DIY · Ephemera

The Shears Mystery Unveiled

You will not have followed this blog for long before you run into the Shears Mystery: how to fussy cut all those details on some of the crafts I present.

Wings of Whimsy: The Shears Mystery #vintage #ephemera #freebie #printable #shears #scissors

The truth is, my scissors are not super special, and I don’t use a large selection of different ones. Here are the ones I currently use for all things paper:

Wings of Whimsy: The Shears Mystery #vintage #ephemera #freebie #printable #shears #scissors

They are non-stick scissors from Panduro Hobby, sadly it seems Panduro are no longer selling these. When I first got the scissors, I could not believe how smooth and precise they would cut through even rather thick layers of paper. I think part of what makes these good, is the way they respond to my touch, I can cut even tiny-weeny details with super light pressure, and they are not “suddenly” chewing a nasty chunk away all by themselves! The non-stick treatment is essential, since I’m always glueing and taping stuff, other scissors become dull and sticky in no time.

They were the most expensive scissors in the Panduro selection when I got them about 2 years ago. If (when!) I’m buying scissors next, I’ll go for the Tim Holtz Titanium Shears. A bonus with these are that they can be used by both right- and left-handed crafters, and my youngest daughter is left-handed so this will be nice for her:

Wings of Whimsy: The Shears Mystery #vintage #ephemera #freebie #printable #shears #scissors

Of course the Tim Holtz scissors are even more expensive than the Panduro scissors, but scissors are probably my most important tool, so I think it’s worth investing in the best pair I can have!

I don’t really use smaller scissors for details (or at least not very often) – I find that by turning the scissors and the paper, sometimes cutting from the reverse side, I can cut most any detail with my Panduro scissors. For most cutting I keep my (right) cutting hand very still and steady, and just turn the paper with my left hand, kind of feeding the paper in between the scissor blades. For the small details, I will move both the paper and the scissors! I know this is not recommended, but it seems to allow me to reach even the hardest nooks and crannies 😛 Most of my fussy cutting is done quite near the screw (the middle of the scissors) I barely ever cut with the tip, as that tends to rip the paper. If this explanation does not make sense to you, try to think about your technique the next time you cut something, and consider if you can develop it further.

When I sometimes need to cut away something tiny that can’t be reached with my scissors, I prefer using a sharp craft knife, like an X-Acto knife. Mine is from this Panduro kit (seen to the far left).

Wings of Whimsy: The Shears Mystery #vintage #ephemera #freebie #printable #shears #scissors

But I honestly think any craft knife will do it, as long as your blade is tightly fastened and sharp, always sharp! You might want to choose one with a comfortable non-slip grip, rather than the plain metal ones (which often are thin like a pencil too!) Knife blades are not very expensive, so keep a few extras on hand and change them often! My cutting board is from tempered glass and I feel it gives me a much better precision than my old self-healing cutting mat, you can see it clearly in this picture:

Wings of Whimsy: Christmas Ornament Type 4 #vintage #ephemera #freebie #christmas #ornament-kopi

If you are throwing out an old fridge, make sure you keep the shelves, they are made from tempered glass, and the perfect size for your craft space 🙂

And two additional tips: My house is filled with regular,  cheap scissors, like these:

Wings of Whimsy: The Shears Mystery #vintage #ephemera #freebie #printable #shears #scissors

This is to give my girls and crafty visitors some fun & viable options, so I can keep my non-stick scissors to myself…lol If (when!) the cheap scissors become sticky from glue and tape, I wipe them with baby wipes 😉

And last but not least:

My fabric scissors are locked away in a drawer, never-ever allowed to even “think about” paper!

Wings of Whimsy: The Shears Mystery #vintage #ephemera #freebie #printable #shears #scissors

Do you have a pair of favorite scissors you would like to recommend? Or maybe a special technique that helps you with the fussy cutting? Please share in the comments below! I would also love to hear from anyone who already has the Tim Holtz Titanium Shears, if they really should be my next choice – or not?

The files are free for your personal use and enjoyment. Go to the download folder below to grab your high quality copies 🙂

Download Printable

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The vintage illustrations in this post are from the following sources:

Children & Scissors: Boston Public Library on Flickr

Sewing Singer Girls – Boston Public Library on Flickr

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5 thoughts on “The Shears Mystery Unveiled

  1. Are you going for the 91/2 ” ones? I heard the smaller ones are better. I use Fiskers brand but I’m curious about these Tim Holtz ones. Hope you’re having a pleasant holiday season.

    1. Yes the big ones for sure! The Panduro scissors are about 7,5″ and I would not mind them even bigger. I might actually buy both sizes (just to have the option), but like I said, I rarely ever use small scissors at all! I prefer my large scissors any day, since I’m doing the fussy cutting near the screw and not with the tip (like you might expect). I do a l-o-t of cutting though, and I have never seen anyone cut like me… so I half suspect my technique is not common…:-P PS I used to be a Twirl Girl in my teens, so I have my hand moves down…lol I have never tried a Fiskars pair that fits my hands, I don’t like their edgy finger openings… Maybe there is no such thing as the perfect tool-fit all…?

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