Mar 152012

In a previous post, I wrote about the cutting tools that paper crafters tend to collect. For me, scissors take up a lot of space, requiring multiple storage solutions. My own solutions include a mug rack, a necklace stand, a plastic flower pot from a floral shop, and a wood-bottomed bag I purchased at a local craft fair.

There are commercial scissor racks that you can purchase from an artist or school supply warehouse, but why not make your own, customizing it for both the quantity and types of scissors you have? That’s what April of A Joy 2 Scrap did when she designed her own compact scissor stand. She took 2 squares of wood, drilled holes in one of them for 15 pairs of scissors, and elevated one square above the other with four dowels. She points out that the bottom piece of wood lends stability to her stand, as well as prevents the scissor tips from marring any flat surfaces.

A Joy 2 Scrap scissor solution - enlarged

Sometimes simplicity is the best scissor storage solution. “I store my scissors in a plastic cup,” says Rose of The Beadings and Buttons of Randomcreative.  I have done the same when I move a paper crafting project from one room to another and want to contain my mess!

Scissors cup used by Rose Clearfield of The Beadings and Buttons of Randomcreative

“I use a utensil caddy from Pampered Chef for my scissors,” says Edi of Memories for Life Scrapbooks. “I hate to cook, but they still make great gadgets.” Edi’s utensil caddy spins, making retrieval of the tool she needs quick and easy.

Pampered Chef utensil holder used by Edi Royer of Memories for Life Scrapbooks

Hannah of Rubies and Pearls has a scissor storage system that was inspired by candle centerpieces she created for her own wedding. Instead of inserting candles in pearl-filled glass vases, Hannah inserted her craft scissors. She finished off the look with a ribbon—pretty and clever!

Wedding centerpiece-inspired solution by Hannah of Rubies and Pearls

This past fall, school teacher Janet Malone from Nashville, Tennessee moved to a new art room that had less space than her previous classroom. She had to find creative storage solutions for many different items, including scissors. She spotted a photo of knife storage bars from Ikea on Pinterest, which sparked an idea. Instead of buying the knife racks (which wasn’t possible because Nashville does not have an Ikea store), Janet purchased magnetized tool racks from Home Depot for $12, and attached them to a storage cabinet that placed the scissors high enough that kindergartners cannot easily reach them, yet still accessible when needed in a hurry. What a great idea!

Magnetized tool racks from Home Depot by Janet Malone of Ms. Malone’s Art Room

Sometimes you simply want to be able to quickly locate a single pair of scissors you use frequently. A good way to do so (and to keep the scissors from scratching wood surfaces) is to upcycle a potholder, which is what Jan of Grandma Jan’s Corner did with the cute scissor holder shown below.

Scissor holder by Jan of Grandma Jan's Corner

When Marissa of Skooks’ Playground reorganized her sewing room, she was inspired by reading about others’ sewing spaces. She found a metal home decor wall rack at Hobby Lobby on clearance for two dollars, spray painted it to fit the rest of her room, and hung up her “ridiculously large scissors” on the hooks. I think I have walked past items like this a million times, and never thought about using them this way!

Wire home decor rack used by Marissa of Skooks’ Playground

Have you ever thought about using a toothbrush holder for your scissors? That’s the surprising idea that Dee of La-Dee-Da Creations came up with when she transformed an empty room in her home into a craft room. She found her toothbrush holder at Walmart, along with a matching waste basket.

Toothbrush holder used by Dee of La-Dee-Da Creations

Patti of Patti’s Paper Play transferred her edge-cutting scissors from a shoe box to cup hooks attached to the bottom of a wood shelf.  “I can easily grab the pair I want and find that I use them more now that they are out in the open,” Patti says. For a room with limited space, this is a great (and visible) solution.

Cup hook storage system by Patti LeMay of Patti's Paper Play

There are probably other scissor storage ideas out there, among them hanging scissors from S-hooks on a pegboard, but I’d love to hear your additional ideas. Thanks to all of the individuals who contributed their photos to this post.

© 2012 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved. Permission granted by photo owners for inclusion in this post.

Feb 152012

If you are a paper crafting enthusiast like me, likely you have an arsenal of blades that would impress your local fencing master. Seriously, have you ever inventoried all of the sharp tools in your drawers and baskets, and on your counters and shelves?

There are pinking and fabric shears, Scherenschnitte scissors, craft scissors, fringe scissors, utility scissors and edge-shaping scissors.

Don’t forget your button shank remover, paper piercers and rotary blades.

Likely you have or are developing a Dewey Decimal System for your shape punches, border punches, corner punches, hole punches and rotary punch.

Consuming all of your horizontal space are your machines (clockwise, starting in upper left corner below): Dreamkuts; The Cinch; Bind-it-All; Cricut™; Sizzix® Big Shot™; 7Gypsies® Binderie, Zutter™ Kutter,  and more.

After you wake up each day, you turn on your computer, and then you locate your craft knives, Crop-A-Dile® and paper trimmer.

So, where does that leave me as a Blade-Carrying Paper Crafter? I admit it: I’m a tool junkie. But sometimes I wonder if I could manage as our ancestors did—with an ordinary pair of scissors. And I also wonder what came first, the tools or the paper crafters? Before all of today’s convenient tools were developed, paper crafters wielded a ruler and drawing compass, a pencil, scissors—and an imagination wrapped around folding techniques—to create paper shapes for their projects.

I am happy to report that these tools still do the job, and that there are people out there who have developed paper templates (or instructions for creating your own) that you can use to cut out shapes the longhand way: with plain ol’ scissors. Sometimes this is still the fastest way to get the job done!

Since I was looking for printable envelope templates recently, I visited the following sites to see what digital designs are available to print and cut out with my scissors:

  • Mirkwood Designs. Once upon a time, Ruthann Logsdon Zaroff was an instructional designer who created and sold rubber stamps. At that time, she generated a treasure house of paper templates for the Triangle, Square, Pentagon and Hexagon Petal Card; the Puffy Box; the Heart Basket; Basic Envelope; Secret Heart Card; Library Card Book Pocket; Wine Glass Shade; 1-Inch and 2-Inch Envelopes . . . and many more designs. Although Ruthann fills her present days with quilting, cooking, reading and music (in addition to paper crafts), her original Web site still contains her simple-but-effective designs. You can follow Ruthann at her blog, Adventures in Creativity, where you’ll find more resources for paper crafters.
  • Over 100 envelope tutorials and patterns. At Melz Stamps, Mel McCarthy invites her readers to use her digital designs for personal use, or in handmade items they may sell. Mel describes her crafting style as a hybrid between traditional stamping and supplies, and digital design. Among her tips and tricks are ultra quick ideas for lining any envelope; patterns for a standard A2-sized envelope (4 1/4 in. x 5 1/2 in.); square cards and matching envelopes in various sizes; the Mini Long Note envelope and matching box; the Corset Belly-band-elope, and links to many other sites with digital printables.
  • How to Make a 5×7 Envelope. I went on a scavenger hunt this week to locate 5 in. x 7 in. envelopes for an envelope pocket album I am making. Although I eventually found these envelopes at Michael’s, it occurred to me that you can produce a much wider range of colors, or make patterned envelopes, if you create your own. This eHow™ tutorial walks you through 8 easy steps for making your own template.
  • How to Create Your Own Envelopes. Jamie Brock on HubPages, another online information-sharing community, explains how you can create your own envelopes simply by deconstructing an envelope you already have, and tracing it. She also provides links to other envelope-making tutorials.

What great sites have you discovered for paper templates that will make your scissors dance?

© 2012 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.


Nov 042009

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