Using a Paper Cutter to Trim Wedding Stationery

You Can Save Costs Doing it Yourself!


When you are working with wedding stationery items like invitations, programs, rsvp cards, bridal shower invitations or even reception menus, sometimes the end result fits perfectly onto a normal piece of copy paper (81/2x11), but what do you when it doesn't? For example, maybe you're printing a Wedding Program like the one shown, but it measures 4x10; how will you trim it to size?

If you choose to use a local printing shop, or even an online printer, you can certainly pay an extra fee and they'll do it for you. However, you can do this yourself easily. With the right tools, it's simple as can be. Not only will you be able to cut your cards to the exact size you need, but with a few extra steps, you may even be able to print two (or more) to a page and save paper.

Step One: Buy a Paper Trimmer

Of all the crafting tools I use, my sliding paper cutter rivals my glue gun for "most used tool." They're so handy that just about every store you can imagine carries them. You can get them at Walmart, your local craft store, even the drugstore. You can find them as inexpensive as $10 or as much as $30.
Paper cutter
I like the Fiskars brand, the one shown in the photo, but you can use other brands as well. They come in a couple sizes. If you do a lot of scrapbooking, you should consider getting the larger size. If it's mostly smaller projects, then the 12" size (shown) is ideal.

Note: Do not use the cutters with the blade that goes down like a guillotine, they won't give you a straight edge and they're a bit dangerous.

Step Two: Learn How To Use Your Trimmer

The base of the cutter is made of hard plastic, and over that is a long, clear plastic guide that holds the razor. You'll see that it lifts up and down. On that arm is a ruler to help you size your projects. As you lift it, you'll see a small indentation for the razor to slide along, sometimes this is lined with a rubbery surface which can be replaced as it gets worn. The razor, or cutting mechanism, is a very tiny sharp edge that sits on the underside of a plastic gizmo.

It simply slides up and down the plastic ruler, scoring or cutting your paper. It's much safer than scissors or other cutting tools. It can also be replaced as it gets dull over time. Fancier cutters may use a rolling wheel that cuts much like a pizza cutter. You can get interchangeable wheels that score, make the paper perforated like a ticket, or even give a decorative edge. Those can be fun, but I only recommend them for experienced crafters.

Step Three: Print Your Design

Once you've finished customizing your card, you'll go ahead and print it. Most cards and invitations are best printed on cardstock (thick paper). Read our article on paper choices for ideas on what paper is best for your project. If your project is 5x7 or smaller, you can easily rotate it on its side and print two to a page. Note: before you print your actual project on good paper, print a sample and see how it looks first, as to not waste paper.

Step Four: Where Will You Cut?

If your image has a definite edge to it, cutting will be easy, you'll just follow the edge. If not, use a pencil and a ruler to mark a small dot at each of what will be the four corners of the card. You'll use those dots to show you where to start the cutting.
Paper cutter

Step Five: Make the First Cut

The first cut you make will be the most important. You know that the paper has perfectly straight edge and 90 degree corners. Slide the little plastic gizmo that holds the razor to the top of the ruler. Lift the plastic ruler/arm and set the paper on the base of the cutter. Push it all the way against the top edge of the cutter to be sure it's nice and straight.

Now, line up the edge you want to cut so that it lays directly over the indentation for the razor. Holding the paper with your left hand to keep it steady and pushed against the top edge, slide the razor gizmo down the paper. See? A quick, straight edge!

Step Six: Cut, Rotate & Repeat

Now the trick is to rotate the paper and do it on another edge. I usually like to do the longest edge first then rotate to the shortest side. By the time you've done all four, you'll have a pile of paper scraps and your card(s) ready to go. If you printed two to a page, you'll use the same technique to divide the two images into two separate cards.

Paper cutter
This tool is so valuable, you'll find yourself using it to trim photographs, business cards, any old thing that needs cutting. When you get really good at it, you can even layer two or more sheets of paper and cut them at the same time.

Written by: Dawn Applegate