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Tips for Using a Rotary Cutter

These are some of the things I have learned over the years from using rotary cutters. There are lots of cutting options out there, but I like how easy it is to cut straight lines with these. 

-Make sure you use a good ruler and a self healing mat. I have used many different brands of cutters, mats, and rulers. They all seem to work just fine for me, as long as the blades were sharp. 

Rotary Cutters on a Mat

-Most important tip: Keep your fingers, and anything else you don't want cut, away from the blade.  I have cut patterns and important pieces of fabric because I wasn't paying attention to what was on the cutting mat. 

Keep your fingers away from the edge of the ruler. I have cut myself too many times because I was doing this:

Bad example of holding the ruler

This is what your fingers should look like. As far away from edge as possible while still being able to apply pressure to the ruler to hold it still. 

Good example of holding the Ruler

-I have seen a lot of handles advertised that you can attach to your ruler. These help provide a good hold on the ruler and keep your fingers away from the edge. I have heard lots of good things about them, but I don't use them. This is because I store my ruler under my mat on my table and it needs to be flat. 

-I like to cut away from me with the ruler vertical on my cutting mat. That seems to be the safest away from cutting myself without weird arm and hand positions. Also, I won't cut my legs as I stand in front of the cutting table. 

-I like to purchase multiple blades at a time. They come in these nifty plastic cases. I reuse them to store the old blades when I am done with them. This provides a safer disposal. 

Good and Bad container for blades

-Trade out your blade whenever you start to notice a nick in it or if it isn't cutting as well as you would like. I figure it is better to deal with trading out a blade rather than the frustration of ripping fabrics or having to go over the same cut multiple times. 

-Use a smaller blade when cutting around tight curves or smaller pieces. They are easier to turn and manipulate. 

-Try to always keep the safety on when you are not actively cutting. I know it seems like such a pain, but it is totally worth it.  I once dropped my rotary cutter while I was between cuts. It fell on my little toe. I cut my socks and toe pretty good. I still have a scar from that. 

What advice would you offer about using rotary cutters? Leave a comment below!

Have fun quilting!


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