a ruler that swings out for larger projects, a magnetic lock to hold the cutting bar in place, and gripper feet on the underside to ensure your work doesn't slide. It also easily folds up for portability.

Standard Size Trimmers - 12"

This is the most popular size of trimmer among scrapbookers because it can cut photos and paper scraps as well as 12x12 paper. I've found that the blades tend to wear out quickly so make sure you get one that has blades that can be easily replaced.

Also, look for a trimmer that has measured guides on the base. It helps with paper placement and to make sure your paper is straight. Fiskars has a wide variety of 12" paper trimmers. Fiskars is a name you can trust when it comes to the cutting business. Most 12" portable trimmers are around the $20.00 price range.

If you scrapbook at home and don't necessarily need a portable trimmer, there's a huge variety of stationery trimmers. They are generally a more heavy-duty machine and will cut more than one sheet of paper at a time, with a cleaner cut. These trimmers start around $59.00 and go up from there. You definitely get what you pay for.

As you make a decision about a paper trimmer, keep in mind what you'll be cutting, the weight of your paper will determine the type of trimmer you'll need. Also keep in mind portability and price. If you've used a paper trimmer you absolutely love and couldn't do without, be sure to let me know and I'll pass the word along.

Return to the Neighborhood.


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