Like many other Etsy sellers who sell handmade paper goods, my paper crafting studio is filled with designer papers, adhesives, embellishments, and tools of all types and sizes. There are so many tools, in fact, that they spill into other rooms in the house, wherever they will fit. But among my favorites are those from Fiskars, the business that many of us think of as the “scissors company.” Over time, my personal collection of Fiskars cutting implements has grown to include pinking shears, rotary cutters, scoring blades, a button shank remover, embroidery scissors, paper cutters, paper punches, garden shears, and more. My first Fiskars product, however, was a pair of orange-handled fabric shears that I used when I learned how to sew.

Clockwise, from top center: Fiskars pinking shears,
cardboard cutter, rotary cutter, embroidery scissors,
button shank cutter, fabric shears

The story about orange scissor handles goes back to 1967, when Fiskars manufactured its first plastic-handled scissors. The designer wasn’t sure whether the final product would have red, black or green handles, but in the process of making prototype plastic-handled scissors, he used leftover orange resin from a molding machine intended for Fiskars juicers. Much to his surprise, the orange scissors were popular—so popular, in fact, that employees chose orange over black by a vote of nine to seven for the final plastic-handled Fiskars scissors. Three dozen years later, in 2003, the color orange was trademarked in Finland as “Fiskars Orange®.” You’ll see that color in most of Fiskars’ consumer products and packaging today.

Fiskars table top paper cutters

Fiskars itself is a 360-year-old company whose roots go back to Finland, which is where its corporate headquarters is located. It employs more than 4,000 employees worldwide, and produces a wide variety of home, office and outdoor tools.

Fiskars paper punches

The company was founded in 1649 by a Dutch merchant named Peter Thorwöste, when Finland was under Swedish rule and Sweden was known as the center of iron manufacturing. Thorwöste was allowed to build a blast furnace and bar hammer in the village of Fiskars (Finland) so that he could manufacture cast iron and forged products. Although most of the bar iron that Thorwöste produced was sold in Stockholm (Sweden), he also fashioned nails, thread, knives, hoes, iron wheels and other equipment.

Over the centuries, steam engines, plows and cutlery were added to Fiskars’ list of manufactured goods, and its manufacturing facilities spread to other countries. Meanwhile, all manufacturing in the original ironworks facility gradually ceased operation. In 1992, however, the Fiskars company decided that the way to breathe new life into the old Fiskars Village was to invite artisans, designers and artists to move into the old ironworks facilities, where they could form a cooperative and work. Today Fiskars Village has become a center of Finnish art and design. You can meet some of the artisans through FiskarsVillage Cinema Series.

Left to right: Fiskars embossing tools, cutting mat,
eyelet punches, embossing plates,
and texture plate embossing tool

As you view the work of BBEST artists below, it will be apparent that I am not the only one who has benefitted from using Fiskars paper crafting tools, or variations of them from other manufacturers. Although there is no doubt that Fiskars has many competitors today, the fact that it is more than three-and-a-half centuries old—as well as Finland’s oldest company—suggests that Fiskars has a great deal of practice in developing “cutting edge” paper crafting tools.

You can learn more about Fiskars, its history, Fiskars Village and its craft division by visiting these Web sites:

© 2009 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved. Please note that the images in this post are owned by the artists and may not be used without permission. Simultaneously published at

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