Tips & Tricks from the Experts

Courtesy of OLFA®

What could be more relaxing and exciting than picking up a new craft project? Not much. Except, maybe, discovering an ingenious idea, or “hack,” you can use to make a technique easier, storage simpler or cleanup faster. So, no time to waste. We’ve uncovered 10 clever craft hacks to make the most of your DIY time.
at your Fingertips

To keep your OLFA® Rotary Cutters, fabric shears, seam rippers and even screwdrivers within easy reach, use magnetic knife racks in your craft space. These are available at places like IKEA and online at Amazon. The racks come in a variety of widths and sizes and can be easily mounted to the side of a worktable, bookcase or the wall. Another idea is to string ribbon through the handles of a pair of OLFA® 5″ Precision Smooth Edge Scissors. You can tie or hang them near your work station, or even string the ribbon around your neck (like a lanyard), reducing the likelihood that you’ll misplace this frequently used tool.
Clip Tips

To avoid excessive wear, don’t cut repeatedly in the exact same spot. When your mat becomes nicked and worn in the area you use for cutting, flip it around and use the opposite side or end. Using a clean, unmarked surface will double the life of your mat AND your blades. You can also use the back of your mat. And remember, don't leave your mat sitting in the hot sun, in a hot car, or put it near a heating source. Your mat will become warped and will be useless and dangerous for cutting.
Never a Dull Blade

There really is no good way to sharpen the blade of a rotary cutter, other than to replace it with a new one. But that doesn’t mean you have to throw dull blades away. Keep them safely tucked away in a resealable plastic container and use them for cutting scrap paper, wallpaper, cardboard or other projects that don’t require the precision of a brand-new blade.

Keep it clean

How do you handle accidental ink marks or glue spots on your OLFA acrylic ruler? Reach for the isopropyl alcohol (also known as rubbing alcohol) and use a cotton ball to remove the marks. If your OLFA® Double-Sided Rotary Mat gets gunk on it, apply a bit of diluted dishwashing soap or nonabrasive cleaner.

Glitter Roundup

If you’ve ever sprinkled glitter on a scrapbooking page or used it to add shine to a birthday card, you know that stuff gets everywhere. To make your work area spotless after a glittery project is done, pull out an adhesive lint roller and swipe it over the surface a couple of times. Done!

Yarn Keeper

To stop skeins of yarn from tangling as you knit or crochet, place the yarn in a bowl with a binder clip attached to the top. Run the yarn through the folded back open metal clamps at the top of the clip—those clamps will guide the yarn and minimize knots. You can also put a ball of yarn in an empty teapot and thread the strand through the spout. Genius!
Styrofoam for Stamping

Want to make your own stamp on the cheap? Skip the run to an art or craft store—instead, cut a piece of white plastic foam from a container that holds leftovers from a restaurant. Use a pencil to draw your design, then trace over it again, using pressure in order to create indentations in the foam. Press onto an inkpad or use a small roller to apply paint or ink to your stamp. Place paper on top and press evenly to transfer your design.
Ribbon Wrangler

If you have a small rectangular bin with holes in the sides and a pair of thin dowels, your days of untangling spools of ribbon are over! Simply slide the end of a dowel through a hole on one narrow end of the bin, place spools of ribbon on the dowel, then place the other end of the dowel through the matching hole on the opposite side of the bin. Take each spool and thread the ribbon through the nearest hole on the long side. Repeat with the other dowel and ribbons.

Put a Fork in it

To make uniform yarn pom-poms, grab a fork from your utensil drawer and wrap yarn around the tines. Pull the yarn bundle off the fork and tightly tie a short piece of yarn around the middle. Snip the loops and fluff the ends.

Patchwork Trick

Half-square triangles—created by sewing the long, angled sides of two 90° triangles of fabric in contrasting colors or patterns together to make a square—are a standard in quilting. To make them quickly, place two squares of fabric (one of each color or pattern) right sides together and sew a 1/4″ seam around all sides, leaving no gaps in the stitching. Using a ruler and rotary cutter, cut diagonally from corner to corner. Repeat in the opposite direction to create four triangles. Open and press your newly minted half-square triangles—pieced in half the time!