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Decorative rotary cutter blades for fun, quick and easy edge finishes

Decorative rotary cutter blades for fun, quick and easy edge finishes

by Michael Smith

Happy Tuesday! I hope you enjoyed taking a trip down memory lane with me yesterday as I described the early days of what was innovative and revolutionary at the time – we’re talking 40 years ago when Olfa revealed the now ubiquitous rotary cutter.

Original Olfa 45mm straight handle rotary cutter

Not just for quilting anymore!

This time-saving tool first revolutionized the quilting industry, but now the garment and crafting industries, scrapbookers; anyone who wants quicker, easier cuts with more accurate results will often grab the rotary cutter before reaching for that trusty, sometimes rusty, old pair of scissors. A bonus, unlike scissors, most rotary cutters can be used right or left-handed, so no need to buy separate tools.

Another bonus is that rotary cutting blades now come in a variety of decorative edge finishes. I use Olfa rotary cutters, so I was happy to see that blades are no longer just limited to cutting straight edges. There’s now an Olfa Pinking blade, Olfa Wave blade and Olfa Scallop blade. So much versatility and so much fun!!

Olfa 45mm Pinking Blade

Olfa 45mm Wave Blade

Olfa 45mm Scallop Blade

Instructions how to change the blade are included on the back of the blister package, and be sure to safely dispose of old blades in the plastic case so you never have to worry about accidents.

Instructions on how to change the blades are on the back of the blister package so there’s no guesswork.

Olfa 45mm Pinking Blade used on the right and Olfa 45mm Scallop Blade used on the left of a variety of fabrics – from left to right: craft felt, vinyl, quilting cotton, upholstery fabric, denim

Not only do the various Olfa rotary cutting blades provide a decorative finish; they’re cool to use on paper, vinyl and leather, but when used on woven fabrics they provide a functional edge finish which prevents the fabric from raveling. They’re also a fraction of the cost of the alternatives. For example, a pair of Pinking Shears are expensive and limited to a specific use. They’re also near to impossible and very expensive to sharpen, so I long ago abandoned using mine. Instead, the Olfa 45mm decorative rotary cutting blades are a fraction of the cost and far quicker and easier to use!

The Olfa 45mm Scallop Blade on the left has clearly seen better days and ready for replacement. On the right is the new Ofla 45mm Scallop Blade. A sharp blade means quicker, easier cuts with better results.

Sharp, quality tools make the difference!

Anyone who’s tried to carve a turkey or slice a loaf of fresh bread knows all too well the importance of keeping their knives, their tools, sharp. The same is true of woodworkers, chefs, construction workers, etc. Rotary cutters are the same. Yes, blades can seem expensive, but it’s just not worth struggling with a dull blade. You’ll ruin your project and experience way more frustration than necessary.

Replace your blades regularly, especially when using thicker materials such as leather, vinyl, multi-layer battings, or materials with adhesives, craft foam, etc. Batiks can also dull blades quicker with their dense, closely woven composition.

It’s a good idea keeping back-up blades on hand as you never know when you may need to change them – like when you find out your spouse used it to cut wire or to open a box and cut up the cardboard into more manageable pieces. For this reason, I bought a second Olfa 45mm Deluxe Ergonomic Handle rotary cutter and labelled it ‘PAPER’ so my partner knows he can use it to cut wrapping paper, or anything else he wants and I won’t freak out. Many of us have done something similar with our good fabric scissors; indicated somehow that they’re off limits, so we should do the same with our rotary cutters and blades.

Olfa 45mm Deluxe Ergonomic Handle rotary cutter labelled for Paper – for other members of the household to use without rebuff.

Be sure to join me for tomorrow’s post when I’ll show you more of how Olfa rotary cutters just aren’t for quilting anymore. I’ll share some tips of how I use them when cutting out garment patterns, too!

This is part 2 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 1: Celebrating 40 years – Olfa’s revolutionary time-saving rotary cutter

Go to part 3: There are more rotary cutter options than just the 45mm!

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1 comment

Beth B September 11, 2019 - 5:37 pm

Goid information on rotary cutters! I have a few of the decorative blades and should use them more than I do.


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