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Decorative Scissors: Ideas and Tips

As a professional scrapbook artist, paper crafter, and author, I have taught people how to turn family memories into legacies for 20 years.

Decorative scissors provide endless crafting opportunities.

Decorative scissors provide endless crafting opportunities.

Decorative Scissors Add So Much to Paper Crafts

When I started making scrapbooks, one of the first things that I bought was decorative scissors. They were reasonably priced, and I figured I would be able to use them a lot. I was right. They gave me a lot of bang for the buck. There are lots of different companies making these scissors. Each of them have several different designs or patterns.

Although with all the new punches to do edges, I still like my decorative scissors. They are great to use to give photos and photo mats a nice decorative edge. They are easy to use on small delicate things like tags and journal items. They are very economical for the beginning card maker or scrapbooker.

Most decorative scissors are made in plastic. Most are in very bright colors with the pattern stamped on the scissors themselves. You can purchase them singly or in sets. The sets range from three pairs to twenty-four pairs.

I have seen one set of scissors where you get a handle with interchangeable blades, which helps with the storage issue.

Eighteen years after starting paper crafting, they are still one of my favorite tools. I use them on my scrapbook pages, my greeting cards, and my papercrafts. There are so many ways to use them. You will want to have them handy for all your crafts.

Types of Decorative Scissors Cuts

There are several additional patterns that you can add to your collection.

  • The Wave Pattern: This pattern looks like waves in an ocean.
  • The Victorian Pattern: Looks like old lace.
  • The Scallop: Neatly aligned half circles.
  • The Zig Zag: Lined up triangles-looks like pinking shear cuts.
  • The Deckle: Made to look like torn paper.
  • The Ripple: Looks like three edges in groups.
  • Clouds: Group of three cloud-like designs.

Tips for Using Decorative Scissors

Consider these tips when using your decorative scissors:

  • Especially when starting out with decorative scissors, it's a wise idea to start by making a line where you wish to cut. Make a light line with a ruler and a pencil.
  • Be patient. When using decorative scissors, you need to line up the blade after each cut in order to avoid a break in the pattern. This means you can't cut as fast as you would with regular scissors.
  • Practice cutting on scrap paper first if you're having trouble getting the pattern to line up correctly.

Storing Decorative Scissors

Think a little bit about what you might have around the house to store your decorative scissors. If you buy a larger set, they often come with their own storage as part of the purchase.

  • A large coffee mug holder would work just fine if you only have a few pairs of decorative scissors.
  • Use a metal necklace holder to store your scissors.
  • How about an unused rod where you could use a few hooks.
  • A large coffee mug or soup mug would hold quite a few pairs of scissors.
  • A large tin can (one that holds tomatoes ) decorate would hold a few pairs.

Just think creatively and find something that you could use to store your collection.

Caring for Your Decorative Scissors

When you invest in any papercraft tools, it's important to care for them. You want the money that you spent to be well invested. Follow these tips to get the most out of your scissors:

  • The first rule of thumb is to keep any adhesives away from the blades of your decorative scissors. That includes glue, glitter, and tapes as well. If you do get any adhesives on the blades, make sure to clean them right away. You can use some soapy water or baby wipes. Just make sure to dry them completely right away.
  • Keep them sharper by not cutting all the way to the tip. Start cutting, but stop just short of the tip. Realign the scissor and cut again. Your decorative scissor will stay sharper longer.
  • They will get dull after a few uses. The best way to sharpen them is to cut through a couple of layers of aluminum foil several times.

Layering With Decorative Scissors

One of the best techniques for decorative scissors is to use them to layer different elements of your scrapbook page. Using the same design scissors, you can double and triple layer these elements to create dimension and design. Use this technique for titles, photo mats, borders, and page dividers. You can use vellum or cardstock to add these layering elements, Or you can carefully cut vellum and layer that too.

Photo mats are made custom by using decorative scissors. You can create layers by cutting rectangles or squares.

Photo Mat Instructions

  1. Measure your picture.
  2. Then cut a mat three inches larger all the way around the picture
  3. Then cut another piece of cardstock one inch less all the way around.
  4. Carefully use the decorative scissor to make an edge all the way around your mat.
  5. Adhere the mats and the photo and place them on your page.

How to Select Decorative Scissors

There are many companies selling decorative scissor sets. Many of the better scissor makers sell them in sets of four. If you can, start with the basic sets in a better brand and move forward. The better sets will last longer and give you a better cut.

Just like any other tool, there are beginner decorative scissors that generally come in multi-packs that are more for children's paper projects. From there, you can go up in price to the more quality decorative scissors, like Fiskars and EK Tools scissors

The Fiskar scissors actually come in both right-handed and left-handed scissors.

I would buy the best that your budget can afford and start out with less. Quality means a lot and you may be frustrated with cheaper scissors.

Creating Waves With Decorative Scissors

Fringe Tip Decorative Scissors

A fringe tip decorative scissor is a handy decorative scissor to have in your collection. Basically, it is a decorative scissor with ten blades. They can cut fringes, grass, and confetti easily and quickly with just a few cuts.

To get the cleanest cuts, cut from the middle of the blade rather than closer to the screw of the scissors. Make sure that you stop cutting before the blade tip.

More Ideas for Using Decorative Edge Scissors

Looking for more ways to use these unique craft scissors? Try these ideas:

  • Edge the end or the bottom of a greeting card with your favorite type of edge.
  • Edge a shape with your decorative scissors.
  • Try edging washi tape with decorative scissors for a real custom design.
  • Trim the edge of a journal block to add some dimension.
  • Trim the top of a pocket on a scrapbook page with decorative scissors.
  • Create faux ribbon by cutting thin strips of paper on both sides with your decorative ribbon.
  • Cut several shades of blue paper with the wave pattern to create a water feature on a scrapbook page.
  • Trim the bottom of a tag with decorative scissors.
  • Trim a photo mat with decorative scissors to add dimension.
  • Trim the open end of a greeting card with decorative scissors.
  • Cut around a stamped image with decorative scissors.
  • Create fun lettering with your decorative scissors.
  • Create a border with decorative scissors. Cut a strip of paper and edge with your decorative scissors. Layer different widths of strips.

Using Decorative Scissors in Junk Journals and Art Journals

There are so many ways to use decorative scissors in junk and art journals. Here are a few of our favorite ideas:

  1. Edge a Pocket: Who does not love pockets in our journals? Add a variety to your pockets by using decorative scissors cuts to the top edge. Add more dimension to that same pocket by inking the decorative cuts.
  2. Cut a Decorative Edge Around a Picture: If you use magazine pictures to collage, why not add some decorative edges to some of the pictures in your collage? Then ink the edges to give more dimension.
  3. Cut the Edge of the Page: Why leave a plain edge to a page when you can cut a decorative edge all the way around it?

Types of Cuts With Decorative Scissors

  1. Single Cut: Single cut on one side of the paper.
  2. Parallel Cuts: Cuts with the same distance and the same distance between each cut.
  3. Mirror Cut: These are cuts that are the same as the parallel cut except you have turned the same scissor in the opposite direction.
  4. Offset Cut: Where you vary the cut to get an entirely different look.
  5. Combination Cut: Any type of cut that also uses punches in the design.

Create a Mini Postage Stamp Embellishment

Want a great way to use those mini stamps in your stash? Here is an idea that uses your mini stamps and your decorative scissors.


  • Card stock scraps
  • Mini stamps
  • Inkpad
  • Decorative Scissors


  1. Stamp your image on a piece of cardstock (use those scraps).
  2. Allow it to dry.
  3. Cut out a square stamp size all around the stamped image with your decorative scissors.


  • You can make larger images as embellishments with the same idea.
  • You could also emboss the image before cutting it out.

Decorative Scissor Projects

Final Thoughts on Decorative Scissors

Paper trends come and go, but the tried and true classic techniques and ideas will always stay true. Decorative scissors are a tool that has proved themselves over time. Even with the advent of electronic cutting machines and die-cutting machines, they still have a place in our craft rooms.

© 2018 Linda F Correa

Add Your Thoughts, Comments And Ideas On Decorative Scissors

Linda F Correa (author) from Spring Hill Florida on September 25, 2018:

Thank you for the comment. I have about 14 pairs of these. I use them a lot. That is a great tip ! Appreciate your thoughts and ideas

Donna Herron from USA on September 25, 2018:

Great hub! I only have a couple pairs of decorative scissors, but I use them a lot. One of my favorite uses is to hide a cut that might not be straight, like on the edge of a card or on one side of a shape. The decorative edge distracts from any unevenness. Thanks for this informative article!