Did you know that there are least 5 different types of scissors that you need for your craft room? These must-haves all do different things!
When I was a budding crafter, in the 80’s, there wasn’t the information about arts and crafts out there that there is now. My parents are pretty artistic, but I was a figure-it-out-myself kind of kid so when I wanted to make a craft project, I just used whatever we had at home. And that included just our regular scissors from the kitchen. You know the ones that sit in your junk drawer and are used for literally anything.
I can vividly remember trying to cut fabric or ribbon with those scissors and getting so frustrated. I literally had no idea there was such a thing as fabric scissors. It was the same in art class at school. There was just a bin of scissors. They were all the same and all used for anything and everything.
It wasn’t until I was old enough to go to a craft store alone (and moved to a bigger city) that I stood in the scissors aisle, totally overwhelmed. The entire store was like that for me, simultaneously overwhelming and exciting.
I am sure that many people feel the same way, not knowing which tool is the correct tool for the job, right? So today, we’re going to chat about 5 different types of scissors that, if you can, you should have in your craft room AND what you use them for. Are you ready?
What is the difference between shears and scissors?
Though we often use them interchangeably, did you know that shears and scissors are not the same? Scissors have two equally sized finger holes and their blades are usually less than 6 inches long. Shears, on the other hand (ha!), have a smaller hole for your thumb and a larger hole for your other fingers and may have blades longer than 6 inches.
The 5 Different Types of Scissors You NEED in Your Craft Room
- All-purpose scissors
Yes, you still need “regular” all-purpose scissors for random things like pipe cleaners, string, foam sheets, scraps of vinyl, or any other random things. You can even use these all-purpose scissors for general paper cutting. These are workhorse scissors. You aren’t going to get upset if they get sticky or dirty or anything and if you have to replace them, you have to replace them.
- Fabric Scissors
Yes, you REALLY need separate fabric scissors. Use them to cut fabric, felt, ribbons, burlap etc. What’s the difference between regular scissors and fabric scissors? Fabric scissors are usually sharper and have a longer blade so you can make longer cuts. They will probably cost more because of those features. Some sewists recommend even having a dedicated pair of fabric scissors for felt since it can be made of plastics that may dull your blade. And NEVER cut anything sticky-backed with your fabric scissors.
Surprisingly, paper dulls scissors a lot. So those all-purpose scissors you have already, will butcher your fabric. You will not get a nice cut line, and it will be really frustrating. If you have fabric scissors, my best advice is to label them and keep them away from your family or other people who live in your home. And don’t use your fabric scissors to cut paper sewing patterns!
- Sharp Pointed Detail Scissors
I’m not sure there is an official name for these, but a pair of small sharp pointed detail scissors can be great for when you need to cut details. Think of the small scissors a silhouette artist uses to cut the black paper. You may use detail scissors for paper cutting or for fabric cutting (but have a separate pair for each material.) The super sharp pointed tip and short blades allow you get into small corners and details and allow for lots of control while cutting.
- Decorative Scissors
No craft room is complete without decorative edge scissors. And they make SO many fun ones these days, that are perfect to add a little pizzazz to your craft project. Decorative scissors add a fun textured edge ro your craft (most often paper crafts) such as a zig zag, wavy line or other detail edging.
- Rotary Cutter
If you’re going to get any length of fabric, ribbon, or woven material longer than a few inches, a rotary cutter (used with a metal ruler) will always give you a nice straighter cut. It’s also easier to cut through more than one layer of material with a rotary cutter. The other nice thing about rotary cutters is that, like a craft knife, the blades are sold separately, are relatively cheap, and can be easily and quickly replaced as soon as you notice they start to dull!
BONUS Types of Scissors
Of course there are lots of other kinds of scissors, but the 5 above are the ones I think most crafters should have and would use the most. Here are some other bonus types of craft scissors collection if you want more options!
- Kids Scissors
If you ever craft with kids then you definitely need kids scissors. Not only because the have a rounded tip so no one gets hurt, but also because if your kids have their own scissors, then they won’t mess up yours!
- Micro-tip Shears
I got a pair of spring loaded micro-tip shears to use when cutting pom poms and I am in love with them. The blades are very thin, very pointy and VERY sharp. They fit in the tiny groove of my pom pom maker and cut lots of yarn easily. As a bonus the spring loaded handles are easy to squeeze which may be helptul for some people.
- Thread Snips/Embroidery Scissors
Thread snips are usually small scissors with very short, sharp blades. Used most often for sewing and embroidery, they’re the right size to keep inside a bag pocket for trimming ends of threads. There are thread snips that look like tiny scissors and there Japanese style thread snips that are just one piece with overlapping blades.
- Left Handed Scissors
I’m not a leftie but I know left handed scissors are a thing that really help! Consider these especially if you have a left-handed child learning to cut.
- Pinking Shears
I think sewists used to use pinking shears more often than they do now. The zig zag cut of pinking shears is meant to help keep fabric edges from fraying. If you sew a ton, get yourself some pinking shears!
- Applique scissors
These are definitely a more unusual scissor, meant to protect the rest of the fabric when trimming applique projects. Of course, these are particularly specialized, but if you do a lot of applique, they will help!
- Hair Cutting Scissors
Seriously. Don’t cut hair with your regular all-purpose junk drawer scissors. Just don’t. In fact, go to a stylist. And if you must cut hair at home (lots of us did in 2020) get some hair cutting scissors. They’re super sharp and designed specifically for cutting hair. Unlike craft projects, you can’t start over with a haircut!
What brand of scissors should I buy?
Ok, look, I know when you search online there are about a million different brands and types of cheap scissors. I recommend two things:
First, read reviews.
Second, while all of those cheap brands might be ok, scissors are tools just like any other tool. I personally have had better experience when I stick to larger well-known brands for tools, including scissors. They usually work better and last longer. That’s been my experience for things like drills and for things like scissors. For scissors that might mean Fiskers, Singer, Westcott etc. (I do not work with any of these brands and you are absolutely free to disagree with me on this! )
How Do You Sharpen Scissors?
They do sell at-home scissors sharpeners. I’ve also read about strategies like cutting aluminum foil or sandpaper with fabric scissors to make them sharper. But here is my two cents. Scissors are not super cheap and unlike many crappy modern tools these days, scissors CAN last a long time if you take care of them. If you invest in decent scissors, it’s 100 percent worth having them professionally sharpened as needed. Try your local hardware store or your local knife store for professional sharpening services.
If you liked this, you may also like some of my other posts…
- The 5 Different Types of Pens & Markers You NEED in Your Craft Room - September 27, 2023
- Peekaboo Black Cat Hat Knitting Pattern - September 26, 2023
- Use Leftover Vinyl Scraps for These Creative Craft Project Ideas - September 21, 2023