What Are The Best Paper Cutters For Card Making

Paper cutters are a must have for every card making supplies stache, and making cards often require neat, precision cuts to get that 'WOW' result so you want to make sure you're using the best paper cutters possible for your card making. But which paper cutter actually is the best one for card making?

Well, it depends on whether you are cutting straight lines, curves, or shapes. There are paper cutters for intricate shapes, for super straight lines, and even for wiggly lines. Some cutters are better suited to one piece of paper only and some will handle just about anything from your card making supplies.

Let's start with cutting straight lines ...

Best paper cutter for straight lines in card making

Although you can use scissors and a cutting knife to cut your straight lines, a paper cutter (sometimes called a paper trimmer) is the best straight line cutter for card making. The best news? You don't have to break the bank to get one.
paper cutters for card making
There are four main types of paper cutters: rotary, stack, electric, and guillotine paper cutters. I'll talk about each a little below.

Rotary Cutters

A rotary cutter is the best paper cutter for card making for most paper crafters. It's certainly my top choice! The reason for this is that it cuts perfectly straight 100% of the time and it's really quick. Using scissors and/or a craft knife takes a little longer and there is more room for human error.

A rotary cutter sits flat on your desk and features a rolling blade that will slide through your piece of paper or card. There is nearly always a grid on the top of the cutter that helps you line up your card for precision cutting.

They work amazing but the only downside is that you can usually only cut 1 or 2 pieces of paper at a time. This is bad news if you like to create in bulk to save time later.
rotary paper cutter

Guillotine Cutters

A guillotine paper cutter works by lowering a large cutting blade down to slice through the paper. They can slice through larger volumes of paper, allowing you to cut in bulk. Guillotine cutters are also used by paper crafters who work with thick card or poster board.
rotary paper cutter

Stack Cutters

Stack cutters aren't often used for card making unless you are creating a lot of card bases all at once. They have the ability to cut through a whole ream of paper!

Electric Paper Cutters

An electric paper cutter features a little automatic motor that helps slice through your paper. More expensive models are programmable, allowing you to save 'cuts' for future use. This is by far the most expensive option.

Best paper cutters for shapes in card making

But what about when you want to cut out a shape or an image? I mean, I know you can use scissors but when it comes to fiddly bits, they don't really cut it .... literally. Here's what you can use to cut shapes.

Hobby Knife

A hobby knife is a must-have when it comes to cutting shapes and edges that are not straight. It's the cheapest option and can be purchased on its own, or in a kit with different shaped blades. Don't forget that when you get a hobby knife, you will also need to buy a cutting mat. A cutting mat is essential to getting precise cuts and clean edges as the mat self heals as you go along so the knife can't get stuck in any grooves.
Sharp blade hobby knife

Handheld Rotary Cutter

A handheld rotary paper cutter works by using a circular blade that is rolled along the paper to make the cut. It will usually cut through not only paper and card but fabric as well, allowing you to also use it in sewing projects.
rotary paper cutters

Paper Punches

You probably already have a few of these in your stash already. Craft paper punches are a super quick and easy way to create shapes in your paper and card. Often sold as stand-alone shapes such as butterflies, stars, circles, hearts etc. you can also buy multi-purpose craft paper punches that come with a variety of interchangeable cutting shapes.
Paper punches for card making

Die Cut Machines

A die cut machine is a great way to cut out images and intricate shapes. There are two main types of die-cutting machines, manual and electric.

Manual die-cutting machines are more affordable and work a little like a cookie-cutter, with the stencil being called a 'die'. A die is a metal-shaped object with a raised-sharp area for cutting. It's kind of like a cookie-cutter! The machine comes with 2 pieces of hard plastic and you use these to sandwich your die and paper together in between. The whole plastic/die/paper sandwich is then fed through the die cutting machine and as you crank the handle, the pressure as it passed through the machine forces the die to cut the shape into the paper.
Die cut stencils for card making
A digital die cutting machine is powered by electricity and no die is required. The machine is controlled by computer software and a blade in the machine passes over the paper and cuts it for you. These are amazing for both card making and scrapbooking and are a worthy investment if you use it regularly.
An electric die-cutting machine is the best choice for cutting intricate shapes however it's not the easiest (as you have to learn how to use it) or the cheapest. Many card makers will get by just fine with a craft knife and a few different paper punches.

Best paper cutters for decorative edges

There are two easy options for creating decorative edges in your cardmaking: decorative edge scissors and decorative edge craft paper punches.

Decorative edge scissors are the best choice if you are seeking nothing too intricate and are happy with various wavy type edges. Scissors can be purchased singularly or as a set with removable cutting parts in various cutting shapes.

Decorative edge scissors
When you want to get a little fancier, decorative edge craft paper punches are the best choice. You can create a much more intricate finish however, it can get a bit pricey if you want more than one (which you probably will). There are some beautiful corner paper punches available as well so you are not just confined to edges.
Card making and Paper craft tools for card project
decorative corner punches

So which is the best paper cutter for card making?

Well, there is no right or wrong answer as it all comes down to personal choice. If you like to keep your cards simple, you will be just fine with a rotary cutter for straight lines and a hobby knife or pair of scissors for anything else. If you like to go all out with intricate details (like in the photograph below), you will probably already be researching electric cutters.

Card layout using decorative paper cutters
I think it's a good idea to keep your other hobbies in mind when purchasing paper cutters as many are versatile. A craft knife will be useful across many papercraft projects as will an electric die cut machine.

I hope this information has helped you work out the best paper cutters for card making for you. It's not a one-size-fits-all approach and you will need to weigh up what you need vs what you want and can afford.

Happy card-making!
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